Hell's Kitchen (U.S. season 5)

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Hell's Kitchen (U.S. season 5)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 15
Original network Fox
Original release January 29 (2009-01-29) – May 14, 2009 (2009-05-14)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 4
Next →
Season 6
List of Hell's Kitchen episodes

Season 5 of the American competitive reality television series Hell's Kitchen began airing on the Fox Network starting on January 29, 2009. The season concluded on May 14, 2009.

Executive Chef Daniel Veltri won the series and was awarded a sous chef position under Stephen Kalt at Italian restaurant Fornelletto at the Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Danny also received $250,000 in prize money from the show.[1]

This season also featured a high amount of unusual eliminations; with two chefs leaving due to medical issues, and two chefs eliminated during service. Also, this season marked the first time a chef was eliminated despite being on the winning team, which would become more prominent in later seasons.


The first half of each episode consists of a team challenge, in which the winning side gets a reward of some sort of leisure activity, while the losing side has to clean up and prepare both kitchens, as well as some activity that is not so pleasant. Afterwards, the teams compete in executing a dinner service, during which Ramsay can impose additional punishments or kick chefs out of the kitchen. The losing team(s) nominates chefs to be considered for elimination. Ramsay can also nominate chefs, and ultimately sends a chef home. At six chefs left, the teams merge to one, and the chefs compete as individuals.


Gordon Ramsay returned as the head chef, sous chefs Scott Leibfried of blue team and Gloria Félix of the red team, and Maître d' Jean-Philippe Susilovic as well.

Opening sequence[edit]

The chefs are shown alongside an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine as it plays out in the kitchen.


16 chefs competed in Season 5, and were initially separated by gender. The chefs were:

Contestant Age Occupation Hometown
Coi Burruss 22 Cafe Chef Austin, Texas
Ji-Hyun Cha 33 Private Caterer Palisades Park, New Jersey
Colleen Cleek 41 Culinary Instructor Papillion, Nebraska
Lacey D'Angelo 24 Corporate Buffet Cook Charlotte, North Carolina
Paula da Silva 28 Executive Sous Chef Coconut Creek, Florida
Giovanni Filippone 37 Executive Chef Destin, Florida
Andrea Heinly 30 Line Cook Reading, Pennsylvania
Robert Hesse 29 Sous Chef Quogue, New York
Wil Kocol 26 Quality Control Chef Elgin, Illinois
Seth Levine 27 Private Party Chef New York, New York
Alicia "LA" Limtiaco 22 Line Cook Las Vegas, Nevada
Jason "J" Maxwell 32 Food Court Chef Clifton Park, New York
Charlie McKay 24 Prep Chef Las Vegas, Nevada
Carol Scott 30 Sous Chef Knoxville, Tennessee
Danny Veltri 23[a] Executive Chef Edgewater, Florida
Ben Walanka 26 Executive Sous Chef Chicago, Illinois

Contestant progress[edit]

Each week, the best member (as determined by Ramsay) from the losing team during the latest service period is asked to nominate two of their teammates for elimination; one of these two is meant to be sent home by Ramsay. On some weeks, there is a variation in the nomination process, depending on the losing team's (or even winning team's) performance.

Original teams First switch Second switch Individual Finals
No. Chef 501 502 503 504 505 506 507 508 509 510 511 512 513 514/515
14 Charlie LOSE WIN OUT
15 Ji WIN LEFT[n 5]
16 Wil OUT
  1. ^ a b c d Chef was nominated by Ramsay
  2. ^ Chef was hospitalized and withdrew for health reasons
  3. ^ Chef was eliminated by Ramsay despite being on the winning team
  4. ^ a b Chef was eliminated by Ramsay during service
  5. ^ Chef sustained an injury and was not allowed to continue


Each episode consists of a challenge with a reward, a service, nominations for elimination, and an elimination.

No. in
Title Original air date
49 1 "16 Chefs Compete" January 29, 2009 (2009-01-29)

Three hundred chefs from all over America are welcomed to the new season of Hell's Kitchen, but only 16 chefs were called down and Ramsay tells them to cook him their signature dishes. The winner of this season will become head chef in Fornelletto at the Borgata in Atlantic City.

Signature Dishes: For once, half of the chefs received positive to average reviews. Carol, Ji, Andrea, Coi, Paula and Ben all impressed Ramsay with their dishes, while Wil and Robert received good feedback for taste, but criticized for presentation and thin sauce respectively. LA's fish and chips were called "terrible" and Ramsay spit out Colleen's chicken enchiladas and Lacey's chicken and blackberry dish. He also hated Danny's grilled bananas, deemed Charlie's dish a joke, graded J's dish an "F", and berated Giovanni for not being able to cook rice. Seth's honey-flavored ratatouille received the worst review, and when Seth laughed, Ramsay threatened to eliminate him on the spot.

Pre-Service: The teams were each told to give themselves a name. The men named themselves "Blues Brothers", while the women originally named themselves "Team Saffron", but changed it to "Spice Racks" after being called out by Ramsay.

Service: Carol and Giovanni were chosen as waiters. In the blue kitchen, Giovanni struggled as a waiter, forgetting orders on numerous occasions. Ben and Robert served raw spaghetti, Danny overcooked scallops and then talked back to Ramsay, Seth served raw lamb, and Wil burnt gnocchi and fell behind on garnish, needing Robert and Charlie's help. A power outage happened during service, causing the kitchens to come to a halt, though Carol used this opportunity to give the customers alcohol. In the red kitchen, Lacey served raw scallops, Colleen put cheese into lobster spaghetti, made one in a dirty pan, cooked too much spaghetti at one time, and accidentally put sugar into a risotto instead of salt. After customers began walking out, Ramsay shut both kitchens down. Ramsay garnered the customer comment cards, and the women won after Carol received an 88% above average customer rating, compared to 90% below average for Giovanni, and Ramsay declared Giovanni "the worst waiter in the history of Hell's Kitchen".

Elimination: Seth and Wil were nominated. Ramsay eliminated Wil for nominating himself, lacking Seth's passion, and poor performance on the garnish station.

Ramsay's comment: "I found it quite strange that Wil didn't even have the will to succeed. He clearly didn't belong in Hell's Kitchen."
50 2 "15 Chefs Compete" February 5, 2009 (2009-02-05)

Team challenge: The contestants were awakened early in the morning by a marching band, and were greeted outside by Chef Ramsay and two piles of garbage bags containing the discarded food from last night's service. Unlike seasons 2 & 4, where contestants had to sort through the trash, Ramsay ordered the contestants to fish scallops out of two large crates and carry them to the kitchen, leading to the day's team challenge of cleanly shucking as many scallops as they could in fifteen minutes. Andrea was told by Ramsay to sit out in order to even out both teams. The women went first. Carol scored eight, Paula scored only one, Coi scored six and Colleen scored five. LA, Ji, and Lacey scored eight, four and three respectively, the latter of which caused Lacey to become agitated. The women successfully shuck a total of 35 scallops. For the men, Ben scored only three, Danny scored nine and Giovanni scored an impressive thirteen of his fifteen scallops. Robert scored five, Charlie scored only two and Seth scored three, tying the score at 35-35. Last up was J. His first five scallops were rejected but his sixth - and last - passed, eking out a 36-35 victory for the men.

Reward/punishment: The men flew in a helicopter to Catalina Island, but Robert was forced to take a ferry due to his weight. While on a submarine ride, Seth demonstrated a level of knowledge of Gordon's personal life to the point that the guys jokingly believed that Seth was stalking him. When Robert finally arrived, with the long trip causing him to miss out on the day's events, it was time for the group to head back. Meanwhile, the women spent the day prepping a raw bar for the night's service. After the challenge, a dejected Lacey had retreated to her bunk in tears after being called out by Ramsay for her substandard performance (even though Paula had performed the worst for the women). Ji attempted to talk Lacey out of her funk, but to no avail. Following an argument between Lacey and Carol over Lacey's histrionics, Lacey claimed illness and remained in bed, not showing up in the kitchen until six hours into the punishment.

Service: Only thirty minutes before the start of service, Ji suffered an ankle injury after slipping on some oil that left her participation in doubt, but after receiving treatment she announced to Chef Ramsay that she would be taking part in the service. Robert and Paula were assigned as raw bar servers; Robert's amiability impressed Jean-Phillippe and the customers. Carol and Charlie both produced poor risottos, but Ben was able to bail Charlie out with his replacement. Charlie was soon in hot water again after he and Seth forgot to include lobster in the lobster spaghetti. Danny impressed Ramsay with his lamb, but Ramsay got angry at Giovanni for delivering an undercooked salmon to the pass. In the red kitchen, Colleen struggled on the fish station as she first burned three orders of scallops, forcing Lacey to jump in on Ramsay's orders and showed her how to cook them. Colleen then later burned the outside of a piece of salmon and simultaneously left the inside raw, while also forgetting a John Dory on the same ticket. This led Ramsay to furiously question her credentials as a culinary instructor, and when she burned yet two more orders of salmon, Ramsay threw her out of the kitchen, demoting her to the raw bar and bringing in Paula to take her place, after which things picked up. Ji's injury still hobbled her throughout the service, though she still performed well. To make things interesting near the end, Ramsay gathered both teams and declared that whoever first completed service was the winner. Both sides were neck-and-neck until Carol stalled the women on a dish that everyone else was ready for, allowing the men to emerge victoriously. Despite this setback, both teams would successfully finish the service but the men were the first to complete dinner service which gave them their first win.

Elimination: Colleen and Lacey were nominated. In a deleted scene included on the DVD release, the others attempted to persuade Carol to nominate herself in place of Colleen despite the latter's dreadful performance, in turn hoping to ensure Lacey's elimination despite regarding Colleen as their worst cook, the women would rather get rid of Lacey, but Carol refused on the grounds that it could result in her being axed for costing her team the win. After Colleen and Lacey plead their cases for staying and before Ramsay could make a decision, Ji who had admirably completed the dinner service in spite of her injury, which restricted her to a wheelchair afterward, announced to Ramsay that she wished to withdraw from the competition, fearing her physical state would be a hindrance to the women's success. She had lamented this earlier to her teammates right after the end of service. Andrea declared to Ramsay that a hobbled Ji was still far more effective than Colleen or Lacey, but Ramsay honored Ji's request and allowed her to leave, thus reluctantly sparing Colleen and Lacey from elimination. He then lauded Ji personally for her effort and her "phenomenal" performance, while allowing her to keep her jacket as a token of her bravery (this was the first time Ramsay had let a contestant keep their jacket, it became much more common in later seasons). After she bid a tearful goodbye to her teammates, and as she was wheeled by Andrea out of Hell's Kitchen, the men all rose and gave Ji a farewell standing ovation for her gritty performance. Ramsay then called on the remaining contestants to draw from Ji's perseverance, which, he said, demonstrated "courage at its best." Despite withdrawing from the competition due to injury, she got her picture burned instead of the traditional coat hook and burning sequence unlike Vanessa Gunnell from season 4.

Ramsay's comment: "Ji showed great courage. Unfortunately, her injury got in the way of her dream. She had a chance to win this, but sadly we will never, ever know."
51 3 "14 Chefs Compete" February 19, 2009 (2009-02-19)

Team challenge: Both teams were awakened at six the next morning by the ringing of cowbells from sous chefs Scott and Gloria, and were taken on a field trip to a meat processing plant, where Scott showed the contestants how the meat was butchered and what parts of the cattle produced specific cuts. Back in the kitchen, the team challenge was to correctly label several cuts of meat, then attach the signs identifying the cuts to the proper locations on color-coded cow statues. The men won the meat-labeling challenge first after only two tries, then J and Colleen got their teams off to good starts with five correct cuts out of eight on their respective statues, but then Seth and Lacey caused two caused major setbacks for their sides, effectively forcing both teams to start over. Ben eventually labeled all of the cuts correctly, giving the men their second consecutive challenge victory. Paula had the distinction of successfully completing both parts of the challenge for the women, but had been beaten to the task by the men both times.

Reward/punishment: The men flew to Sunstone Winery in Santa Ynez, California, where they enjoyed a wine tasting followed by a steak dinner. The women stayed behind to butcher two large sides of beef after hauling both into the kitchen. In addition, Scott presented them their lunch consisting entirely of offal, led Lacey to vomit and therefore cause a chain reaction of LA and Andrea upchucking while the others plugged their ears. Andrea, clearly traumatized by the repulsive meal and her having vomited multiple times as a result, desperately made the women promise to bond together and try harder to avoid future punishments.

Service: Hell's Kitchen opened for its first-ever "steakhouse" service, split into two two-hour seatings with one team cooking and the other serving, and vice-verse. Robert was determined to have a good service, as it had coincided with what was to be his wedding day. During the first seating, Giovanni sent out numerous undercooked steaks and Ben, misinterpreting a command from Ramsay, prepared six orders of dessert before the appetizers. Charlie struggled to keep up on the fish station and was oblivious to his cooking cloth catching fire, which Scott had to put out. When Giovanni ran low on filets, Seth was ordered by Ramsay to cut more, but he then over butchered a tenderloin and wasted a great deal of meat in the process, then tried unsuccessfully to hide the scraps from Ramsay. During the second seating, the red team got off to a slow start with Colleen losing track of the appetizers, but entrees ran smoothly as Andrea, showing no ill effects from yesterday's punishment, had all her steaks approved by Ramsay. Ben, Seth, and Giovanni nonetheless returned some of the steaks to the kitchen, but Ramsay confirmed that they were all cooked correctly to order and accused the men of deliberately writing incorrect tickets in an attempt to sabotage the women, which Seth confessed to in a confessional. The men, in turn, had felt the women intentionally took far too long in submitting their orders during the first service. In the end, the red team's problems on appetizers caught up with them despite Andrea's strong performance, and they fell just short of completing service, though Charlie and Lacey were named the worst servers on customer comment cards. The red team were named the winners.

Elimination: Seth and Charlie were nominated. Despite Seth's horrendous butchering of the filet, Charlie was eliminated for his lack of progress over three services.

Ramsay's comment: "Charlie is a prep chef, but I'm looking for a head chef. He seemed like a nice guy, but you know where nice guys finish."
52 4 "13 Chefs Compete" February 26, 2009 (2009-02-26)

Team challenge: Both teams cooked a special breakfast service for a group of 100 young football players and cheerleaders. Colleen became distracted by the cheerleaders, forcing Ramsay to order her back on her station, while Coi burned several pancakes. The men had an early lead but squandered it after Seth stumbled on scrambled eggs that he claimed were inspired by one of Ramsay's recipes. This gave the women their first challenge victory of the season. Ben and Danny later got into a heated argument in the dorms after Danny had boasted that he was the strongest cook on the men's team.

Reward/punishment: The women went camping for the day at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The guys faced the arduous task of cleaning up both the dining room and kitchens in addition to prepping both sides for tonight's service. But they failed to finish the red kitchen's prep by the time the women returned, due to Danny and Robert plotting to get Ben out.

Service: The women were missing their tomato butter sauce, which was supposed to have been made during the men's prep; on that account, Chef Ramsay suspected sabotage, and his suspicions were only furthered when the sauce that Ben gave them was far too salty, leading to Danny properly preparing a new batch. Giovanni lagged on boiling the water for spaghetti, and a Caesar salad prepared by J included the butt from a head of lettuce, infuriating Ramsay. Ben cut the lamb chops too thinly, and when Ramsay asked Danny how long on the mashed potatoes, Danny did not respond immediately, causing Ramsay to threaten to throw him out. Seth proved to be the worst performer of the night as he undercooked some scallops, didn't pay attention when Ramsay called out a ticket, then was caught by Ramsay wiping a pan with a soiled cloth that he had just previously used to wipe his face. In the red kitchen, Coi pre-made pasta instead of cooking it to order, prepared two underdone lobster spaghetti that were short on lobster, then dropped one of the pans containing the replacements. LA sent up poorly sliced wellingtons, Colleen conflicted with her on the meat station and cooked one order of beef Wellingtons too many. Ramsay finally had enough and declared both teams as losers, then sent the teams upstairs to decide which two members from each side should be up for elimination.

Elimination: Before asking for the nominees, Ramsay brought up the butt of lettuce to J, saying "that's how reputations got destroyed within minutes - butthead!". When Danny revealed the first nominee was Seth and the second nominee from the men was Ben, Ramsay's response implied they should've nominated J. When Lacey revealed the nominees were Colleen and herself, Ramsay was shocked that Coi wasn't nominated but took Lacey anyways, as Coi had openly admitted her mistakes. After listening to the pleas, Ramsay sent Ben back in line and eliminated Seth for being a consistently terrible performer.

Team change: Lacey was transferred over to the men's team, as the men were now three members down, and also because most of the women made it clear that they were not willing to continue working with her.

Ramsay's comment: "Seth showed that he had all the passion in the world, but the bottom line is he's a crap cook."
53 5 "12 Chefs Compete" March 5, 2009 (2009-03-05)

Team challenge: Both teams visited an Asian supermarket, where they purchased the ingredients needed for Asian-fusion dishes with limits of only 25 minutes to shop and $100. The mandatory ingredients consisted of one type of seafood, poultry, and meat, and both teams had an hour to prepare the dishes. Each dish was judged by Chef Ramsay and Epicurious editor-in-chief Tanya Steel. The red team's poultry dish, presented by Carol, was felt to be dry, whilst Robert's for the blue team was praised and earned a point. For the seafood dish, the red team earned a point with their "perfectly cooked" dish compared to the blue team's dish, which was felt to be salty. For the final dish, Andrea's dish was felt to be overwhelmed by spice, but the beef was cooked perfectly, whilst the blue team's dish was felt to have a good concept, though was ruined by the dish being undercooked. In a tough decision, Tanya gave the point to the red team meaning the red team won the challenge 2-1.

Reward/punishment: The red team's winning dishes were featured on the Epicurious website. The women also spent the day sumo wrestling in oversized sumo suits, which included Ramsay taking down Jean-Phillippe to everyone's amusement, and later imbibing on sake. The blue team made fortune cookies and folded origamis for tonight's service. Lacey, having drawn the ire of her new teammates almost immediately at the outset as she had previously done with the red team, got back in their good graces when she successfully assisted the men with the origami.

Service: In addition to the regular customers, the night's patrons included a group of sumo wrestlers, both of whom ordered one of everything on the menu; Ramsay split it down the middle between the kitchens. The teams enjoyed a strong start on appetizers fueled by Giovanni and LA's risottos, while Lacey surprisingly emerged as a leader on the blue team, but the meat station was a wreck on both sides: J undercooked his beef Wellingtons because the oven fan was on low, sent raw chicken to the pass and then forgot an order of lamb on a later ticket. In the red kitchen Ramsay discovered a stash of discarded burnt beef wellingtons hidden underneath Andrea's station, Andrea then became overwhelmed and stalled the red kitchen's progress. Robert wasted a lot of food while prepping his dishes, and angered Ramsay further by not responding when Ramsay repeatedly addressed him as "Bobby," for which Robert mooned the confessional room camera during an interview while telling Ramsay to "kiss my ass." The final straw was when Colleen's pear dessert was returned because both the pear and the pastry were raw. With service a lost cause and Ramsay refusing any more returned dishes from Jean-Philippe, the kitchen was closed stating it was the worst performance so far. In a private meeting after the service, Robert explained that he did not respond to "Bobby" because that was the name of his abusive father and that it brought back painful memories from his childhood. Ramsay apologized and replied that he would respect Robert's wishes, adding that it would not have happened had he known about it beforehand. Giovanni and LA were selected as the best of the worst for their teams and were tasked with choosing a person for elimination though Lacey was also singled out for praise for her leadership and strong performance.

Elimination: Giovanni nominated J while LA chose Andrea. Ramsay appeared to disagree with Giovanni's decision, heavily implying that he thought Robert should have been chosen instead, but he accepted the two nominees. However, he ordered them back in line, then told Robert to wake up. Instead, Colleen was axed on the grounds that, after five terrible dinner services, Ramsay could no longer tolerate her constant mistakes, but as she took off her jacket, he praised her tenacity and fight, and told the remaining contestants to follow that example.

Ramsay's comment: "There was no place in the kitchen I could put Colleen where she wasn't a disaster. It's time for her to go back to where she belongs: teaching, because she certainly can't cook."
54 6 "11 Chefs Compete" March 12, 2009 (2009-03-12)

Team challenge: Hell's Kitchen would be hosting a bar mitzvah for the first time, about which Ben, being of Jewish heritage, was particularly enthusiastic. For the team challenge, the chefs had to create gourmet versions of chicken soup, brisket, and burgers, the favorite foods of Max Reuben, the young guest of honor. Giovanni won the soup challenge over Andrea, while LA won with the brisket over Ben. Max liked both Robert's and Carol's burgers, but chose Robert's only because he didn't like blue cheese (which the team had warned Carol about earlier), giving a 2-1 win to the blue team.

Reward/punishment: The blue team were treated to a day at Skin Haven spa while the red team had to set up the dining room that is complete with a basketball court and dance floor while the flamboyant emcee Francisco was brought back for a third go-round in Hell's Kitchen, much to Jean-Philippe's annoyance and disdain. Carol and Andrea sniped at each other throughout the punishment. During service, the red team received their second part of the punishment where they have to lift Max during the Hora.

Service: Andrea started off roughly on appetizers when she didn't have enough mushrooms in her risotto, but soon got back on track. The women were then summoned to the dining room for the second part of their punishment, which was carrying Max on a chair during the celebration dance, before returning to the kitchen. Max's entrees were to be served first before any other tables on Ramsay's orders but Coi first forgot to bring the raw burgers into the kitchen, then struggled in cooking them, firstly bringing them up cold due to LA's suggestion before bringing an acceptable serving. Coi's problems on the meat station continued as her first brisket servings were also undersized. In the blue kitchen, Lacey had trouble heating up the briskets, J forgot to present a salad with no dressing, and Ramsay criticized Danny for serving food on dirty plates and telling him to clean up his workstation. In the dining room, Francisco was carrying a cake for Max but dropped it when he bumped into Jean-Philippe, angering the latter. At the end, both teams completed service and Ramsay presented Max with a special surprise: the Harlem Globetrotters. During cleanup, the hostilities between Carol and Andrea continued, as Carol said that she had wanted to punch Andrea in the throat; she insisted she made the remark in jest when Andrea called her out on it during deliberation on the patio. The blue team won for their level of consistency during service.

Elimination: Andrea was chosen as Best of the Worst, much to the disgust and confusion of her team. Ramsay became irritated that Andrea hadn't made her decision so she quickly nominated LA and Coi. As according to plan, they along with Carol, declared Andrea as the worst, though Paula named Coi instead which led to Coi being the next chef eliminated due to her mistakes on the meat station, though she received praise for her attitude.

Ramsay's comment: "When this competition began, I thought Coi was gonna be a really strong chef. But tonight she was exposed when she couldn't even cook a bloody burger."
55 7 "10 Chefs Compete" March 19, 2009 (2009-03-19)

Team change: Before the start of the challenge, Chef Ramsay kept Lacey on the blue team, then transferred Giovanni to the red team.

Team challenge: After tasting six different salmon tapas from one of Ramsay's restaurants, the chefs had 20 minutes to make their own with leftovers from the previous service, with the teams going head-to-head. Paula and Danny go head-to-head with their red meat-based dishes, both of them earning a point for their teams. Lacey and LA, despite having unique dishes, did not sit well with Ramsay resulting in neither of them earning a point for their team. Robert won the point over Carol when she mistaked balsamic vinaigrette for soy sauce. Andrea, meanwhile, managed to even out the score for both teams for her ravioli dish over J's overtly simple dish. In the final round, the results were very close, with both Ben and Giovanni turning out excellent dishes, though Ramsay ultimately chose the latters. After the challenge, Giovanni urged his new teammates to put their differences aside and work together in the name of having a successful service.

Reward/punishment: The red team visited Hollywood Park for a day of watching horse racing with Ramsay. The blue team prepped both kitchens for that night's service, then unloaded and cleaned small tapas plates. During prep, Lacey complained about the amount of work and, feeling disrespected by the men, walked out of the kitchen and threatened to quit, but was eventually talked back inside by Ben.

Service: Carol served overcooked risotto then revealed that J overcooked both teams' rice during the prep, rendering it inedible for the service and forcing Ramsay to take the risotto off the menu for the night. J then sent raw and burned salmon entrees to the pass, and forgot to provide the sauce when he eventually did manage an acceptable serving, forcing Ramsay to pull him aside and issue him a warning behind closed doors. Ben once again struggled on the meat station, and Ramsay threatened Ben with ejection after catching him about to cook beef Wellingtons on a dirty pan, while Lacey had a trouble on garnish. After J overcooked scallops, an angered Ramsay eliminated J on the spot, making him the second contestant to be eliminated during service. In the red kitchen, Andrea and Carol were forced to eat an undercooked pasta appetizer that had been sent back (though neither could agree on whose fault it was), while LA became unresponsive for part of the service and cooked too many John Dory at once, all while taking offense to Ramsay calling her a "silly cow." Nevertheless, both teams completed service, with the red team finishing well in advance thanks to Giovanni's leadership and Paula's strong performance on meat, in particular earning high praise from Ramsay for a Wellington that he deemed the best-ever prepared in Hell's Kitchen. Carol and Andrea continued their feud right after the service, with Paula and Giovanni quickly tiring of the bickering.

Automatic elimination: After J overcooked the entire supply of rice for both teams during prep, struggled with salmon, and overcooked scallops, an angered Ramsay eliminated J on the spot, making him the second contestant to be eliminated during service. At the end of the episode, J still got the usual coat-hanging and picture-burning sequence.

Elimination: Ramsay asked the blue team the one person they do not want on their team any longer. The men picked Lacey who picked Robert due to a heated exchange on the patio between them. Robert went into a lengthy dialogue about her walking out during prep and that he would not accept quitters in his restaurant, then Danny voiced his opinion of Lacey's negative behavior. Ramsay then asked Ben to step forward, singling him out for picking Lacey when he felt he should have instead picked himself, after which Ben admitted that he had been the weakest performer of the night (besides the already-eliminated J) leading Ramsay to question him for not doing it. Despite expressing a desire to have his jacket, Ramsay gave Ben and Lacey one more chance since J's blunders had buried the blue kitchen from the outset of service.

Ramsay's comment: "I kept Ben and Lacey because J put the kitchen in such a hole that they never stood a chance. They're very lucky that I sent J packing."
56 8 "9 Chefs Compete" March 26, 2009 (2009-03-26)

Team challenge: After tricking the chefs with beef and scallop tartares that were actually made with tuna and sea bass, Ramsay issued the team challenge of a blind taste test. LA surprised Ramsay and her teammates by promptly volunteering to sit out in order to even the sides. Ben topped Andrea 3-2, Robert and Giovanni both had zero correct answers, then the red team rebounded with Carol topping Lacey 3-1. Paula and Danny, again going head-to-head in a challenge, were ordered to identify ingredients in Ramsay's minestrone soup recipe. Danny quickly got three ingredients compared to none from Paula, though she rebounded, and with the score tied 7-7, Paula earned the red team a one-point victory.

Reward/punishment: The red team was treated to a TV Guide photoshoot inside the restaurant while the blue team had to prep both kitchens for the night's service in addition to preparing lunch and hors d'oeuvres for the red team. During the shoot, Ben accidentally spilled champagne after a flashbulb had startled him, amusing the red team.

Automatic elimination: Lacey's problems on the meat station continued, not helped by the fact that she continually complained she couldn't cook meat. Lacey was sent to the storage room where Ramsay warned her she was on her final straw. The final straw was sending up poorly cut lamb and she was sent back to the storage room where Ramsay eliminated her, to which she agreed. She was told to say her farewells, though her team was largely unresponsive, feeling relieved Lacey had left.

Service: Actors in attendance include Eric McCormack sitting in the blue dining table and Robert Patrick in the red table. Paula made a rare mistake by bringing a poor risotto to the pass, but redeemed herself with the replacement. Robert, with some help from Ben, energetically pumped out appetizers, during which he ended up splitting his pants. However, the blue team was affected by a hapless Lacey panicking on the meat section, which led to Ramsay pulling her aside to get her head back in the game. When the blue entrees for Eric McCormack's table were stalled altogether afterward and Lacey then produced overly thin lamb chops, Ramsay immediately eliminated her just one week after having eliminated J mid-service for his terrible service. Despite being a member short for the second consecutive time, the blue team rallied and completed service with only three chefs. The red team, on the other hand, struggled throughout on the back of Carol's poor performance on meat, along with Andrea overcooking her John Dory and LA serving cold, lumpy mashed potatoes, with Ramsay describing her as "half-awake". With the blue team having finished their service and the red team nowhere near completing theirs, Ramsay lost his patience and shut the red kitchen down. The blue team won "by a mile", and an impressed Ramsay said he has never seen such tremendous teamwork from a team in the five seasons thus far.

Elimination: Carol and LA were nominated. While everyone (including Carol) agreed that Carol was the worst on dinner service, they conflicted on the second nominee. LA and Carol picked Andrea, but the others decided on LA. Ramsay was upset that they were unable to reach a consensus, and ordered LA, Carol and Andrea to step forward for elimination. Carol and Andrea were told to get back in line. LA was eliminated, as Ramsay felt she had been a decent performer during the course of the season. but had never truly excelled nor shown any leadership qualities. As for Lacey, no official reason (other than calling her "Spacey Lacey" after the service ended) was given for her departure, but at the start of episode 14, hers and LA's pictures were both burned and their jackets hooked simultaneously.

Ramsay's comment: "LA was a real workhorse in the kitchen. I kicked her out of Hell's Kitchen because she lacked two crucial skills to be a great chef – leadership and creativity."
57 9 "7 Chefs Compete" April 2, 2009 (2009-04-02)

Team challenge: The teams create individual dishes, featuring the main ingredient, red king crab; one dish from the team will be presented a specialty crab dish to Chef Ramsay. The blue team chose Ben's dish (much to Danny's disdain) whilst the red team were conflicted between Andrea's and Paula's, eventually choosing the formers. Andrea's dish failed to meet Chef Ramsay's expectations (partially due to her desire to keep the shell on the plate, which Carol had warned about), while Ben's was better received but still failed to meet the mark, with Ramsay being annoyed at Ben's long description of his dish. As a result, Paula and Danny were asked to bring up their dishes, yet again going head to head. Both their dishes were much better received than Ben and Andrea's dishes and as a result, the blue team won in a very close finish.

Reward/punishment: The blue team head to Santa Monica State Beach for a day of fun at the beach with Ramsay where they rode Segways before thy enjoyed a lobster lunch at a seafood restaurant. Robert, again, suffered because of his weight, being forced to ride a bike. The red team cleaned both of the team's dorms and cooked all of the red king crabs.

Service: For this service, the teams were requested to come up with their own menus for the night. Ben insisted on a dish that Danny and Robert had no idea of or interest in, though agreed with it anyway, whilst Carol insisted on potato dauphinoise, which she claimed never went wrong. Disaster struck through both teams during dinner service; from Ben's slaughtered Filet Mignon steaks, to Carol's numerous undercooked potatoes and indecisiveness led to both teams crumbling under pressure. Ben also served overly salty sauce and admitting to should have tasting it and later got involved in an argument with Chef Ramsay over the pomme fondant, as Ben believed that the pomme fondant dish he added to the menu was supposed to be made from boiled potatoes, whereas Ramsay (and Scott) told him that the potatoes were meant to be sautéed in butter. One restaurant guest tried taking matters into her own hands by taking her second unseasoned carpaccio dish up to Chef Ramsay, where she whistled to get his attention, only for Chef Ramsay to insult her back to her seat. Tension between Robert and Ben escalated during entrees and desserts, as Ben saw that Robert couldn't keep up with the speed of the kitchen. After a steak was returned for being undercooked by Carol, he ordered them to shut their kitchens down. Although the red vs blue menu ended in disaster, Chef Ramsay decides on the winner based on the total amount of services for each team. The red team was declared the winning team; while their customer satisfaction rating was a relatively mediocre 54%, this was still much better than the 36% that the blue team managed.

Elimination: Danny was named best of the worst on the blue team as he didn't make any mistakes that night and chose Ben for elimination. Ramsay instead asked Robert and Ben to come forward. However, Ramsay decided to send home the one person who gave up during service and has sabotaged their team. That lead to him eliminating Carol, who had been feeling guilty about her poor performance, from the winning team as she insisted on putting a potato dish on the menu and was responsible for undercooking it multiple times. This marked the first time a chef was eliminated despite being on the winning team.

Ramsay's comment: "Carol knew she was out of her depth in Hell's Kitchen. I just put her out of her misery."
58 10 "6 Chefs Compete" April 9, 2009 (2009-04-09)

Ramsay told Danny and Paula to choose who they thought was the weakest on their team and they chose Andrea and Ben. Andrea and Ben were called and told to remove their jackets, thinking they were facing elimination, when in fact they were told that everyone would be competing as a single team.

Team challenge: In the first individual challenge, each chef cooked a dish using 14 specific ingredients, including chicken, pasta, and wine. While Chef Ramsay considered all dishes to be delicious, he singled out Ben and Danny's dishes, with Ben's being the best. Ben then was told to pick a friend to enjoy the reward - he chose Robert, irking Danny, who had had the second best dish.

Reward/punishment: Ben took a trip with Ramsay and Robert to San Francisco where they dined at the exclusive chef's table at the One Market restaurant. The others spent the day taking deliveries. Giovanni ended up being fed up with the punishment, after breaking boxes of bottled water, and having to chase a seafood truck for being short two lobster, later to find out that the order was correct after all. He also got into an argument with Paula, who was trying to calm him down.

Service: There were several mishaps occurring that night (especially with Giovanni and Andrea) Giovanni was accused of purposely cooking Ben's winning chicken dish poorly. Giovanni talked back to chef Ramsay when Ramsay called him "dickface" along with numerous other insults. Later, Giovanni placed a hot pan in the refrigerator, to cool it down, only to cause Robert to burn his hand picking it up. Robert left service for a great deal of time suffering from a second-degree burn. Andrea was also thrown out of Hell's Kitchen for constantly not knowing what the orders are, but was brought back in after some encouragement from Jean-Philippe. Robert overcooked scallops and cooked bacon and John Dory in the same pan, causing Ramsay to become aggravated in case of allergies. Ramsay put Ben on the meat station with Giovanni but that didn't make the situation any better as Ramsay caught Ben slicing the chicken and putting it back in the oven for being undercooked. Service ended prematurely after Ramsay walked out of the kitchen.

Elimination: Paula was the strongest player of the night for her appetizers, and got the right to choose two players for elimination which was Giovanni and Andrea. Ramsay ultimately chose Giovanni to leave Hell's Kitchen. While Andrea had arguably been the worse performer on the night, including not being able to recite one of the orders correctly, Ramsay felt that Giovanni's major verbal confrontation between the two of them during the service was unforgivable. Giovanni's coat peg and burning photo closing was featured in the recap at the beginning of episode 14.

Shutdown: At 2:14 AM, Ramsay called the remaining chefs to the kitchen, announcing that due to that night's service and his dissatisfaction with the final five, Hell's Kitchen is shutting down.
59 11 "5 Chefs Compete" April 16, 2009 (2009-04-16)

Continued from the previous episode, Ramsay told the final five that did not permanently shut down Hell's Kitchen. Instead, the contestants were flown to the Borgata Hotel and Casino for a multi-day trip to see their potential future place of employment. After touring the hotel, they sat down for dinner with the Borgata Hotel's vice president of cuisine. Robert left the table after a few minutes, complaining of chest pains; he was taken to the hospital for observation and tests.

Withdrawal: After a few days of waiting, Robert returned to Hell's Kitchen. He reported that he has pericarditis and announced his departure from Hell's Kitchen because of his condition. Robert was asked to say his goodbyes to the final four, who were emotional at his departure, before Chef Ramsay remarked that Robert had the possibility to win. "I just want to tell you, that you have been a fantastic competitor. You've had the potential to win this competition. Do not ever, ever forget that." Unlike Ji in Episode 2, Robert had to give back his jacket to Chef Ramsay but did get his picture burned at the end of the episode.[b]

Challenge: After visiting Borgata each of the final four presented the signature dish that he or she would serve in their restaurant, should he or she win Hell's Kitchen. Danny's dish received a lukewarm response, being praised for flavor but criticized for appearance. Andrea's tuna dish was praised overall as was Paula's, despite fears of overcooking. Ben's dish, meanwhile, was praised for presentation, but criticized for having the tails left on the prawns. He told him he was definitely not safe before commending Danny, Andrea, and Paula, but proclaimed Andrea the winner.

Reward/punishment: Andrea received one-time immunity from the next elimination. Additionally, unless there was a specific best of the best or best of the worst after the next service, she would get to decide on the nominees for elimination. No punishment was given. Ben, Danny, and Paula, however, were upset that Andrea, who presented a dish with virtually no cooking and who they constantly believe is outperformed, would last longer than one of them.

Service: Before service, Ramsay reminded Andrea of her immunity, instructing her to use it to perform well. Despite this, Andrea continually struggled on the fish station, over and undercooking various dishes and refusing to cook on full heat. Ben, likewise, struggled, forgetting several orders before sending up a cold order. He was sent out temporarily before returning, bouncing back. Paula put in a very strong performance on the meat station, only being criticized for not sending an order up when Andrea delayed her. When Andrea still was unable to produce on fish resulting in an order being sent back, Danny was asked to jump in to help her, much to his chagrin. Ramsay asked the team to come up with two nominees between Ben, Danny, and Paula.

Elimination: The team agreed that Andrea would be nominated if she was not safe, though ultimately, Ben and Paula were nominated. However, after hearing from Paula briefly, Ramsay immediately sent her back in line and called Andrea to step forward. Ramsay decided not to eliminate somebody tonight with him confirming Andrea's immunity as a man of his word and kept Ben since she had performed so poorly that he never had a chance. He also noted that had Andrea not won and immunity, she would have been eliminated. Robert's photo was burned at the end of the episode, although his jacket was not placed on the hook.
60 12 "4 Chefs Compete" April 23, 2009 (2009-04-23)

Challenge: To recreate one of Ramsay's signature dishes based on taste alone. Danny was declared the winner with Paula as a close second.

Rward/punishment: Danny went along with Ramsay to go fly in separate biplanes. Paula, Ben, and Andrea polished all the crystal and shampooed all the carpets in addition to preparing for that night's service.

Service: To motivate the chefs before service, Ramsay gave each chef a set of his brand of stainless steel cookware in the dorms. Service was smooth for the most part, but Ben had trouble recognizing that Ramsay wanted a "plain" salad, and kept putting croutons in. Danny lagged on the garnish station early into entrees. One customer pulled Jean-Phillipe aside and requested a favor to him that he wanted to propose to his girlfriend. He gave the ring to Jean-Phillipe, who then gave the ring to Chef Ramsay. The wedding ring was placed on a dessert with the words "Will you marry me?" written on the plate. A dome was placed over the dessert, and as soon as the dessert was delivered, the man proposed to his girlfriend. The girl accepted, the restaurant broke out in applause and Ramsay presented the girl with a rose and congratulated the new couple personally. Service ran smoothly right until the end when Andrea ran out of wellingtons because she miscounted them. This required Danny and Paula to find more wellingtons in the store room and preparing them from scratch, taking an additional 15 minutes. This left Ramsay extremely disappointed at the final part of service, as it had been their strongest so far. He told the chefs to come up with one nominee for elimination.

Elimination: When coming up with a nominee, Danny and Ben expressed their frustrations towards Andrea leading Paula to step in and defend her, nominating Ben for his continual struggles. Ramsay tells Ben to leave Hell's Kitchen. Before he left, Ramsay gave him some encouraging words and told him that his energy, attitude and hard work in Hell's Kitchen was outstanding, and also told him to keep all of those good qualities. Though no official reason was given for Ben's departure, he also got his full elimination sequence during the recap episode.
61 13 "3 Chefs Compete" April 30, 2009 (2009-04-30)

Previously, Chef Ramsay announced that he would give a surprise to the remaining three contestants. This surprise was a visit from their parents, family members, and significant others.

Challenge: Each chef had 90 minutes to create dishes for each of the 100 diners—all of them Los Angeles' best chefs. Each of the diners would also determine which dish was the best and which was the worst. 76% of the chefs polled determined Danny's to be the worst, while 76% thought Paula's sturgeon dish was the best. Andrea was surprised at how beaten down Danny felt after the challenge.

Reward/punishment: Paula gets a special makeover. The following morning, she and Ramsay appear live on KTTV's Good Day L.A.. Andrea and Danny stay behind to thoroughly clean the dining area and do the laundry—as well as watch the Good Day L.A. segment, in which they were surprised by Paula's appearance.

Service: For this service, as with previous seasons, each chef takes turns at the pass, while Scott and Gloria purposely add errors to the dishes for them to spot. Paula struggled initially, fumbling an order before plating a dish with a mistake, though rebounded, spotting the second mistake. Danny had a particularly poor start in his performance at the pass; his voice broke when calling an order and he struggled to spot the first mistake. Andrea was rather strong during her time at the pass, including spotting various deficiencies and errors left, though soon aggravated her team with her continual shouts and nit-picking, returning a number of dishes to sous chef Scott, who became extremely annoyed with her (even expressing a desire at one point to "punch her in the face"). Overall, there were no serious errors or returns, and the service was very successful. Chef Ramsay asked what was different about himself later that night, and after a couple of panicky responses, Ramsay pointed out that he was smiling for the first time that season. Not counting, of course, his involvement in the rewards following the challenges.

Elimination: Each contestant chose who should leave Hell's Kitchen. Danny and Paula chose Andrea. Andrea chose Danny. Paula was happy that she had not been selected by her teammates for elimination but also remarked that she therefore would have the deciding vote. Ramsay told Andrea to leave Hell's Kitchen, leaving Paula and Danny to advance to the final service. As with Lacey, Giovanni, and Ben, Ramsay gave no reason for eliminating Andrea and praised her tenacity and skill as a chef calling her a "determined fighter" and told her that she would do well in her career. Andrea's coat hook and burning picture can be seen in the recap episode even though she did not receive her full elimination sequence after being eliminated in episode 13.
62 14 "2 Chefs Compete" May 7, 2009 (2009-05-07)

Remodeling: As with previous seasons, Hell's Kitchen was split into two restaurants, with each contestant running their side and deciding the menu and decor. While Danny and Paula prepare to leave Hell's Kitchen, their relatives oversaw construction—Danny's father and girlfriend for his restaurant; Paula's mother and sister for hers. Danny's restaurant was named "Velvet Hammer" as his own nickname and featured a seafood menu and decor, which many of the returning chefs deemed tacky. One of Danny's ideas, mounted fish, wasn't well received by designer John Janavs and he feared the restaurant would be more like 'Bob's Bait Shop.' Paula's restaurant was called "Sunergy", whose decor includes many shades of dark orange and yellow with candles on the wall. Despite her insisting on using real candles, the fire marshal said real candles that close to the wall would be a violation of safety code so "electric" candles were used instead.

Challenge: Danny and Paula were flown back to the Borgata in Atlantic City, where they had 45 minutes to cook three dishes from the menus that they have created, with Borgata executives choosing the best dishes. All of this was done within view of the Borgata's 500 employees, who will work under the winner. Danny won the challenge 2-1.

Reward: Upon returning to Los Angeles, Danny had the first selection of the six returning contestants, who were to be chefs under their command in their restaurants. Ramsay surprised the final two chefs on "key ingredients" at the table with domes on the top. When the domes are opened, the last six contestants to be eliminated arrived at the kitchen.[c] Danny chose Ben, Giovanni, and Carol. Paula chose Andrea, LA, and was left with Lacey.
63 15 "2 Chefs Compete: Part 2" May 14, 2009 (2009-05-14)

Preparation: Following on from the previous episode, each of the cooks working under Danny or Paula were briefed on what they would be doing for their particular restaurant. Only Ben was particularly rooting for Danny to win on his team; Giovanni was annoyed at being invited back, stating he "did not care" who won, whilst Carol was secretly rooting for Paula. The finishing touches were given on the restaurants' decors and Chef Ramsay tasted each restaurant's sample dishes, giving advice on what to do to make them better. Paula became increasingly annoyed with Lacey on desserts, who twice curdled her creme brulees (including one serving to Chef Ramsay) and continually needing Paula's assistance.

Service: Each restaurant served 50 diners, including Danny and Paula's relatives. All customers gave scores on the various aspects of their dining experience, and these were combined with Chef Ramsay's observations in determining the winner. Both Paula and Danny had nervous starts, and each team had significant weak spots. Andrea overcooked the halibut and scallops on Paula's side (which Chef Ramsay had warned her about), while Lacey constantly struggled and complained, even earning Chef Ramsay's ire. Paula herself was criticized for jumping in to help her team as opposed to spending time on the pass, though things picked up when she switched the chef's stations. On Danny's side, Giovanni prepared the sauce for monk fish which was too salty and Ben was slow on garnish. Both Danny and Paula were able to rally their teams together to complete service. Although Danny finished service first, Paula did not care, as she was more concerned about the quality of the food rather than the speed at which it was served.

Winner: Immediately after the service, Ramsay announced to the cooks that "The winner of Hell's Kitchen... lives in Florida", teasing Danny and Paula, as both came from Florida. Because he felt both services were completed with excellence and stated it was the best services they ever had in any final, he decided to utilize the customer comment cards to come to a decision. After everyone was dismissed, Ramsay summoned Danny and Paula to his office, where he praised both for their hard work, and said that they both will have a wonderful career ahead of them. Chef Ramsay showed Danny and Paula the doors; the one that opened determined the winner. Danny's door opened, signifying him to be the winner of the fifth season of Hell's Kitchen.[a] Paula took her defeat graciously, and was happy that Danny won in honor of his deceased mother. Danny was shown tearing up the confessional room as his mother couldn't be with him to see him win. In addition to the money and the position, Ramsay asked Danny if he knew the previous four winners who all showed up that night and his picture was mounted on the wall as part of the show's new feature, the "Hell's Kitchen Wall of Fame", which included pictures of past winners.

Ramsay's comment: "Danny won Hell's Kitchen because in a very short period of time, he grew more than any other chef I've ever seen. He now has the talent, the maturity, to become a great head chef. Borgata Resort should consider themselves lucky. I know I would."


  1. ^ a b At age 23, Danny is to date the youngest winner of Hell's Kitchen.
  2. ^ Robert would return as a contestant in the following season. He was eliminated in the 7th episode after being nominated by Dave, though he participated on his team in the final service.
  3. ^ Robert did not return because of his illness; Lacey, as the last person to be eliminated prior to the final eight contestants, took his place.


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