10 Thoughts on Hell's Kitchen — Episode 6-13, Part II

This is it, the hour you’ve all been waiting for! Well, the 45 or so minutes you’ve been waiting for, as we get a huge montage of everything we’ve seen so far this season. Hey, remember when Louie got kicked out during the dinner service for being not-Robert? And who can forget the time Joseph wanted to fight Chef Ramsay in the parking lot? Lots of teammates yelled at each other! Robert went [back] to the hospital! It was the most [adjective] season of Hell’s Kitchen EVER. Ah, memories.

1) Chef Ramsay explains that for the next service, each chef will design their own menu, fifty plates each. For some reason he doesn’t mention that the chefs will be designing their own restaurants for their half of the Hell’s Kitchen set. Scheming Kevin and Stoner Dave walk out to the waiting limo and are whisked off to downtown LA, to a hotel roof deck. Chef Ramsay leads them to the edge of the roof, and a huge crowd of people are on the ground cheering. There is no rest for our heroes, as they have 45 minutes to make a dish worthy of the Araxi restaurant. Regular watchers of Hell’s Kitchen know that this is being done so that the winner can have first pick of the returning contestants brought back to help in the final challenge. It also guarantees that the one incompetent returning contestant that no one likes will go to the loser of this challenge. Place your bets on who that’ll be.

2) Scheming Kevin’s making a lobster with corn pudding. Stoner Dave’s got a venison rack with parsnip puree. They plate up, and it’s time for judging. Five judges will taste and vote.

First: Alain Gayot, of Gayot Guide books. He gives one vote for Stoner Dave.
Second: Jamie Maw, former food editor from Canada. Two votes for Stoner Dave.
Third: Tanya Steel, editor of Epicurious. One vote for Scheming Kevin. We’re only one vote away from a tie!
Fourth: Warren Geraghty, chef of West in Vancouver. And that’s two votes for Scheming Kevin. Yayyyyy, a tie!!!
Fifth: Colman Andrews from the now-defunct Gourmet magazine. Three votes for Stoner Dave! He wins!

3) The next day, Scheming Kevin and Stoner Dave need to design their menus. Stoner Dave wants simple cooking across the board, while Kevin seems to be going the super-fine dining route. With the menus done, they head to the kitchen. Chef Ramsay lets them know that they need to go outside and take delivery of the “special ingredients” he’s brought in, which means we’ll be seeing who’s being brought back from elimination to help out each chef. Scheming Kevin gives an unintentionally hilarious soundbyte when he tells Stoner Dave not to sign the driver’s invoice until they see if everything is good. They throw open the door and we’ve got Suzanne, Robert, Ariel, Tactful Van, Sabrina, and Amanda. Inside, the teams are picked kickball-style, with Stoner Dave picking first due to him winning the final reward challenge.

Stoner Dave’s team (Blue jackets): Ariel, Robert, Suzanne
Scheming Kevin’s team (Red jackets): Tactful Van, Amanda, Sabrina

4) Time to prep and explain the menus. The Blue team picks up the menu quickly, but Robert feels that Scheming Kevin’s dishes look better. Chef Ramsay thinks Scheming Kevin’s dishes might be too complicated to pull off well, but also calls Stoner Dave’s menu pedestrian, so he doesn’t really seem to have a favorite. Wow, the chefs don’t get to design their section of Hell’s Kitchen? Previously seasons must have gone over budget. That or, like me, people really don’t care what these people want to make their restaurants look like. Leave that to a challenge on Design Star. Since there’s no drama over napkins being a wrong color, and as we’ve got less than forty minutes to go, it’s time to open Hell’s Kitchen!

5) Scheming Kevin and Stoner Dave are called to the pass, and given head chef jackets. It’s time for them to run the kitchen. Among tonight’s diners are head chefs and other VIPs sprinkled about, including the current head of the Araxi, who we are told will be the winner’s employer. In the red kitchen, Amanda is faltering on the first order of scallops. She refires, and right away we’re back to the beginning of the season. In the blue kitchen, Robert’s doing well on appetizers, and they are going out. Amanda is either undercooking or overcooking the scallops, and Scheming Kevin’s starting to freak out. The Announcer Man lets us know that we’re forty minutes into dinner and no Red kitchen appetizers have gone out. Scheming Kevin puts Tactful Van on the fish, and appetizers start to go out.

6) In the Blue kitchen, they’re almost done with appetizers. A shortage of mushrooms leads to Stoner Dave telling Robert to use them sparingly so they can stretch them and not run out. Chef Ramsay notices how much fewer mushrooms are in the orders of risotto and wants answers from Stoner Dave. Stoner Dave calls out Robert for not using enough. Robert, in turn, interviews that since he feels slighted and backstabbed, it’s time to mess with Stoner Dave. Awesome. Just once, ONCE, I’d like to see the returning contestants in the final round of any reality show be the best of the eliminated people, instead of idiots thrown in just to stir up drama. But I know I’m in the minority there. Food is still leaving the Blue kitchen, so all is not lost.

7) On the Red side, Scheming Kevin is leaning on Tactful Van for pretty much everything. And that’s all we see of that, because we go back to the Blue kitchen. An order of venison is too well done. It’s redone, and it’s fine now. Entrees are going out on both sides. It’s the Red kitchen that gets the ticket for the Araxi chef, and Scheming Kevin lets the team know it. He calls for beef medium well, then medium rare, then medium well. When he gets it, he flips and says it needed to be medium rare. Oh, right; of course. The segment is edited to make Amanda out to be the idiot, but Scheming Kevin’s not doing anything to help her along.

8) Scheming Kevin calms down enough to lead his team through the rough spot, and he’s got six tables left. But Stoner Dave has four left! With that announcement, almost as if on cue, the Blue kitchen starts to slip. A salmon comes back undercooked, and the meat is coming to the pass wrong. This all leads to a second TIE as both kitchens now have four tables to go, then they each have one table to go. And that’s it! The blue kitchen is done! Then the Red kitchen is done! Scheming Kevin and Stoner Dave thank their sous chefs, and we’re cleared down.

9) In the dorms, Stoner Dave is doubting himself. The winner will be determined by comment cards and Chef Ramsay’s observations in the kitchen. The phone rings, and the chefs are called to the Office. Inside the Office are two doors. Only one door will open, and that person will step through the door the winner of Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Ramsay claims that this season’s voting was the closest yet. Of course it was.

10) Scheming Kevin and Stoner Dave grab the handles…turn…and it’s Stoner Dave!! He comes downstairs to the crowd. He tearfully interviews how happy he is, and Chef Ramsay interviews that not only is Stoner Dave a good chef, but also worked through so much pain. Hey, there’s former winner Rock! Confetti! It’s time for champagne, celebrating, and…outtakes during the credits?

Ladies and gentlemen, your winner of season six of Hell’s Kitchen is Stoner Dave! Congrats, Stoner Dave. May your wrist finally get a chance to heal.

My thought: I’m happy with this outcome. Early on, I just figured Dave was risking serious damage for a contest he wouldn’t likely win. As the weeks went on, he proved himself much more competent and capable that I originally thought. He did his job, never really got into it with anyone, and seems like a genuinely good dude. And with that, we close the book on another season of Hell’s Kitchen. Casting for next season is currently ongoing, so here’s hoping we’re back in the kitchens this Spring. See you then!

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