Hell's Kitchen (U.S. season 2)

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Hell's Kitchen (U.S. season 2)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 11
Original channel Fox
Original release June 12, 2006 (2006-06-12) – August 14, 2006 (2006-08-14)
Season chronology
List of Hell's Kitchen episodes

This article contains contestant information and episode summaries from Season 2 of the American competitive reality television series Hell's Kitchen.

Cast during November 2005, the second season aired starting on June 12, 2006 and concluded on August 14, 2006. The winner was Heather West. Her prize was the position of executive chef at the Red Rock Resort Spa and Casino in Las Vegas with a salary of $250,000, where she worked as chef at the Terra Rossa Restaurant.

Taping for the second season was done in the same building where the first season was taped.

This was the last season of the show to be aired in standard definition.

Sous chefs and Maître d'hôtel[edit]


The second season featured the following 12 contestants, who were initially separated onto Blue and Red teams by gender:

Contestant Age Occupation Hometown
Giacomo Alfieri 21[note 1] Pizza maker Euless, Texas
Rachel Brown † 39 Personal chef Dallas, Texas
Gabriel "Gabe" Cunningham 27 Marketing executive Chicago, Illinois
Virginia Dalbeck 25 Garde manger New York, New York
Keith Greene † 28 Chef & bartender Southampton, New York
Polly Holladay 45 Caterer Ben Franklin, Texas
Sara Horowitz 31 Deli Manager Dallas, Texas
Maribel Miller 31 Cafeteria chef Brooklyn, New York
Thomas "Tom" Pauley 43 Former stockbroker Belleville, New Jersey
Larry Sik 38 Fishmonger Arlington, Texas
Garrett Telle 27 Executive chef Cedar Park, Texas
Heather West 25 Sous chef Port Jefferson, New York

†Indicates that contestant died after filming ended

Contestant progress[edit]

Each week, the best member from the losing team during the latest service period ("best" as determined by Ramsay) is asked to nominate two of their teammates for elimination; one of these two is sent home by Gordon Ramsay.

Original teams Switched teams Individual Finals
No. Chef 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210/11
9 Giacomo WIN NOM OUT
10 Gabe WIN OUT[n 1]
11 Larry WIN LEFT[n 2]
12 Polly OUT
  1. ^ a b c d Chef was nominated by Ramsay
  2. ^ Chef was hospitalized and withdrew for health reasons


No. in
No. in
Title Original air date
12 1 "12 Chefs Compete" June 12, 2006

Signature dishes: Chef Ramsay asked each contestant to make their signature dish. Giacomo received praise for his frutti di mare, while Heather's chocolate raspberry empanadas and Rachel's butterfly shrimp received positive feedback for taste, but were too thick and had too much sauce, respectively. The remaining dishes received negative feedback; Keith's tuna was too hot, Ramsay refused to eat Polly's focaccia bread, Larry's crab cakes were undercooked, Ramsay spit out Maribel's soup and Tom's shrimp scampi as they were too hot, Garrett's meat was overcooked, Gabe's fish was raw, Sara's pasta was overcooked, and Virgina's salad was crunchy, and she was scolded by Ramsay for not doing more.

Service: In the red kitchen, Polly was thrown out after struggling on appetizers despite help from her teammates, and although Heather put in a strong performance after replacing her, Sara was scolded for cheering. Virginia struggled on meat, and the team had mistakenly prepared veal stock rather than lamb stock, which led to Virginia fruitlessly asking the blue team for help. In the blue kitchen, Tom caused a fire on the appetizer station and then forgot to turn his stove back on, Larry did little, and Gabe undercooked wellingtons. After three hours, Ramsay shut down the kitchens. Ramsay named the men reluctant winners for at least serving a few entrees; Heather was deemed the best of the worst.

Elimination: Heather, despite promising Virginia she would not nominate her, nominated her alongside Polly. Ramsay eliminated Polly for her lack of passion.

Ramsay's comment: "This is a journey, and right now we're going to hell and back, each and every week, to make sure we find the right person. And Polly? No chance."
13 2 "11 Chefs Compete" June 12, 2006

Group punishment: The teams were forced to dig into the trash bin containing all the food that was wasted during the previous dinner service.

Team challenge: The teams were challenged to cut the most steaks to exactly ten ounces; as the blue team had an extra member, Keith was forced to sit out. For the red team, Sara and Rachel both scored three, while Heather, Virginia and Maribel all scored two. For the blue team, Gabe scored three, Garrett scored one, Giacomo scored two, but Larry scored zero. Lastly, Tom scored five and was praised, but the red team won 12-11.

Reward/punishment: The women were rewarded with a helicopter lunch at The Saddle Peak Lodge with Ramsay, while the men were forced to prep steaks for the following night's service.

Larry's exit: The night after the challenge, Larry had trouble breathing and was rushed to hospital. The following morning, he called the remaining chefs from hospital and told them that he would not be returning due to his health problems. Ramsay gave no comment on Larry's departure, but his photo was shown to be burned.

Service: Keith and Sara were chosen as servers for service, but both struggled. During service, Heather burned her hand and had to leave service, but delegated her station to her team before leaving, later earning Ramsay's praise; Sara replaced her. Virginia put incorrect sauce on monkfish, and shocked Ramsay when she said she would serve a tortellini that was split. The blue team failed to serve an appetizer as Gabe allowed his teammates to work his station. Tom and Giacomo struggled to work together on meat and garnish respectively as Giacomo did not know what sides went with what dish, and he served fried cabbage. After several customers walked out, Ramsay closed the kitchens. Ramsay declared the red team the winners for their improvement; Garrett was named best of the worst.

Elimination: Garrett nominated Giacomo and Tom; after Tom pleaded his case, Ramsay sent him back in line and nominated Gabe. Ramsay eliminated Gabe, despite his politeness, for his poor performance on appetizers and his lack of desire.

Ramsay's comment: "It's absolutely crucial in Hell's Kitchen to have finesse and passion. It was pretty obvious that Gabe had no passion."
14 3 "9 Chefs Compete" June 19, 2006

Team challenge: Both teams were challenged to cook three entrees (chicken, tortellini, and salmon) in twenty minutes, with one person in the kitchen at a time. During the switch, each team member would only have fifteen seconds to give information to their replacements. Heather sat out because she feared her hand injury would slow her team down. Maribel did not hear the tortellini entree from Rachel, which caused the women to only create two entrees and the men to win the tortellini entree by default, but the women won by scoring on the chicken and salmon entrees.

Reward/punishment: The women were rewarded with a yacht trip with Ramsay, while the blue team were forced to do both team's laundry by hand.

Service: Sara and Keith both put in strong performances on appetizers, though Keith was scolded for handling risotto rice with his hands. Tom was scolded for giving up after burning his hand, and argued with Keith, while Giacomo forgot to turn the oven on before losing track of his orders; Ramsay switched Giacomo to the fish station. Giacomo and Tom used up virtually all of the blue kitchen's food during their unsuccessful attempts to serve the entrees, making it impossible for service to get back on track. In the red kitchen, Heather tried to control other stations, but was scolded by Ramsay, while Maribel struggled on meat. Ramsay was angry at Maribel and disappointed in Heather, but praised Sara as the red's best for that night. Once again neither team managed completed service, but the red team served the vast majority of their tables while the men only managed to serve three tables of entrees, resulting in a victory for the women.

Elimination: While Keith was acknowledged as the best performer on the blue team, Ramsay decided that he did not deserve to select two people to face elimination due to his failure to step up as a leader. Instead, the men each individually nominated one other teammate for elimination. Despite three votes being cast against Tom, Ramsay eliminated Giacomo because of his poor performance and his failure with the oven.

Ramsay's comment: "Before you can even attempt to run a restaurant, the first thing you've gotta do is make sure you know how to cook. Giacomo? He was lost beyond belief."
15 4 "8 Chefs Compete" June 26, 2006

Team change: Before the challenge, Ramsay transferred Heather to the blue team.

Field trip: The teams were taken to Pink's Hot Dogs, where Ramsay surprised them with the news that they would be opening for lunch for the first time, forcing them to run back to Hell's Kitchen.

Team challenge: The teams had to cook lunch for a group of children. Heather clamped down on the bickering between Garrett and Tom and helped the blue team to finally come together. Meanwhile, the red team was marred by a power struggle between Rachel and Sara. Both teams managed to complete a service for the first time, finally impressing Ramsay. The red team earned a score of 9.84 out of 10 points, but the blue team won with a score of 9.85.

Reward/punishment: The blue team won a trip to an amusement park, while the red team was forced to clean up the dining room, full of food on the floor, balloons, and silly string.

Service: In the red kitchen, Rachel struggled on risotto, and although Sara told Virginia she was "ready and waiting for her call" on the turbot, Ramsay berated Virginia, accusing her of lying. Maribel served poor mashed potatoes, Rachel and Virginia left bones and wing on a quail, and Rachel left to buy ice after running out. Meanwhile, Tom was scolded for working the wrong order and cooking in a burnt pan. Virginia served rare wellington istead of medium, and when Ramsay realized the women were glazing all night with egg whites instead of egg wash, and ran out of wellingtons, he closed both kitchens. Once again, service was not completed and Ramsay declared both teams losers, ordering one nominee from each team for elimination; this was the first time in the history of the show that Ramsay declared both teams losers. Keith and Sara were chosen by Ramsay as the best of their respective teams at the elimination.

Elimination: The blue team nominated Tom, while the red team nominated Virginia; Ramsay eliminated Tom for his string of bad services.

Ramsay's comment: "Tom has a big heart, but sadly, he's a really crap cook. Why on earth he ever decided to attempt to become a chef, I'll never know."
16 5 "Day Five" July 10, 2006

Team challenge: The teams were told to taste various high cuisine dishes such as caviar, paté, kebab and fondue, not realizing they were made of low quality processed foods. Afterwards, they were challenged to a blind taste test; Rachel was forced to sit out to even the teams. Keith and Maribel both score two, Virginia identfies three compared to Heather's two, and Sara and Garrett both score two, giving the red team a 7-6 win.

Reward/punishment: The red team were rewarded with a photo shoot with Ramsay for TV Guide, while the blue team were forced to clean the kitchen and serve champagne to the red team.

Service: In the blue kitchen, Heather cooked a pasta starter that was not on order, and attempted to take over the meat station from Garrett, but caused disarray, eventually forcing Keith to step in and take control; the blue team completed service. Meanwhile, when hair was found in one of the red team's entrees, Maribel argued with Ramsay, and Rachel struggled on the meat station. After she overcooked wellingtons for their few remaining tickets, Ramsay shut down the kitchens; Ramsay named Virginia the best of the worst.

Elimination: Virginia nominated Rachel and Maribel; Ramsay eliminated Rachel for her many mistakes, but praised her for her effort. During Rachel's exit,a retrospect montage was played.

Ramsay's comment: "Rachel clearly couldn't handle it. She buckled, panicked, and actually screwed the kitchen completely. You've got no chance of running a successful business if you can't handle one section."
17 6 "6 Chefs Compete" July 17, 2006

Team challenge: Both teams, after going to the Grand Central Market to buy ingredients, had to create a three-course meal. On appetizers, Ramsay was bothered by a sharp shrimp tail in Garrett's roasted corn scallop and shrimp bisque, and felt Sara's bell pepper soup was too burnt. For the entree, Ramsay was pleased with both Virginia's chicken roulade stuffed with Mexican heart salamis, sliced tomatoes and garlic, and Keith's bone in pan roasted ribeye with a tomatio and smoked chill demi. For desserts, Maribel's strawberry shortcake Ramsay found tasty albeit uninspired, while Heather's fresh fruit crepes with a mango peach puree were soggy; Ramsay awarded the red team the win.

Reward/punishment: The red team spent a night in town with Ramsay, while the blue team were forced to help with the restaurant's delivery service.

Service: Ramsay allowed both teams to create their own menu. Virginia and Sara (shutting out Maribel) came up with exotic ideas for the red team including sashimi and a rack of lamb. For the blue team, Keith and Heather came up with the ideas for their menu; Garrett offered a few suggestions, but Keith and Heather kept shooting down his ideas as they were too complex. The blue team were forced to stop in the middle of the service to unload more deliveries, but in the end, they still managed to complete service. In the red kitchen, Sara and Virginia had problems with their overly ambitious menu, while Maribel did not help them. Sara did not manage a single acceptable serving of her rack of lamb, which led Ramsay to order it off the menu. The red team barely managed to send out a few appetizers, but when Ramsay suggested their salmon dish just be cut into a slice, Sara rebutted him, causing Ramsay to scold her. The blue team were ordered to help the red team finish their service, while Ramsay left the kitchen in disgust. Ramsay named the blue team clear winners.

Elimination: Ramsay asked the red team to come up with nominees, but at the elimination ceremony, nominated the entire team for elimination. Ramsay eliminated Maribel for her lack of leadership.

Ramsay's comment: "I'm trying to find someone that deserves a restaurant, now to run that restaurant properly, you need a leader, and Maribel clearly can't lead a section, let alone a kitchen."
18 7 "5 Chefs Compete" July 24, 2006

Individual challenge: Ramsay merged the final five into one team and awarded them all black jackets. Each contestant was given twenty minutes to cook a special dish for Ramsay. Sara's dish was deemed the worst due to poor presentation, while Garrett and Heather made good tasting dishes, but were ruled out of the running due to over-seasoned prawns and unwashed spinach respectively. Ramsay selected Keith as the winner, with Virginia a close runner-up.

Reward/punishment: Keith received a trip to Las Vegas to visit the Red Rock Resort Spa and Casino, and was allowed to bring a guest; he chose Virginia. Keith's veal chop was also placed on the menu for the following night's service. The others were forced to fumigate the kitchen.

Service: For the first time, the contestants serve the entire restaurant. Sara and Heather got off to a slow start on appetizers, but eventually rebounded. Garrett served several unacceptable dishes and Virginia struggled on garnish. A bachelorette party arrived and occupied a twelve top table, but Garrett served raw chicken. Virginia continued to struggle on garnish, but service was completed. Keith was named the best cook (thus being the only chef to receive Best of the Best/Worst four times) and told to nominate two for elimination.

Elimination: Keith nominated Virginia and Garrett; Ramsay eliminated Garrett, as he considered his attempt to serve raw chicken unforgivable.

Ramsay's Comment: "I'm trying to find someone here that deserves a restaurant. Each and every step of the way, Garrett fought me, and his team. That's why he's not here any longer."
19 8 "4 Chefs Compete" July 31, 2006

Individual challenge: The task was to serve a group of construction workers. Each construction worker sampled all four dishes and instructed to vote for the best and the worst entree. Virginia's turkey and feta sandwich was voted the best and Heather's chicken sandwich with french fries was voted the worst.

Reward/punishment: Virginia was rewarded with immunity from elimination in the next service and a shopping spree at Sur La Table, while the others had to remove meat from crabs.

Service Three master chefs dined at Hell's Kitchen for service; Michael Mina, David Myers and Josie Le Balch. Keith does well on appetizers, but Virginia on garnish struggles to keep up with Heather on meat. The three master chefs then arrive, and the team choose a meal to serve to them. Keith serves three spaghetti lobsters for appetizers, but his spaghetti was undercooked. Sara also struggles to keep up with Heather and runs out of salmon, substituting with turbot. Sara's scallops receive mixed reviews from the master chefs, and although Heather's wellingtons received praise, Virginia's peas were burnt, which angers Ramsay. Virginia then still struggles to keep up, causing Ramsay to strip her of her immunization, but the chefs complete service. Ramsay praised Heather and asked her to nominate two chefs for elimination.

Elimination: Heather nominated Virginia and Sara, much to Sara's disapproval, though she was reassured several times by Heather that Virginia was withdrawing. However, Ramsay decided to gave Virginia back her immunization, and she decided to stay, thus eliminating Sara. Despite the situation around Virginia's immunity, Ramsay felt that Sara deserved to go home anyway for her lack of teamwork and disintegrating performances.

Ramsay's comment: "Sara's not good enough as a cook. She makes so many simple mistakes, she definitely didn't merit running her own restaurant. Hello, sweetheart. Kiss my grits."
20 9 "3 Chefs Compete" August 7, 2006

Challenge: The contestants were given twenty minutes to re-create Ramsay's signature dish, tasting the original dish to determine what ingredients to use. Ramsay then tasted the dishes to determine who came the closest to the original dish; Virginia won the challenge.

Reward/punishment: Ramsay gave Virginia tips on how to run a restaurant, while Keith and Heather polished the restaurant's collection of glasses and silverware.

Service: Each of the contestants spent part of dinner service running the hot pass usually filled by Ramsay. Sous-chefs Scott and Mary-Ann, assisting with the cooking, were secretly instructed by Ramsay to make a deliberate mistake. Keith correctly realized an order of pasta was overcooked, but struggled in leadership. Heather led the team well, but failed to send lumpy potatoes back to be recooked. Virginia impressed Ramsay with her leadership, and correctly recognized that a dish was prepared with bass instead of salmon.

Elimination: Ramsay asked each of the three to nominate one person for elimination. Virginia was nominated by both Keith and Heather, while Virginia nominated Keith; Ramsay eliminated Keith for his poor leadership. Keith argued with Ramsay before he left, causing Ramsay to affirm he made the right decision; This was the first season to feature two women as finalists. Keith did not receive a coat hanging or burning picture sequence.

Ramsay's comment: "You got two choices. You run the team or the team runs you. Sadly, the team ran Keith. If Keith could only lose the attitude, underneath all that, there's one talented, talented cook."
21/22 10/11 "2 Chefs Compete/Finale" August 14, 2006

Surprise reward: Heather's parents, and Virginia's mother and husband, come in for a surprise visit.

Challenge: The two final contestants were each given control of half of Hell's Kitchen each and instructed to remodel it in their own theme for the last service, as well as create their own menus. They then travelled to Las Vegas to cook their signature dishes in a taste contest with twenty random participants as testers. After a tie at 10-10, a tie-breaker was issued, which Virginia won.

Reward/punishment: Ramsay brought in the six chefs eliminated prior to the final to be part of each chef's kitchen staff. Because Virginia won the challenge, she was granted first pick.[note 2] Virginia picked Keith, Tom, and Giacomo, while Heather picked Rachel and Sara, and was left with Garrett. Virginia admitted she chose Tom and Giacomo because she felt they were the weakest chefs and she wanted to give them another chance.

Remodeling: Heather and Virginia remodeled the dining room per their wishes. Heather made the walls look like a blank canvas with a video wall and graffiti. Ramsay liked most of her ideas, but suggested she remove the graffiti. Virginia created a waterfall behind the walls with an atmosphere akin to a desert sunset, which Ramsay liked.

Service: Heather had a great service rate, but struggled with quality control, while Virginia was proficient in quality control at the expense of her service rate. Keith and Tom showed Virginia little respect, and Tom cut himself, leaving the kitchen late into service for over ten minutes visiting a medic. For Heather's team, Sara made several mistakes, and the team was annoyed by Heather's abrasive leadership. Ramsay praised both teamsfor their services, but unbeknownst to them, the President of the Red Rock Resort was among the clients sampling each dishes from each menu. Ramsay based his decision on the comments from the President of the Red Rock resort, customer opinion cards, and his own observations.

Winner: Ramsay judged Heather to be the winner as she displayed remarkable control of her kitchen staff, but gave Virginia praise and encouragement.

Ramsay's comment: "Heather won Hell's Kitchen because of her determination. She stuck to what she knew best, and she controlled her kitchen from start to finish. Heather clearly has great leadership qualities. This, for a 25-year old cook, is a phenomenon. This woman is going to be a big success!"


  1. ^ At age 21, Giacomo is to date the youngest contestant in Hell's Kitchen.
  2. ^ Maribel did not return, so Giacomo took her place as the last contestant eliminated prior to the final eight.


In September 2006, Heather was named senior chef (not executive chef, as was promised) of Terra Rossa at the Red Rock Resort Spa and Casino. As of September 18, 2007, West's name is no longer listed on the Terra Rossa website. A spokesperson for the resort stated that the prize was a one-year contract.[1]

Heather made an appearance in the eighth episode of the third season, where she greeted challenge winner Julia and tag-along Jen at Terra Rossa. She appeared in the third season finale where she, along with other cooks, judged the finalists' dishes. She made an appearance along with all other winners during the fifth season finale to commemorate the start of the Hell's Kitchen Wall of Fame. Heather was the sous chef for the red team on season 6 of Hell's Kitchen, replacing Gloria Felix, who was sous chef for seasons 4 and 5.

Virginia later returned in Season 10, along with other Hell's Kitchen runner-ups, to face against that season's final six chefs.

Two of the contestants have died: Rachel committed suicide in 2007,[2][3] and Keith drowned in August 2012.[4][5]


External links[edit]