Hell’s Kitchen is one of my favorite shows to watch. I’m more loyal to this show than I am to Survivor and Big Brother; which some people will respond “wtf how”?
Well; idk. I just really love Hell’s Kitchen. I don’t remember any of their 17 seasons being absolutely abysmal. Big Brother and Survivor could never.
Every season, the best 5 or 6 chefs get “Black Jackets”; which is basically the next step up from being in teams of Red vs Blue. Black Jackets is where individuals shine and play for themselves and not the teams. It’s also a mark of a fantastic chef.
There are 17 chefs; one from each season, who just barely missed the Black Jacket phase, by getting eliminated immediately before they were handed out. In this post, I am going to rank each chef that barely missed out on the Black Jacket club. I will not be ranking Jennifer from All-Stars, as she technically received a black jacket in Season 9.
BEFORE complaining my ass off about these contestants, I would just like to state that I understand that these chefs are under an enormous amount of pressure during their time in Hell’s Kitchen, enough to cause any given person to crumble and make stupid mistakes; but i’m just calling it as I see it.
#16: Andrew (Season 1)- 6th Place, Out Episode 6
Hell’s Kitchen Season 1 featured a bunch of people who didn’t know what the heck they were doing, Michael, and Ralph. People don’t really know that the first few seasons of Hell’s Kitchen had a very inexperienced cast compared to the chefs featured in Season 5-onward. The main thing I remember about Andrew from Season 1 is that he had managed to survive the chopping block twice, and that he had a very big mouth. He was pretty disrespectful to chef Ramsay, and seemed to have his head up his ass at all times. I don’t remember any point where he “stood out” as a competitor or really showed any talent, which is unusual considering the people who will be on this list are pretty good chefs. Put him on a recent season and he’s one of the first to go. No question.
#15: Maribel (Season 2)- 6th Place, Out Episode 6
Season 2 was still very much like Season 1… except a lot more sexism and terrible personalities. Maribel did not have a terrible personality… or well… any personality. I don’t remember a thing from her. All I remember is that she had a hair in her food and claimed it wasn’t hers. She’s not memorable like Andrew from Season 1 is, so idk. This seems like a good spot for her.
#14: Gabriel (Season 12)- 7th Place, Out Episode 16
Ohhhh man… Gabriel sucked. He realllllllllly sucked. I have no idea how he managed to make it all the way to Top 7 out of 20 people. There was not a single service in which he didn’t screw up. He was put up for elimination numerous times, one point selling one of his competitors out by lying about his team nominating him (which I get it, it’s a competition, but it was a bitch move. I don’t care.)
If Gabriel sucks so bad, then why is he not #16? Well… the challenges. Gabriel did decently in challenges. That’s it. He was like the punching bag of Ramsay the entire season (And so was Scott, who did end up ultimately winning, but you don’t see me complaining about that.), and was… honestly pretty annoying. Seems like a nice guy, but no matter what the situation, he always managed to mess SOMETHING up. BONUS: he can’t count, either.
#13: Carol (Season 5)- 7th Place, Out Episode 9
From this point forward, none of the chefs featured are “bad chefs”, and that includes Carol… but i’m not saying she’s good, either. Carol started off the competition alright-ish, she was kind of average. She messed up on Appetizers a couple of times and bitched about Lacey 99% of the time she was on screen (Which I don’t blame her). Once Lacey was switched the the Blue team, that 99% of screen time bitching about Lacey turned into 100% of screen time bitching about Andrea! Every time Carol made a mistake; it was Andrea’s fault. Overcooked scallops? Andrea. Messed up potatoes? Andrea. Elimination? Andrea… oh wait no, that was Carol. P.S.: who serves bleu cheese to a 12-year-old?
#12: Sabrina (Season 6)- 7th Place, Out Episode 10
There were two specific points in Sabrina’s Hell’s Kitchen career where she stood out as a good chef. First off was one of the first dinner services where she was named Best of the Worst by Chef Ramsay, and then the other was during the Low-Calorie challenge where she stood out as the leading force behind the victorious Red Team… other than that, she really wasn’t too good. She seemed to serve raw chicken a lot… as a matter of fact, the majority of her dinner services were pretty atrocious. She just had that one where she was good, and I think it was because she was on the dessert station… you know, the station where you don’t have to cook much.
#11: Zach (Season 11)- 6th Place, Out Episode 16
Zach is a pretty talented chef, and he showed that in Hell’s Kitchen. He had a good palette, he was creative… but then the bad things. He was not a team player, he lied all of the time, wasn’t above sabotaging his own teammates to get ahead, and was also completely delusional and annoying. Him making it to Final 6 felt like a slap in the face to a couple of the competitors that were eliminated before him (Such as Anthony, Michael, Nedra). He’s one of the big reasons why I feel Season 11 is the worst Season of Hell’s Kitchen. Some people are just too annoying to bear, and he’s absolutely number 1 on that list. If it wasn’t for his personality, he would probably be higher.
Anthony was robbed.
#10: Alison (Season 14)- 7th Place, Out Episode 12
Initially, I was surprised I put Alison this low… but after thinking about it; it’s very justifiable. Name one thing that Alison did that made her stand out as a contender. I’ll wait…
Ok, i’m done waiting. This is what Alison was about. She seemed like a strong chef, and seemed to hold herself together pretty well, but on paper, it doesn’t really show. I don’t remember her doing remarkably well in any of the challenges, I don’t remember her carrying her team to victory in any dinner service, and yeah. That’s it. The thing with Alison is that she’s a “6” or “7” out of 10 in every quality that is looked for in a great chef. Like an all-B student. Chef Ramsay hit the nail on the head during her performance evaluation when he said “You need to stop accepting 2nd or 3td best”, because that is what she felt like during her entire time in Hell’s Kitchen.
#9: Elizabeth (Season 9)- 6th Place, Out Episode 12
Elizabeth is one of my favorite characters in all of Hell’s Kitchen history. First off, she had a purple edit (which is a reference to Survivor: Nicaragua)- this means that she was barely ever seen… like ever. She seriously did not appear until around Episode 11…with one exception.
There was a point a bit earlier in the season where she was in a position where she had to give information to her team about what a planning committee wanted at their High School Reunion, and she failed miserably; causing the Blue team to clean sweep the Red team in the challenge (Which has only happened maybe once or twice in the ENTIRE history of Hell’s Kitchen). The thing that made this so hilarious is… well, just how Elizabeth is. Carrie (a member of her team) described Elizabeth perfectly; she’s a space cadet. She is the epitome of how someone would be like if their blood was a mixture of xanax and marijuana. She kind of stayed this way until she started screwing up a lot in service in Episodes 11 and 12, which then lead to her boot. Elizabeth is ranked this high because during those first 10 episodes, she wasn’t mentioned like at all, and in the show of Hell’s Kitchen, where Ramsay screams at people for their mistakes, that’s a good thing… right? She also had a couple of good challenge performances as well. I think she’s a solid chef, but she’s just not… there at times.
#8: Sterling (Season 13)- 7th Place, Out Episode 12
I’m surprised Sterling is this high; but here he is! Sterling was a very colorful character on Season 13 of Hell’s Kitchen. You know the entire season that there is no chance in hell (pun intended) that Gordon Ramsay would ever hire him to be the executive chef of any of his restaurants. Sterling wasn’t exactly “professional”… but you can’t deny talent. He showed some leadership skills on the line, a lot of passion for cooking, and was pretty creative too. You can call Sterling stunt casting, but this man has some serious talent. It’s just a few bad services and his general unprofessionalism that kept him from getting a black jacket, and it’s understandable.
#7: Brad (Season 3)- 6th Place, Out Episode 7
One thing I really liked about Brad is that he was a very big team player. He always seemed genuine with keeping his team strong and seemed like… with lack there of a better word; a “soldier”. Brad’s downfall was that he thought too much of himself. After a pretty bad service on Brad’s end, Chef Ramsay decided to give the Red and Blue team a chance to make their own menu; and Brad COMPLETELY hijacked the menu for the Blue team; leaving Rock and Josh (his teammates) completely out of the fold. Brad then rightfully took the fall when the Blue team lost the service, because Brad just wanted Chef Ramsay to see his creativity SO BAD and how impressive he was!… There weren’t many challenges that involved creativity that Brad was very successful in, so basically he just had his head up his ass. Why is Brad this high you say then? I think if he toned it down a bit, he would’ve went much further, possibly to Final 3.
#6: Dannie (Season 15)- 6th Place, Out Episode 13
Dannie was really strong at the start of the season. She kind of had the Alison syndrome of “2nd or 3rd best” but not to the same extent (hence why she’s ranked this high). She had several strong challenge and dinner service performances, but also had some bad ones. One thing that was annoying about Dannie was her ego. She had this holier-than-thou complex in which she didn’t feel that she was ever doing anything wrong, which ultimately bit her in the ass at her elimination when it was the reason why it came across that she had very little passion. Dannie is the first person on this list who I was pretty surprised at not getting a black jacket a the time of airing.
#5: Brian (Season 10)- 7th Place, Out Episode 15
Brian, like Dannie and Alison, had the “2nd or 3rd best” syndrome. He didn’t do MUCH to stand out as a competitor, but there are some points. He bounced back in a big way after a terrible 4th dinner service, and put up quite a few respectable dishes in challenges. He also got 3 out of 4 in the blind taste test, which is extremely impressive (this however was overshadowed by Justin’s 4 for 4, which is incredible). Brian is also ranked this high because he’s probably one of my favorite contestants ever on the show. He was very funny in confessionals, and not completely unhinged like the majority of the Season 10 cast. I personally feel he was robbed of a black jacket (Robyn got it instead), but it wasn’t a GIGANTIC robbery like say Anthony from Season 11. Ultimately I can say he’s a really good chef, who just had too many messy dinner services.
#4: Louross (Season 4)- 7th Place, Out Episode 9
Louross was a small guy with a lot of energy and spunk; and it was very endearing. Not only that, but he had a good amount of creativity, was fun in confessionals, and has the honor of being the only chef in Hell’s Kitchen history to be called a Toilet Brush. You can tell Louross was a front-runner because several of his competitors claimed that they thought “he would be there at the end” after his elimination. And lets be honest; there is no way in hell that Matt should’ve gotten a black jacket over Louross. Matt’s dinner service was SO MUCH WORSE than Louross’ but we’ll get to that in a different post. I think Louross had a lot of potential, but with the big(ger) personalities on his team, such as Bobby and especially freakin’ JEN, he kind of fell into a bullied state, and lost his confidence, leading to his elimination.
#3: Nilka (Season 7)- 7th Place, Out Episode 10
QUEEN Nilka was an inexperienced chef who was very much not afraid to get deep into the kitchen and bust ass. She was a strong competitor the entire season, (or at least on the Red Team, which had a lot of terrible cooks lol), and is also a queen of slamming “wet floor” signs on the ground when frustrated. Nilka performed very well in many challenges, and most dinner services too… she just kind of fell apart at her last service, were Chef Ramsay was forced to kick her out. After she was kicked out, though, Chef Ramsay went to go see her outside of the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant, telling her that she was very proud of her and to keep following her dream. If that’s not a sign that she had such great potential, idk what is. Nilka also had an amazing personality! She was incredibly fun to watch, her confessionals were fantastic, and she was NOT afraid to go off on whoever defied her or screwed her over. She is a BIG part of why Season 7 is one of the best.
#2: Vinny (Season 8)- 7th Place, Out Episode 10
Vinny was extremely talented. He had several good services and incredible challenge performances, and seemed to be a front runner until his downfall in the last couple of episodes he was in. When watching Season 8 and seeing the Blue team, most people think “Russell is such a dick… why does he have to be a good cook… Oh well, at least there is Vinny. He’s good too!” Sadly, Vinny’s last few services were dreadful and it lead to his elimination, and also led to what is potentially the least likable Final 6 in the history of Hell’s kitchen. Seeing Vinny go was a bummer, but he will always be remembered as one of the best chefs who did not receive a black jacket.
#1: Andrew (Season 16)- 6th Place, Out Episode 13
OKAY; this might be a very unpopular decision, but I don’t care. Andrew was REALLY good. He is the only chef on this entire list who I SERIOUSLY thought was going into the Final 2, or at least Top 4. He never had a bad dinner service, he had good leadership skills (was good at delegating his team), and he did generally very well in most of the challenges. The twist that Ramsay presented the top 6 in Episode 13 is why Andrew did not get a black jacket; because he failed to make the most impressive dish in a series of 3 mini-challenges. It was kind of a bogus way to go out, considering that Ramsay is looking for a head chef, and that the Top 6 have all already shown that they know what they’re doing. Andrew going out 6th truly shocked me. I was convinced he was the best chef out of all of the Males in the season. Yeah, his shenanigans with Heather in the dorms were questionable considering he has a wife and kid, but there is no denying that Andrew was seriously talented, and should’ve gotten that black jacket more so than any other chef that has never gotten one…
MAYBE WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ANTHONY FROM SEASON 11 UGHHHH I’M STILL BITTER ABOUT THAT!!!
—Follow me on Twitter @Empoleon95! Thanks for reading!