The winner of Hell’s Kitchen was announced Monday night, and a good number of fans are a bit surprised. Heading into the September 19, 2011 finale on Fox (Channel 10 in Scottsdale), it was down to the final four chefs. Two would advance to the final challenge, and one would be named this season’s winner. Who took home the title of champion?
First the final four had to re-create a dish that they sampled in just 35 minutes. The dish was cod wrapped in prosciutto with kale, cream and mushrooms. Will and Elise chose the wrong fish, while Tommy used serrano ham by mistake. Paul won and got to spend time with his brother at a Dodgers game as a reward.
The final four faced the leadership test for dinner service, and this is where Chef Ramsay really gets serious about who will stay. Paul started out strong, but missed a mistake Tommy made. He also lost it a bit over some of Tommy’s issues, and even Elise thought his yelling was a bit much. Tommy simply isn’t a great leader, and it showed in this episode. He missed the sabotage, which was a dish being added to a ticket that wasn’t on their menu for the evening.
Elise missed one QC test, but caught another tricky one with parsnip puree being snuck in for the potato mash. She did well with letting everyone know what she wanted, but she had some friction with Tommy. Will was expected by most to do well at this task, but it seemed the team was really working against him in the kitchen – to the point that even Chef Ramsay noticed.
Chef Ramsay didn’t want to hear a thing from Tommy before eliminations, and had him take off his jacket. Next Elise was cut, and of course she was devastated. Will and Paul are now the final two contestants this season on Hell’s Kitchen. Their next challenge is to create five dishes within an hour that could take a spot on the BLT Steak menu. A panel of judges tasted each dish, and the contestants had to provide seafood, salad, fish, bone-in ribeye and filet of beef courses. It was a tie of 2-2 going into the last dish, and Will pulled out the win.
For winning the menu challenge, Will got to choose his team first from the returning Hell’s Kitchen contestants. Will took Jennifer, Natalie and Tommy, then took Krupa to ensure Paul would have Carrie and Elise together. Paul also had Jonathan and Elizabeth for his team. The final dinner service had ups and downs for each of the final two chefs. Will started out strong, struggled in the middle, but finished strong again. Paul started off shaky, but came through and pulled things together.
The Hell’s Kitchen winner this season earns the chef-de-cuisine post at New York City’s BLT Steak, and a salary of $250,000. You can see the winning moment in the video on the left-hand side of the page, where Paul Niedermann is named this season’s champion. Paul was overcome with shock and emotion, with a few spicy words needing to be bleeped out by Fox. He raced into the crowd to hug his brother, and the crowd went wild.
Did you expect Paul Niedermann to win this season of Hell’s Kitchen? Did you think the right two made it to the Final 2? Will had seemed a frontrunner, were you shocked he didn’t take home the title?
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