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If You Can't Stand the Heat: The "Hell's Kitchen" Season Finale

Yawn. I have to admit I didn't really care which one of them won in the end.

Isn't that a rather scary thing to say about a reality series? But it's true. This season especially, Hell's Kitchen has proven itself the television equivalent of boxed macaroni and cheese, bludgeoning its viewers with endless repetitions of things we've just seen not three minutes before and striving to create false drama where there is precious little. Sure, I've stayed with the series this season but it wasn't easy and, as has already been discussed endlessly, Hell's Kitchen pales in comparison to the far superior (not to mention just better produced) Top Chef on Bravo.

But enough about that. Last night's season finale presented Rock and Bonnie with the opportunity to impress Gordon Ramsay with their mastery of cooking (though they did precious little of it) and with their leadership abilities at the hot plate, expediting orders and overseeing the kitchens of their newly redesigned "restaurants." But this being Hell's Kitchen, they also had to contend with teams comprised of ousted contestants, most of whom I wouldn't allow to even heat up the aforementioned mac n' cheese for me. Seriously, some of their crew (ahem, Josh) shouldn't even be considered chefs in the first place.

Josh. I was blown away once again by his sheer lack of cooking savvy. He claims to be a chef, claims that he's not a moron who can't cook crab cakes to order, and claims that he really can cook. Well, why didn't you prove that over the course of the season? You couldn't properly cook a single dish the entire competition! And once again he decided to cook more than what was needed each time. Remember the risotto incident in which he had 8 pans of risotto going, even though there were only three orders in? He did it again with crab cakes. I want to stay far, far away from any restaurant that this guy works in, please.

Julia. I really liked Julia and admired her pluck, determination, and courage. But my entire opinion of her changed last night and not for the better. Ramsay offered to pay for her to attend culinary school on his own dime and yet here she was, bitter and predisposed to give up halfway through service because she felt she should have been in the final two. Honey, there was no way you were making it to the final two, so stop your sobbing. Man up, do the job you're there to do, and remember that cameras are filming you acting like a brat.

Bonnie. I thought she did a pretty good job but not preparing enough pasta or prawns during prep was a major, major error, though I am sure that Melissa ended up throwing out several portions of both (she kept overcooking the prawns), so I am sure that didn't help matters. Still, Bonnie proved that she could run a kitchen (for the most part, anyway) and took charge of her uncommunicative team. Her dishes were polished and elegant and totally suited to her restaurant vision. Could I see her running a huge kitchen in Las Vegas? Not really, but I could see her owning and operating a tiny little jewel-box of a place in Santa Monica, where she could control her own destiny.

Rock. I really thought that he was undermined by his team at every turn. His menu was self-assured, robust, and put a modern spin on traditional bistro fare. I think had Jen been on his team rather than Josh he would have won by a landslide, but being forced to take last pick Josh definitely put a crimp in his plans. Still, I thought he rallied his troops effectively and recovered from the early lag by pushing Josh off of appetizers (why was he ever on there?) and reigning in his sagging team. He definitely has the presence and command to one day be a chef who, in Bonnie's famous words, is a "force to be reckoned with."

So I can't say I was all that surprised the Rock won this thing. After all, it only seemed obvious from weeks ago that this competition was being set up as a final showdown between the nanny and the executive chef. But kudos to Bonnie for being a good sport about the whole thing and expressing her happiness for Rock's win.

Were you happy with how things turned out? And which of this season's "chefs" terrified you most of all?


Anonymous said…
Josh terrified me more than any other contestant on any season of any cooking competition. I am constantly amazed that this guy is paid to cook for a living but can't seem to properly cook even simple things. I was glad that Rock won. He deserved it and will value the experience.
Anonymous said…
I feel the same way as you, Jace. I didn't really care who won in the end.
I think this show really went downhill this year, and I don't think I'll be watching next year (if they decide to renew this predictable, boring farce for another season).
The only reason I still watch this is because of Ramsay but I enjoy his other shows "Kitchen Nightmares" and "The F Word" much better. I don't know if I can even handle another season of Hell's Kitchen. Your description of it is spot on. Definitely Mac N' Cheese. Heavy on the cheese.

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