Recap: 'Hell's Kitchen' finale solid as a Rock
By April MacIntyre Aug 14, 2007, 5:51 GMT
Gordon Ramsay - - London, England © Photorazzi
Hands down and easily the best reality show on American television, “Hell’s Kitchen” ended tonight with Rock Harper, the executive chef from Spotsylvania, Virginia, who had his prayers answered, becoming the new head chef of the Green Valley Resort and Spa in Las Vegas.
How he and his last rival Bonnie Muirhead got to the end result was fraught with incompetence, bitterness, lack of planning and sweat and tears until chef Ramsay revealed their fate in front of frosted glass doors, one of which was unlocked for the winner to move forward.
Bonnie’s girl team was assembled, but Julia is still teary, and her b-roll interviews show her allegiance and heart is with Rock. This does not bode well.
The battle of the sexes begins, and the women are lower key energetically and less in prep and plan mode than the guys. Melissa still has an air about her that is disingenuous and quite untrustworthy.
Rock is getting his team ready to batten down the hatches with real strategy and prep planning.
Right up until the doors open for dinner service, the architect and the construction guys are working on the divided halves of the restaurant, hinks and cosmetic boo boos being fussed over last minute.
Chef tours first with Bonnie, and he likes what he sees, a lack of intimidation, “nice, clean and elegant” and “vibrant” are two of his descriptions.
He samples her menu items, notes the overcooked prawns courtesy of Melissa, and the dessert is too small, and needs to be pumped up a bit.
Rock’s side of the dining room is described as “rich, sumptuous, elegant and smart” and his menu is labeled “robust” as chef Ramsay samples his array of crispy crab cakes atop fried chicken, a rib eye, and a vanilla bean milkshake with cookies. His risotto base for one of the dishes has too much garlic, the milkshake is deemed a bit too awkward for fine dining service.
Last words of advice to the aspiring winners from Ramsay is “You run it or it runs you” regarding the staff in the kitchen. Rock in his cut away b-roll is genuinely moved at the final phase of the competition, “I feel it, appreciation is all I can express,” pounding his heart in complete sincerity.
Brad is totally behind his chef Rock, saying when Rock wins, they all win.
First orders roll in, Rock calls it out, and they are off to the races.
Bonnie’s team starts off well, high energy and quick replies, until the prawns are consistently cooked wrong, and then we see Julia’s true colors emerge, her bitterness at not being in Bonnie’s shoes is too much, she begins to buck and back talk Bonnie at the worst possible times.
Josh is turning into Rock’s Albatross; he cannot cook to save his life.
Bonnie has to sit on Melissa to cook the shrimp right.
Now the wheels come off Bonnie’s cart as communication ceases to be fluid. Her team, particularly Julia, is not responding to her. Julia’s attitude really stinks from this point on, and it isn’t fair.
Rock has his own headaches with incompetent Josh, who keeps burning crab cakes, over and over.
Bonnie has some issues with Jen's communication and energy, and begins to ignore passive aggressive Julia. Ramsay catches all of it and directs Bonnie to take control again and to communicate. The team is getting out their food none the less.
Bonnie’s lack of preparation catches her in the crosshairs and she runs out of fettuccine, her signature dish. Between Josh’s incompetence, Bonnie’s lack of adequate prep and Julia’s undermining bad attitude, it seems as if the dinner service can go south at this point.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, after a quick huddle with Chef Ramsay, Rock has to yank Josh of fish station and on to the reheat area, safest place for a crap cook. Vinnie jumps in and gives 110 percent as the guys finish their dinner service.
Bonnie's kitchen is communicating again, but now due to a lack of Bonnie’s prep and Melissa’s hack cooking they run out of prawns entirely. What is worse, her dishes that have gone out are coming back. Bonnie can't get her team to respond again and Julia has a total shite attitude at this point, defiant and lackadaisical.
The desserts come and go, as do the patrons, and all that are left are the tired contestants with their team leaders Rock and Bonnie in front of chef Ramsay for a quick post-mortem on the night’s dinner service.
After praise and props from chef, Bonnie and Rock are asked what they would have done differently. Rock immediately says he wishes he had won the challenge last week so he could have chosen Jen instead of Josh; Bonnie rues her lack of preparedness and portion control.
In the most insincere makeup moment I have ever seen on the show, Julia and Bonnie hug and Julia pats her back saying “I don’t hate you.”
I was rooting for Julia throughout most of the competition but after her lack of professionalism, sportsmanship and character this episode and last, I can honestly say she did not deserve to win whatsoever.
Rock once again has his John Braddock ‘Cinderella Man” moment as he is winning not just for him but his family’s future. His family greets him with hugs and proffered prayer of hope.
Rock and Bonnie are sent back to the dorm to relax while Ramsay reads the diners comment cards and makes his decision. Rock tells Bonnie that he thinks she won.
Endless commercials and then they walk to the room where the two have a door for each to open, “I can see why you’re called Rock, because you’re rock-solid,” Chef tells Rock. Bonnie’s performance is the biggest surprise of the series says Chef.
More commercials, then they stand before their respective doors where after the count of three, Rock walks in to his future.
No dry eyes here, as Rock tearfully thanks God, Chef and everyone for his win. Bonnie is genuinely happy to see him win too, and champagne flows for everyone.
Throughout the series, Rock went from egomaniacal blowhard to an earnest contender, his annoying habit of talking about himself in the third person evaporated, and his true character and heart emerged as he realized he could win this thing. He shaped up admirably and everyone seemed quite happy he was the winner. Bravo.
See you in the fall for Chef Ramsay’s “Kitchen Nightmares” donkeys!