The curent season of Hell’s Kitchen ended last night, but not in the way I expected it to. After enduring many weeks of seriously delusional boasting (“I’m the best cook here.”) from everyone but Jay and Holli, it was no surprise that they would be the two finalists. I figured Jay had it in the bag: he had experience, confidence, and was a good cook. I had even eaten his food on more than one occasion at Gargoyle’s on the Square in my town. He had a decent final dinner service, managing to keep his two least talented cooks from melting down, which is usually the downfall of the losing finalist. Holli, by comparison, barely held her crew together.
So how did Holli wind up the winner? According to Gordaon Ramsay, she was the contestant that grew thew most, “and once she emerged, there was no holding her back.” I think he chose her because he’d have more success molding her into the chef he wanted in his restaurant empire than he would with Jay, who had already developed his own style.
So, a begrudging congratulations to Holli Ugalde, soon to be the new chef at Ramsay’s remodeled Savoy Grill in London. I hope she doesn’t get eaten alive. In the meantime, I’ll take comfort in knowing there’s still a killer chef in Davis Square.
Kurt, who enjoys fueling my rage about this isue, sent me the following update on all former HK contestants:
Not to mention that they’ll just quietly bury her if she doesn’t work out.
Accepted an offer to work with Ramsay in London, but returned to US after a few days
Former senior chef of Terra Rossa at the Red Rock Resort Spa and Casino (contract has since expired); currently the executive chef at the Monterey Restaurant in Long Beach, NY
Rahman “Rock” Harper
Head chef of Green Valley Ranch’s Terra Verde; served as the executive chef at Ben’s Next Door in Washington D.C. in early 2009
Senior sous chef under Gordon Ramsay at the London in West Hollywood
Chef working under head chef Stephen Kalt at the Italian restaurant Fornelletto in the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey
Chef at the Araxi Restaurant, under Executive Chef James Walt, in Whistler, BC. Later departed due to other commitments.