Hell's Kitchen (U.S. season 9)

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Hell's Kitchen (U.S. season 9)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 16
Original channel Fox
Original release July 18, 2011 (2011-07-18) – September 19, 2011 (2011-09-19)
Season chronology
List of Hell's Kitchen episodes

Season 9 of the American competitive reality television series Hell's Kitchen premiered on July 18, 2011, on Fox[1] and concluded on September 19, 2011, with a two-hour season finale. Jr. sous-chef Paul Niedermann won the season and was awarded a "head chef" position at BLT Steak in New York City, New York.[1]

Gordon Ramsay returned as head chef, as Scott Leibfried and Andi van Willigan remained as sous chefs, as did James Lukanik as the maître d'.

The entire season took about six weeks to film.[2] It also saw the show return to its original one season per year schedule, having run two seasons each in 2009 and 2010 due to the after-effects of the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike.

Opening sequence/credits[edit]

The opening sequence, like the previous two seasons, did not not take place in the kitchen. The opening featured Chef Ramsay playing a pinball machine, with the contestants trying to dodge the pinball and the machine's bumpers.


18 chefs competed in season 9.[1]

Contestant Age Occupation Hometown
Elizabeth Bianchi[3][4] 27 Line Cook New York, New York
Natalie Blake[2] 23 Sous Chef Harrodsburg, Kentucky
Chino Chang 39 Executive Chef Hatboro, Pennsylvania
Amanda Colello[5] 26 Personal Chef Sun City, California
Jamie Gregorich[6] 24 Sous Chef Bradenton, Florida
Brendan Heavey 31 Head Chef Hoboken, New Jersey
Carrie Keep[7][8] 31 Pantry Chef Dallas, Texas
Monterray Keys[9] 34 Line Cook Darby, Pennsylvania
William "Will" Lustberg 31 Sous Chef Jersey City, New Jersey
Gina Melcher[10] 34 Restaurant Consultant Cape May, New Jersey
Paul Niedermann 27 Jr. Sous Chef Davie, Florida
Jennifer Normant[11][12][13] 34 Chef de Cuisine Boston, Massachusetts
Steven Paluba 44 Sauté Chef Ridge, New York
Krupa Patel 30 Private Chef Queens, New York
Jonathon Plumley 34 Head Cook Memphis, Tennessee
Thomas "Tommy" Stevens 31 Line Cook Brewster, New York
Elise Wims 26 Line Cook Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Jason Zepaltas[14] 29 Line Cook Chicago, Illinois

Contestant progress[edit]

Original teams Switched teams Individual Finals
No. Chef 901 902 903 904 905 906 907 908 909 910 911 912 913 914 915 916
14 Chino NOM[n 1] NOM WIN OUT
15 Amanda WIN WIN OUT[n 1]
16 Brendan LOSE OUT
17 Steven OUT
18 Jason LEFT[n 2]
  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Chef was nominated by Ramsay
  2. ^ Chef was hospitalized and withdrew for health reasons


No. in
No. in
Title Original air date U.S. viewers (million)
109 1 "18 Chefs Compete" July 18, 2011 5.84[16]

Eighteen new chefs are shown receiving their invites to appear at Orpheum Theatre. They walk on stage behind a curtain with covered platters bearing their names and the sound of crowds cheering. However, when the curtain opened, the theater was empty. Ramsay reminded them that they were not stars yet, then sent them to Hell's Kitchen to cook their signature dishes.

  • Team challenge: The contestants were divided into women (red) and the men (blue), and had 45 minutes to prepare their signature dish. Ramsay then judged the dishes, the team with the most dishes received would win the challenge. This signature dish proved to be the best with Amanda, Natalie, Jennifer, Elise and Elizabeth from The Red Team and Will, Brendan, Monterray, Jason, Paul and Tommy from the Blue Team all earning points. Gina's scallops also received positive feedback but were burned on the top but there were still dishes that opened to terrible reviews. Jamie's lamb lollipops were overcooked and Steven's diver scallops "looked like toenails" (both of which were in the same round respectively and Ramsay was generally unimpressed with Steven displaying a level of delusion with his scallops), Chino's spices in his fish were far too strong, Carrie's mashed potatoes were highly panned for her choice of putting sugar in it making them disgustingly sweet, Jonathan received a subsequent level of a disqualification threat from the competition for having canned pineapples and for looking like a mess. Krupa's stuffed naan bread proved to be by far the worst of them all. In addition to poor presentation and the spices were both raw and bland with Ramsay saying "Krupa my dear lady, this is krappa." In the end the men won 6-5 marking the fourth consecutive season where the men won the signature dish challenge and the sixth consecutive season where the men won the first challenge. There were off camera allegations of active sabotage among contestants.[6][15]

The men enjoyed lunch at the L.A. Market restaurant at the JW Marriott Hotel at L.A. Live, where they dined with last season's winner, Nona Sivley. The women stay behind to clean both kitchens for the season opening service. Shortly before dinner service, Jason was rushed to the hospital after he became short of breath. Later, just before the service, Ramsay stated that Jason would not be returning, making him the first chef of the season to leave Hell's Kitchen. [note 1] It was also the second straight season in which a chef withdrew from the competition before the start of the first dinner service for health reasons. (No elimination sequence was given for Jason, but his jacket and burned photo can be seen when Chef Ramsay hangs Gina's jacket.)

  • Dinner service: The restaurant had some minor changes since the previous season – a balcony area over the kitchen was built as a dining area (the first time that the dining room had two floors since the second season). The men got off to a reasonable enough start, Steven repeatedly bringing up the appetizers in the wrong order, Chino was benched for burning the fish, then Steven for burning the scallops, Ramsay rejects them; then Tommy for more scallop mishaps, and they both sent to chef's table. Over on the red team, Elise had trouble making risotto, Ramsay prompted Krupa to take over, and she did well on both her stations. Carrie had also trouble with scallops and fought with Elise, who was sent to the chef's table for attempting to take over Carrie's station. They later served several tables of entrées, mostly thanks to Krupa's strong work on the meat station, but Carrie stalled them with repeated mistakes on the fish station. For the men, both Monterray and Brendan struggled on the garnish stations, much to Ramsay's dismay because the Beef Wellingtons were perfect (thanks to Jonathon). With food severely late, customers began leaving, and Ramsay ordered the kitchens shut down. With no entrees served, Ramsay declares the men losers. In a post-mortem, Brendan and Paul got into an argument on a deliberation.

Ramsay asked Jonathan for the two nominees, which were Steven and Monterray. However, Ramsay nominates Chino for his poor service. And with the three nominees called forward, Ramsay chose Chino and Monterray to step forward and he eliminated Steven for his poor performance.

Ramsay's comment: "I realized early on that Steven had as much of a chance of being the head chef of BLT Steak as I do of winning a gold medal in figure skating."

110 2 "16 Chefs Compete" July 19, 2011 5.77[17]

The chefs were awakened at 5:35 a.m. to the sound of a kid playing an electric guitar, and were brought outside Hell's Kitchen for the challenge.

  • Team challenge: The contestants are divided in pairs and they would have to grill four pieces of meat to meet with Ramsay's standards: a medium rare New York strip, a medium ribeye, a medium well filet mignon, and a well-done burger. Jennifer, Gina and Elizabeth formed a trio, while Will grilled alone. While most of the teams worked well together, Carrie and Elise struggled due to their bickering, and as a result, they managed to grill only the filet mignon perfectly, while the other pieces weren't even close to the standards. The women scored a total of 10 points, with Amanda and Krupa scoring a perfect total. The men struggled to properly grill a well done burger, but a perfect score from Will earned them their second consecutive victory with 11 points.

The men were rewarded with a trip to Palm Springs, California via a private jet, where they took a tram up into the mountains and enjoyed a fine dining lunch with Ramsay. The women had to clean and scrape all of the grills, and later had to pick up a side of beef, bring it into the kitchen and cut the meat on it. [note 2]

  • Dinner service: Carrie and Will are chosen to serve Caesar salads for appetizers, and Krupa and Monterray would carve and serve prime ribs for entrees. The women started slowly, when Jennifer messed up the first order and Carrie was slow serving the Caesar salads, causing Ramsay to send Krupa out of the kitchen to help her. For the men, Chino sent up burned risotto twice, but managed to cook it properly on the third attempt. Brendan made a huge mistake on the fish station, by firing a sea bass before entrees were called and then later served the same bass, lying that it was another bass. Both teams struggled with communication, with Elise yelling out orders in the Red kitchen, and the men argued back and forth. Krupa accidentally dropped an entire piece of prime rib on the floor, and had to wait for Monterray to deliver her a new piece. For the second service in a row, the men failed to send out their first entrées due to inconsistencies. With Tommy sending an over-cooked duck and Brendan sending a raw sea bass, Ramsay threw the men out of the kitchen. The women were split up and completed the service in both kitchens.

After being thrown out of the kitchen, the men began to yell and argue on the patio, with Paul and Will speaking up the most. Rather that ordering the men back in the kitchens in a usual post-service mortem, Ramsay regrouped the two teams and asked Will, then Paul and then Jonathan who should be nominated and all three of them said Brendan and Chino. When Ramsay asked Jonathan who he would like to send home, Jonathan said Chino causing an argument to break out between the pair. Ramsay eliminates Brendan because of his lies with his sea bass situation.

Afterwards, Ramsay announced to the women that they would have to pick one member to go over to the men's team, much to the disapproval of both teams. Will even attempted to decline Ramsay's request for a woman to transfer to their team (agreed upon by all the men), but was rebuked.

Ramsay's comment: "The only thing bigger than Brendan's ego are the lies he tells, and I can't have that in Hell's Kitchen."

111 3 "15 Chefs Compete" July 25, 2011 5.95[18]

To even the teams out after the departure of three men, Ramsay asks the women for a volunteer to move to the men's team. Before the team challenge, Carrie initially volunteered in order to separate herself from Elise, but Ramsay chose Natalie.

  • Team challenge: The chefs were awakened by a number of clowns and were brought to the dining area of Hell's Kitchen. They were met by Sous Chef Scott who told them to go outside and bring in flatbread for the day's service. Ramsay then welcomes 50 children and their mothers for a special "Mommy and Me" service. Each team serves quesadilla and macaroni for the children, then panini for their mothers. In the red kitchen, Jamie burnt a quesadilla and Ramsay scolded her for doing so, especially since it was to have been fed to a child\. The teams cooperated most of the time (though Elise and Carrie argued a number of times during and after the challenge) and were able to get most of the orders. In the end, both teams were on their last ticket but the blue team managed to pull ahead and win their third straight challenge.

The blue team earned a trip to Medieval Times in Buena Park, California where they enjoyed a meal with a medieval jousting tournament; after the show, the knights taught the team members how to sword fight. The red team's punishment was to completely clean the dining area and set tables for the next night's dinner service. In addition, the red team also had to set up a children's playground, as the next service is a "family night" service.

  • Dinner service: Ramsay assigns Chino and Gina to be James's assistant maitre d's. Each table would serve Margherita pizzas. Elise and Jonathon were assigned the pizza stations in each team. Early in the service, Chino took too much time to get the first ticket to his team's kitchen, while Gina managed to get her first ticket in reasonable time. Appetizers from both kitchens managed to pass Ramsay's approval. The red team had more mistakes with the entrees, first, Jennifer and Carrie cooked the entrees in a completely different ticket; then, Amanda forgot to cook a fish that was part of another ticket. Carrie sent up lamb that was raw and badly carved, causing Ramsay to stop the whole kitchen and after asking the Red team to apologize to the diners for the delays Ramsay kicked the entire team out. In the blue kitchen, the entire team was focused on completing the service and entrees began leaving the kitchen at a steady pace. Natalie had a shaky start on the meat station, with her first two attempts in the beef wellington raw, but soon delivered strong results. Impressed, Ramsay tells the blue team to take over both kitchens after red team's dismissal from the kitchen, and successfully completing service on both sides, with Will and Natalie as the best performers. In the dorms, the red team had a complete meltdown and began to fight against one another.

Due to the severity of the problems on the red side for this service, Ramsay became the sole nominator for that losing team and chose Carrie, Amanda and Jennifer, and ina shocking surprise, Ramsay eliminates Amanda, feeling that despite Carrie's numerous errors, Ramsay was impressed at how she fought to stay, whereas Amanda had given up during dinner service, and told both teams when ever they made a mistake they must bounce back. [note 3]

Ramsay's comment: "Amanda lost the will to cook on the line tonight. I lost the will to keep her here."

112 4 "14 Chefs Compete" July 26, 2011 6.04[19]
  • Team challenge: Each team has 5 minutes to capture a flock of live chickens in a pen; each chicken captured earns an ingredient that can be used for the next stage of the challenge; each team has 30 minutes to use a single chicken and to cook four chicken dishes, each cooked a different way, using only ingredients earned in the chicken roundup. Ramsay joins the editors of People and Entertainment Weekly magazines. Carrie and Gina failed to impress the judges after both their chickens were undercooked. Despite this, the red team won the challenge, 3 dishes to 2 for their first challenge victory of the season.

The red team spent the day go-kart racing at K1 Racing, while the blue team spent the day preparing chickens for the next service. Shortly before the service, Elise got into an argument with Sous Chef Andi, who felt that Elise was being disrespectful to her.

  • Dinner service: Each kitchen for tonight's service will include two former Olympic athletes. The red team had the volleyball tandem of Misty May-Treanor and Jen Kessy and the blue team had swimmers Janet Evans and Mark Spitz. While each side did well with the appetizers, both sides seriously faltered with the entrees. In the blue kitchen, Chino kept serving raw beef wellingtons and lamb, while Monterray got into a shouting match with Sous Chef Scott over the handling of sea bass. The red kitchen did not fare any better, with Elise undercooking bass and Gina stopping service after rushing in raw lamb. With too much food failed to send the pass, Ramsay had enough and eventually kicked both teams out and closed the service, with Sous Chefs Scott and Andi cook food for the Olympians themselves. With the service deemed "pathetic", Ramsay declared everyone losers.

Ramsay asks both teams to nominate two for elimination. The blue team quickly chose Chino and Monterray. Chino tried to push the blame on Natalie and insulted her causing Natalie to break down crying, angering the other male blue members causing them to defend her and belittle Chino. While the red team all agreed that Carrie on her first nominee and they chose for the second nominee. However, Elise claimed that she had performed flawlessly in every single service and challenge, and agrees as the second nominee after more arguing with Carrie. In the nomination ceremony, Elise asks Ramsay to poll the red team, saying they would all agree that Carrie should be nominated. When Ramsay polled the team, including former teammate Natalie, all but Elizabeth said that Elise should be sent home. Following Elise's plea, Ramsay called her forward and only to tell her to get back in line, and Ramsay eliminates Chino for consistently being a poor performer in all four services.

Ramsay's comment: "Chino took his time in Hell's Kitchen very seriously. The problem is he seriously couldn't cook."

113 5 "13 Chefs Compete" August 1, 2011 5.60[20]
  • Team challenge: Chefs from Moto restaurant in Chicago demonstrate how to make an orange sorbet using oranges, a sound wave generator liquid nitrogen. However, the challenge awaiting the contestants is that they have 45 minutes to make six dishes using only fire and water, with Ramsay and the Moto chefs judging. The challenge ended with a 2–2 tie, but Chef Ramsay declared the blue team the winner, due to the red team favoring Elizabeth's dish over Carrie's for the presentation, and Krupa mistaking filet mignon for veal.

The blue team spent the day pampered at the spa at the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills. The red team must clean the hot tub in the dorms and the fountain in front of the restaurant; also, they must prep both kitchens for service that night.

  • Dinner service: Jennifer and Natalie are assigned to serve tableside halibut sashimi. On the red team, Krupa made mistakes with the risotto and she ruined her lobster spaghetti; while Gina undercooks the sea bass, and Elise has difficulty communicating with Gina. Because of their mistakes, Ramsay ejects Krupa; then Gina and Elise. In the dining room, Jennifer keeps sweating into her food, causing Ramsay to talk to her in the kitchen about it. On the blue team, Monterray and Tommy make numerous mistakes on the beef wellingtons, resulting in their ejections. Jonathon was also berated for not knowing which mushroom he needed for the seabass which prompted Paul to come over and help him out. Both teams would finish their services short-handed, but because of the numerous mishaps, Ramsay declared both teams losers.

Each team choose two chefs for elimination. The red team chose Krupa and Elise; the blue team chose Tommy and Monterray. As Elise gave her plea, upon being asked she says that Gina should have been the one nominated, a statement Krupa agrees with in hers. Ramsay calls Elise forward, only to agree with Elise about Gina and he eliminates Gina for her disintegrating performances.

Ramsay's comment: "They say good things come in small packages. But unfortunately in Gina's case, her talent matched her size: tiny."

114 6 "12 Chefs Compete" August 2, 2011 6.32[21]
  • Team challenge: The Culver City High School class of 1991 is celebrating its 20 year reunion, and will be having it at Hell's Kitchen. Both teams prepare three different meals for a Hawaiian-themed high school reunion, Elizabeth and Paul are tasked with meeting with the reunion committee and then relaying the information they give to their teammates. Paul took notes very carefully, while Elizabeth spaced out and told her team the wrong information, resulting in the red team cooking an Asian-themed spread, with their fish entrée containing bacon, which was against one of the cooordinator's pescetarian diet. As a result, the blue team wins 3–0.

The blue team spend a day on a luxury yacht, while the red team decorated Hell's Kitchen for the reunion, including decorating the dining area and making a three-layer cake, which Ramsay rejected as it was poorly made.

  • Dinner service: All three of the blue team's dishes that won in the challenge are added in the menu. The blue team started well, serving all their appetizers in a much shorter time than the red team thanks to Natalie's leadership, but suffered a total meltdown when they moved onto the entrees. Paul undercooked and overcooked the snapper, while Monterray tried to cook broccolini in a cold pan, then accidentally threw it out. On the red team, no one emerged as a leader, until Elise stepped up to bat. Things ran much smoother from that point, even when Carrie tried to put old rice into new rice to reheat it. Elizabeth bounced back from her poor communication in the challenge with a flawless performance on the fish station. Back on the blue team, after two mistakes by Paul, Monterray and Jonathon had to take over the fish station, however, neither of them could put out a snapper. Ramsay has enough and he throws the blue team out of the kitchen, with the red team successfully completing service on both sides. Following the service, the alumni and the red team were treated to a performance by an Hawaiian dance troupe.

After a massive post-mortem argument in the blue team, Natalie announces that the nominees for elimination are Paul and Monterray. Ramsay decides that Jonathon should also be up for nomination. After Paul argued for why he should stay despite his disappointing performance, Ramsay gives him another chance and orders him back in line. Ramsay chooses to eliminate Monterray for his inconsistent performances, but praises him for his efforts.

Ramsay's comment: "It was high school reunion night in Hell's Kitchen. Unfortunately, for Monterray, he flunked the test."

115 7 "11 Chefs Compete" August 8, 2011 6.51[22]
  • Team challenge: Each team had 45 minutes to cook five dishes, each of which must contain at least one type of beer. On hand to judge were two female beer sommeliers. The blue team won 3–2, their third consecutive victory.

The blue team attended the 2011 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach as VIP guests, where they met Arie Luyendyk, Jr. and Simona De Silvestro. The red team must take in several deliveries of food, including ice and kegs of beer.

  • Dinner service: Each table had a beer dispenser which customers could freely use. On the red team, Elise forgot to drain her salad, which she blamed Carrie for not doing herself. Natalie struggles at making scallops before Ramsay discovers that the pan wasn't hot enough, backing Natalie up and causing her to have to re-fire 30 underdone scallops; as a result, Will helps Natalie for the next couple of scallop orders. Back in the red kitchen, Jamie sent out a raw sea bass and Krupa sent a raw venison, and Elise causing confusion by continually yelling out the tickets on order. On the blue team, Natalie has trouble with the fish and Jonathon struggled on the Wellingtons. Having enough with their mistakes, Ramsay kicks them out of the kitchen and despite Jonathon threatening to quit, Ramsay follows them and Natalie promises that their mistakes won't be happen again, leaving the rest of the team to finish service by themselves. Both teams finish service and Ramsay declared both teams losers, although he did complement Paul for bouncing back after his poor performance in the previous service.

Ramsay asks both teams to nominate two chefs for elimination, the blue team chose Jonathon and Natalie – the two chefs kicked out of the kitchen - while the read team chose Jamie and Krupa. Before the decision, Ramsay asked Natalie if she wanted to quit, but she refused and Ramsay eliminates Krupa for her numerous mistakes and failing to live up to the promise she showed in the earlier services but praises her heart.

Ramsay has no comment regarding on Krupa's elimination and the burning of her picture and hanging of her jacket wasn't shown. The episode ended in cliffhanger.

116 8 "10 Chefs Compete" August 9, 2011 6.41[23]

During the recap of the last episode, Krupa's photo was burned and her jacket was hung up. Following from the previous episode, Ramsay asks each team to pick a contestant who could be the strongest leader – the red team chose Jennifer and the blue team chose Will. The next morning, Ramsay asks Jennifer and Will who would be the weakest leader – Jennifer chose Carrie and Will chose Tommy.

  • Team challenge: Each team had 45 minutes to cook five comfort food dishes reinvented with a modern twist under the leadership of Carrie and Tommy. Wolfgang Puck is the judge. In the final set of dishes, the pizzas, Jonathon initially refused to bring his dish up. In the end, both Carrie and Jonathon's pizzas failed. The red team won this challenge, 2 dishes to 1, with only Jamie, Jennifer and Natalie earning points for their teams.

The red team spent the day at the Laugh Factory comedy club in Hollywood. The blue team prepped both kitchens for that night's service and cleaned both teams' dorms, with team leader Tommy ordered to clean the bathroom with a toothbrush. Jonathon practically sat out most of the punishmentdue to muscle pain in his neck, much to the chagrin of his teammates.

  • Dinner service: The servicemen of the United States Coast Guard are presently attending for this service. The red team had some problems in the beginning with the appetizers, but despite this their service was well-coordinated and almost flawless. The blue team struggled with appetizers the whole night due to Natalie and Jonathon's poor communication. In addition, Natalie almost tripped over Tommy while he was opening an oven door. When Tommy laughed, Ramsay warned him. Jonathon's poor performance because of his neck pain caused Ramsay to bring him into the walk-in to have a private discussion where he told Ramsay what was going with his injury. Ramsay reminded him that during season 6, a contestant (Dave Levey) won "Hell's Kitchen" with a broken arm. Tommy struggled to get out the entrees. Both teams eventually finished service, with the red team clearly the winners. Elise was singled out for a spectacular performance on a busier than normal meat station, something that the other members on the red team resented as they already felt that she was egotistical.

The blue team must select two contestants for elimination, they selected Natalie and Jonathon once again. Ramsay calls a tearful Natalie forward and told her to go back in line, and in the end, Ramsay eliminates Jonathon due to his weaker performances in the last three services, and constantly blaming everyone else for his own issues.

Ramsay's comment: "The only thing worse than the pain in Jonathon's neck was listening to him blame everyone else for all his mistakes. I was glad to put him out of his misery."

117 9 "9 Chefs Compete" August 15, 2011 6.99[24]
  • Team challenge: Each contestant had 60 minutes to make a dessert that could be served at a romantic dinner. Jordan Kahn, owner of Red Medicine, and Waylynn Lucas judged each dessert, grading on a scale from one to three stars; the team with the most stars wins. The red team won a close one with 14 stars to the blue team's 13. The red team had an extra member and Elise's dessert was chosen to be dropped by the other women, but when Ramsay tasted it after the challenge ended, he told Elise that her dessert tasted awful and would have cost the red team the victory.

The red team flew to Las Vegas, where they spent the night in the villa suite at Caesar's Palace; in addition, Holly Madison pops by to give the ladies signed copies of her book, as well as passes for a three day, two night stay for them and a guest at a later date. The blue team prepared for the next night's "date night" service, which included a raw bar.

  • Dinner service: On the blue team, Ramsay tells Tommy to leave the kitchen for a few minutes after undercooking the scallops and cooking the sea bass before the appetizer. However, he bounces back after spending a few minutes talking with customers. Later, Paul was thrown out of the kitchen after serving raw chicken but the team rallied, mainly thanks to Natalie and Will. On the red team, Carrie repeatedly asked Elise how long her risottos were taking so she could time her scallops, only to receive no response from Elise. Later, Ramsay rejects garnish, as it contains a strand of hair alleged to have come from Jamie. Carrie was kicked out of the kitchen for overcooking the sea bass. She argued with Chef Ramsay about being sent out and refused to leave several times, making Ramsay even angrier at Carrie. Jamie's service lacked focus, with her getting yelled at by Ramsay for providing burnt garnish. Also, Elise cooked lobster capellini for a vegetarian diner, leading Ramsay to force her to shout out the order repeatedly. When she then over-cooked oysters, Ramsay threw her out of the kitchen. Both teams completed service short-handed. Also, during the service a man gave a marriage proposal to his girlfriend, when her entree included the question "Will you marry me?" written in chocolate. Despite problems with the service, the red team was declared the clear losers.

The losing red team had to choose two nominees for elimination, and they select Carrie and Elise, the two chefs who were kicked out during the service. After the deliberations, Ramsay calls both Carrie and Elise forward only to order them back in line and he eliminates Jamie as he felt she had no fight back whatsoever, despite her completing service with Elizabeth and Jennifer, leaving the other chefs shocked.

Ramsay's comment: "Jamie's lack of fight-back told me she's not ready to be a head chef. The remaining chefs need to know it's not about what they've done in the past. It's what they do here that counts."

118 10 "8 Chefs Compete" August 22, 2011 6.07[25]
  • Team challenge: The chefs took part in the blind taste test challenge, where they each had to identify four items of food by taste alone. In the first round, both Tommy and Carrie identified only one. In the next round, Elizabeth didn't manage to get any whilst Will only got one and in the third round, the blue team stayed ahead as both Jennifer and Paul only identified one. In the last round the red team wins this challenge, after Elise correctly guessed 3 out of her 4 items while Natalie was only able to identify one.

The red team gets a horseback ride in the Hollywood Hills, enjoying champagne and a stunning view of the Los Angeles skyline, while the blue team had to prep both kitchens for a special steakhouse service along with making grape jam for the dessert, peeling each grape by hand.

  • Dinner service: The service was a split steakhouse night and with two 90-minute time periods, one team cooks the menu while the other team serves the diners. Both teams did well as servers, though each team had a chef struggle in their roles: Elise for red, and Tommy in blue. The blue team's got a bad start due to Tommy's poor communication, and Natalie had a lot of trouble getting the steaks out, as she kept overcooking them. While the team eventually rallied, their early problems counted against them and they left five tables without food. The red team wasn't better despite Jennifer's strong performance on the appetizers, Elise's poor communication and repeatedly overcooked the fish, while Carrie got completely lost on the garnishes. Like their rivals, the red team improved late in the service, but fell well short of serving all their tables. As a result, neither team won (in addition to that, Ramsay felt that at that stage in the game it was the worst that any group of contestants had performed at that point). When Ramsay said Elise has a bright career as a customer, Elise attempts to defend herself & Ramsay asks the three members of the Red Team if they think she's a team player. When Jennifer said she was an individual, Elise tried to argue that she was wrong leading Jennifer to scream at Elise for her arrogance and failure to listen to her teammates or Chef Ramsay.

Each team has to nominate one contestant for elimination; the red team nominated Carrie, while the blue team decided on Tommy. While Ramsay said that he thought Tommy had no chance of winning the competition, he eliminated Carrie. While acknowledging that she had a big heart and was ambitious, Ramsay felt that she was not mature enough to run BLT Steak. [note 4]

Ramsay had no comments regarding Carrie's elimination and the burning of her picture and hanging of her jacket weren't shown. The episode ended in cliffhanger.

119 11 "7 Chefs Compete" August 22, 2011 6.42[25]

Continuing from the last episode, Ramsay got all the chefs to remove their jackets, and told them that they would all be leaving Hell's Kitchen... Instead, they are flown to New York City for a culinary tour of ethnic cuisine and a visit to BLT Steak.

  • Team challenge: When they returned to Hell's Kitchen, they were presented with a slot machine, which would assign them a list of ingredients and an ethnic style of cuisine to cook. Each contestant would be individually judged on their dishes, and whoever had the best dish would win the challenge for their team. All of the chefs got good reviews (except Natalie; in which Ramsay considering that her dish is too spicy), but Jennifer wins the challenge for the Red team, beating Will and marking the longest streak of challenge wins in Hell's Kitchen history at the time (it has now been broken by the Season 11 Red Team with a four winning challenge streak and was soon followed by a six winning challenge streak).

The red team were rewarded with a trip to Venice Beach, where they join James in riding a plastic bubble (which James calls zorbing); while the blue team had to prep both the kitchens for that night's service.

  • Dinner service: The blue kitchen got off to a rough start when Natalie's scallops were cooked unevenly, and Tommy served up greasy onion rings and things got worse when they reached entrees, with all of Natalie's sea basses returned for being dry. Ramsay became furious with Natalie, and causing him to threaten to throw her out of the competition. Despite this, the team regrouped and eventually finished service. The red team's service became worse; Elizabeth overwhelmed at the fish station, Elise cooked several pieces of meat incorrectly, and her beef wellingtons were falling apart when she served them (she even attempted to blame Tommy for this mistake). After having little improvement in their performances, Ramsay lost his patience and threw them out of service, leading to Jennifer finishing the red kitchen's service by herself. Even the red team's performance much worse than the blue team, Ramsay declared both teams losers.

Ramsay asks two teams to nominate one per each team, Natalie nominated herself for the blue team, The red team has a decision to pick Elise and Elizabeth voted each other; however, Jennifer chose Elise for the nomination. In the end, Ramsay eliminates Natalie feeling she was on a severe downward spiral but told her to continue with her energy and passion.[note 5]

Ramsay's comment: "Natalie was lucky enough to get to see BLT Steak in New York. She may get to see it again... as a customer."

120 12 "6 Chefs Compete" August 29, 2011 6.21[26]
  • Team challenge: The teams are told to cook three entrees each; one that would take 30 minutes to cook, the other would take 20 minutes, and that one would take 10 minutes. Jennifer beat out Tommy in the battle of the 30 minute dishes, while Paul beat Elizabeth in the 20 minute dishes. The final showdown was between the 10 minute dishes, and Will won the challenge for the men after Elise's calimari was undercooked. After the end of the challenge, Elise started crying for sympathy, only for Ramsay to tell her off.

The men went to a Ted Baker outlet to buy some designer clothing, while the women had to set up the dining room for the next service. The men bought a handkerchief as a gift for Elise, mocking her earlier actions in crying after the challenge loss.

  • Dinner service: Hell's Kitchen is "closed" for a black tie charity dinner event and would be serving a twelve-top each. American Cancer Society and American Humane Association are sponsored in each teams. Additionally, each chef took charge of a specific course. The men had a shaky start on Paul's job in plating and Tommy's watery salad. The next course is doing worse with Tommy's risottos were inconsistently seasoned, and Will to step in the rescue, and he continued to do so under Paul's second turn. Finally, Will led the team to a strong finish on the desserts. The red team started off better, despite Elizabeth's poor communication on the first appetizer, the plating of the lobster cappelini was terrible. Elizabeth cooked the chicken too early, and repeatedly failed to understand that it was a mistake. Elise refuses to help her with the Wellingtons, demoting them to garnishes. Finally, the team's apple dessert was raw, which led to an argument between Elise and Jennifer. After the end of service, Ramsay announced that the blue team had been the clear winners.

After yet another fierce argument between the women in the service post-mortem, Ramsay loses his patience and decides that all 3 women from the red team would be facing elimination. Ramsay awarded the black jackets to the remaining men, and he announced that the five remaining chefs for the first time since season three that would be part of one team in the next service. When the crying trio of Elizabeth, Jennifer & Elise step forward, Ramsay called Jennifer to take off her jacket, saying that her worst performance isn't bad and Ramsay gives her a black jacket. Then, he calls Elise and Elizabeth to take off their jackets and eliminates Elizabeth, feeling that she was not ready to lead a brigade. Elise was also threatened with elimination, buy Ramsay gives her one more chance and gives her a black jacket.

Ramsay's comment: "Tonight was all about charity in Hell's Kitchen and after watching Elizabeth's performance, I'm now ready to donate her jacket to a worthy cause."

121 13 "5 Chefs Compete Part 1" September 5, 2011 5.89[27]
  • Individual challenge: The chefs are now united into black team and their first individual challenge was to take five comfort foods and create fine dining versions to Michelin-starred chefs with a total of 100 score points (50 for presentation, and 50 for taste). Jennifer's lasagna dish ends up in last place with an underwhelming 52 points (28 for presentation and 24 for taste), Paul's tuna casserole in fourth with 60 points (33 for presentation and 27 for taste), Tommy's chicken and dumplings dish in third with 74 points (44 for presentation and 30 for taste), Elise's eggplant parmesan dish in second with 86 points (42 for presentation and 44 for taste), with Will's meatloaf dish winning him the challenge with a score of 87 points (38 for presentation and 49 for taste), with his score in a margin close higher than Elise.

Will sends on a culinary tour of several Los Angeles restaurants via Rolls Royce, and he chose Elise (who placed second; much to his delight). The others have been tasked with doing Hell's Kitchen laundry, including Ramsay's jacket, as punishment.

Just as the night before of the service, the "returning chefs" team, consisting of Ben Walanka (season 5), Tennille Middleton and Van Hurd (season 6), along with Jillian Flathers and Trev McGrath (season 8) was brought in to compete with the black team, which is the first time in Hell's Kitchen history, and they instruct to write their own menus by a one-hour limit. The returning chefs team decided on their menu choices without much trouble, but Elise tried to take control of the black team's menu and reacted angrily to any suggested alterations by the other chefs, which eventually resulted in Will storming out of the planning session.

  • Dinner service: The service started very well, with the black team's only problems being that Paul served an overcooked lobster, Jennifer undercooked the garnishes for one dish, and Elise tried to push the other chefs too quickly. Trev became a leader as instructed by Ramsay but the returning chefs team also had some initial problems with Trev making a salad for the wrong ticket and Van undercooking their first meat entree, but their service improved. However, Tennille proved to be a major weak link in their kitchen early in to service, as she overcooked and undercooked the fish, a problem she never overcame as a contestant. At the end, Chef Ramsay announced that the returning chefs team had scored an 80% approval rate, but the black team won with a 96% approval rate.

Ramsay asked for two nominees for elimination, and after much argument, Elise and Jennifer were nominated. Ramsay expressed surprise at Elise's nomination but accepted the two nominees. After briefly heard with the nominees, Ramsay called Jennifer forward and was told to remove her jacket and got a new one. He sends Jennifer and Elise back in line and announces none of the chefs have been sent home for the week with no mistakes and getting a higher approval.

Ramsay's comment: "Tonight's service was the best yet in Hell's Kitchen. Just like the returning chefs received a second chance, I decided to give Elise and Jennifer a second chance as well. Hopefully, they'll make the most of it."

122 14 "5 Chefs Compete Part 2" September 12, 2011 5.78[28]
  • Individual challenge: The chefs were each given a portion of Alaskan salmon, and assigned to create restaurant quality dishes with them. Whoever's dish was considered the most valuable by Ramsay and a panel of three judges would win the challenge. Paul wins the challenge, with Will narrowly beating Jennifer. Tommy finished in fourth place, and Elise was last.

Paul got a helicopter trip with Ramsay, followed by lunch at the Water Grill, and he picks Tommy for a reward. The others had to prepare the Alaskan salmon for Paul's dish, which would be on the menu for the next service, and Will did this mostly by himself, as Elise openly refused to take part in the punishment, while Jennifer mostly did minor tasks.

  • Dinner service: The service got off to a rocky start, as Jennifer got completely overwhelmed on the appetizer station. Tommy came over to help her, but Jennifer constantly failed to give him correct times, resulting in the appetizers that he served up being undercooked. Elise also failed to have the scallops ready on time and blamed Jennifer, even though both Jennifer and Ramsay had both told Elise when to cook scallops. With the service falling behind, Ramsay decided to make up lost ground by getting the team to work on the entrées as well, but Elise's continued poor performance on the fish station caused she overcooked the salmon, ignored both Paul and Ramsay's instructions on how to cook it correctly, and chased Tommy away when he attempted to help her. After her sixth incorrect attempt at cooking the salmon, Ramsay lost his temper and threw everyone out of the kitchen. However, he then changed his mind and brings Will and Paul to give a second chance and finish the service by themselves, earning Ramsay's praise. After the service ended Tommy almost got into an argument with Ramsay, feeling that he did not deserve to be thrown out of service.

Jennifer and Elise both agreed that they should be the nominees for elimination. Elise's nomination ties for the record for most nominations for elimination in the entire competition.[note 6] Prior to the ceremony, Elise pulled Will and Paul to one side and got them to promise that they would back her up if Ramsay asked them who was the weakest. The two nominees got into an argument after Ramsay called them out, and much to Jennifer's shock, Paul and Will honored their agreement with Elise and told Ramsay that Jennifer should be sent home. Tommy, on the other hand, said that Elise should be sent home. Ramsay agreed with Will and Paul, and eliminates Jennifer, feeling that she was not ready to run a brigade. However, Ramsay praised Jennifer for her big heart and strong palate.

Ramsay's comment: "Jennifer finally found her voice in Hell's Kitchen. Unfortunately, it was when she was being eliminated."

123 15 "4 Chefs Compete" September 19, 2011 6.04[29]

Before the start of the challenge, Chef Ramsay surprised the remaining chefs. Elise's husband, son and aunt came in first, followed by Tommy's girlfriend and mother, Paul's older brother and Will's mother and wife, came to spend time with them.

  • Individual challenge: The chefs each tasted a dish cooked by Ramsay, and had to recreate the dishes. Tommy finished last after misidentified both the fish and a type of ham. Elise and Will both finished second, correctly identifying everything but the fish itself. Paul won this challenge, who recreated Chef Ramsay's dish in perfect detail.

Paul and his older brother got to attend a Los Angeles Dodgers versus Chicago Cubs baseball game, where they met Tommy Lasorda, Jamey Caroll, Steve Lyons, and Don Mattingly, while the remaining chefs had to move the belongings of the other, since-departed contestants out of the dorms.

  • Dinner service: Each of the chefs took control of the kitchen for part of the service.[note 7] Paul having trouble with acceptable scallops and leads the kitchen well. Tommy went next with a shaky start, but fails to communicate well with the other chefs, though he improved as the service went on. Elise follows Tommy and temporarily lost her nerve after failing to realize that she had been given the wrong purée, but recovered. Will gets off with a strong start by realizing that Scott had served Lamb Wellingtons rather than Beef ones, but then got into a massive argument with Elise over the garnishes, causing the kitchen to stall and lose momentum. Will eventually got the service back on track, but Chef Ramsay specifically noted that the other chefs didn't respect him. Ramsay then led the service to its finish.

After being briefly sent back to the dorms to consider their pleas on why they should stay, the chefs returned to the dining room. Tommy was immediately eliminated, as Ramsay said that he is weakest amongst the final four, though Ramsay told him that he still had plenty of passion and skill. After hearing the pleas with the remaining three chefs, Ramsay names Will as the first finalist, and he chooses Paul to join Will for the final,[note 8] leaving a teary-eyed Elise as the one to leave Hell's Kitchen and allows to keep her jacket.

Ramsay does not have a regarding comment on Tommy and Elise's eliminations, and they both didn't receive the coat hook and burning picture sequence.

124 16 "2 Chefs Compete" September 19, 2011 5.94[29]

Finalists Paul and Will prepare a menu featuring four appetizers, four entrées and three desserts, and he gives them a new white jacket. Ramsay sends them to BLT Steak Los Angeles branch. They were taken out to dinner by Chef Ramsay with their relatives, and in an ironic reversal of what happened in the season premiere, were unexpectedly shown into a room filled with a cheering crowd.

  • Individual challenge: Paul and Will had to cook five dishes, which would be judged by the executives of BLT Steak. Will wins this challenge, 3 to 2.

When the finalists returned to Hell's Kitchen, there was big present box in the middle of the dining room.[note 9] For winning the challenge, Will picks Tommy, Paul picks Elise, Will's picks are Natalie, Jennifer and Krupa. Paul's picks are Elizabeth, Jonathon and he is left with Carrie. (Will deliberately having engineered his choices so that Elise and Carrie would be on Paul's team, hoping that their feud would bring down the team). Before discussing the menu with his team, Paul warned Elise and Carrie not to get into any fights due to the many confrontations they had during the season. Prior to the service Paul had a brief breakdown after Chef Ramsay hated his menu, but soon regained his composure.

  • Dinner service: Among the guests for this service are the final two's relatives and BLT Group President Keith Treyball. Will's team started off better than Paul's team did, with Natalie getting all her appetisers out quickly, while Elise caused a fire on her appetiser station, and Elizabeth kept overcooking the scallops. With his team struggling to get any entrees out, Paul assigned Elise to help the other three chefs, which turned their service around. Meanwhile, Krupa almost single-handedly derailed Will's service by constantly serving up undercooked fish. When she finally managed what appeared to be an acceptable serving, it was sent back immediately as it was also undercooked. Will eventually replaced her with Natalie, but Krupa had used up all of their team's prepared fish, forcing Natalie to start over on their entrees, and putting Will's team far behind Paul's. Both teams eventually finished service successfully, and as Paul and Ramsay noted to their amusement, Elise and Carrie never once argued during the service.

After reading over the comment cards, Ramsay calls the two finalists to his office. He complimented Will on his consistency and Paul on his spirit and tenacity, and announced that while they were two outstanding chefs, there was a clear winner based on both the comment cards and his own observations. The two chefs each stood before a closed door; whoever's door opened would be the winner. Paul's door opened, making him the ninth winner of Hell's Kitchen.[note 10] Will took his defeat graciously, acknowledging that his service had been very disappointing and that he was happy for Paul to honor his late mother making him the second chef in the history of Hell's Kitchen to win in the honor a deceased parent (the first being Danny from season 5).

During the credits, clips were shown of Paul during the signature dish challenge and Chef Ramsay making jokes about Tommy's 19 year-old girlfriend, as he is 31 years-old. In the closing moment of the season, Chef Ramsay told Elise that she could go far as a chef, but she needed to "stop being such a bitch!"

Ramsay's comment: "Paul won tonight because he's probably the most passionate determined chef ever to enter Hell's Kitchen. He'll make a great head chef because his enthusiasm is contagious. I'm so proud to hand him over to BLT Steak in New York City."'


Paul appeared in season 11 as a part of the champion's team against the final 5 in black jackets. He made another return in Season 12 to pick one of the contestant's dishes to appear in the Hell's Kitchen Calendar alongside Season 3 winner Rock Harper, and Season 10 second runner-up Dana Cohen.

Jason returned as a contestant in season 12, where he was the runner-up.

Tommy was as a contestant on the March 30, 2014 episode of Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen, and won $19,000.

Elise appeared as one of the five celebrity chefs on the August 12, 2014 episode of NBC's Food Fighters and re-appeared in the 200th dinner service as a customer.


  1. ^ Jason would later return as a contestant in season 12.
  2. ^ this marks the sixth consecutive season where the men won the first challenge & the fifth consecutive season where the men won the second challenge as well as the first.
  3. ^ This was the first time since season 2 that Chef Ramsay was the lone nominator after dinner service.
  4. ^ Carrie's elimination was treated with a retrospective montage during her exit, like Rachel from season 2 and Robert and Sabrina in season 6.
  5. ^ Natalie's elimination was paid in retrospective montage during her exit like Carrie in the previous episode.
  6. ^ Elise's nomination count ties with Autumn Lewis of season 7, Sabrina Brimhall of season 8,Clemenza Caserta in Season 10 and Scott Commings of Season 12.
  7. ^ The pass is where the food orders are placed and quality checked before leaving the kitchen. In episode 915, the chefs have a chance to handle that station.
  8. ^ This has the third time to feature an all-male final, the first were seasons 1 and 6.
  9. ^ In episode 916, the eight returning chefs returned to help with the two finalists. However, eight of the last six chefs present for the service, Jamie did not return; instead Krupa came in her place and was the last person prior to the final ten chefs.
  10. ^ Paul was the first winner that had positive remarks on his signature dish in the first episode, a sign of his consistency throughout the season.


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