HK6 ep. 16, Finale
So, it's Dave vs Kevin, with Ariel already eliminated. The chefs got a challenge right after that decision was announced by Ramsay. They were asked to follow Ramsay to a few stories up in a large building in Los Angeles and they went out onto a balcony overlooking a crowd of maybe 100 spectators. It looked as if FOX sent a significant number of its extras to supplement Dave's and Kevin's relatives. Dave and Kevin have 45 minutes to create a dish, cook it and plate it.
Kevin chooses for his menu petit clambake with poached lobster and corn pudding. Since almost everyone loves lobster I think he gave himself an edge. Dave chooses rack of venison with sour cream.
The judges are brought up to the podium to sample and vote.
Judge 1 is Alain Gayot from Gayot Publications. He picks Dave's dish.
Judge 2 is Jamie Maw an international food/wine critic from the Vancouver area. He picks Dave's dish.
With the score 2 to 0 anyone who has watched any episode of Hell's Kitchen knows that the producers will even the score to make it 2 to 2 before the final deciding vote can be cast. That means the next judges are shills who are going to vote to create a tie, whatever that takes. The other thing I consider very likely is that someone from the Araxi Restaurant will be the individual breaking the tie. Let's see if that happens like usual.
Judge 3 is Tanya Steel, Editor of Epicurious magazine. She picks Kevin.
Judge 4 is Warren Geraghty, executive chef of West in Vancouver. He picks Kevin.
So it's 2 to 2 and who steps up to the "plate". It's an unknown entity, Colman Andrews of Gourmet magazine from Vancouver, a contributing editor and western columnist for them. He casts the deciding vote for Dave.
Based on past history of Hell's Kitchen we know Dave will get an advantage of some sort. What will it be? The next morning Dave and Kevin each develop their menus of 3 appetizers, 3 entrees and 3 desserts. Each of them will have half of 100 covers, as a customer is known in the restaurant trade. Ramsay tells them that Dave gets Scot and the Blue kitchen while Kevin has Heather and the Red kitchen. Ramsay then leads them outside to a truck where a secret ingredient is waiting. It's 6 eliminated chefs coming back to serve as sous chefs! Not exactly a surprise, but there was good news. Tennille is not among them. We do not have to listen to any more bitching from her. Dave got first pick and then they alternated. Dave picked Ariel (a no-brainer), Robert and Suzanne. Kevin picked Van (expected), then made a controversial choice of Amanda because she was good with fish and was left with Sabrina as the last chef available.
Kevin's menu is Caramelized Scallops, Risotto, and an unrevealed third appetizer; coffee cured beef tenderloin and petit clambake and a third entree; creme brulee trio and 2 other dessrts. Dave's menu is Wild Mushroom Risotto, Prawns and an unrevealed third appetizer; Roasted loin of venison, salmon and a third entree; dark chocolate mousse stack and 2 other desserts. Ramsay does a quick sample of all 18 dishes that the two teams have prepared as a guide for what it should look like. Ramsay rates the Kevin's menu as much more complicated (although Robert says "if it tastes as good as it looks then the Blue team is in trouble") and Dave's as simple but easily capable of winning. The key will be execution.
Ramsay gets a special chef coat for Dave and for Kevin and tells Jean Phillippe to open Hell's Kitchen. There are 4 chefs from the Vancouver and Whistler areas among the diners in last night's telecast:
Frank Pabst, Blue Water Cafe
James Walt, Araxi Restaurant and Bar (note- as the hiring manager he gets more effective votes than anyone else)
Thierry Busset, Cin Cin
Warren Geraghty, West restaurant
"the Robert that everyone loves" is shaking, twisting and shouting for joy of being in Hell's Kitchen, but unfortunately that does not last long. Amanda is on the Red Meat/Fish station and she is in trouble from the start. She messes up scallops, then cannot provide replacement scallops for a long time and is leaving the impression that she is a total airhead who should not be there. Kevin has no options but to put her on a different assignment. Van is brought over to do Meat/Fish and he solves the problem except that Amanda is screwing up risotto. In the Blue kitchen Ariel is having trouble with overcooking Fish and Meat on the venison. Robert is not getting support he expects from Dave and he threatens retaliation by not giving his all. It is just hot air, as he does not appear to act on this threat.
It reaches a point where Kevin is behind 6 tables left to complete to 4 tables left to complete for Dave. Kevin announces a strategy termed by Ramsay as "brilliant" by cooking two orders simultaneously. Duh, that's not brilliant, it's rather obvious. I guess for a normal audience what is obvious becomes "brilliant" when we are dealing with chefs. They finish at about the same time, with Dave telling his team he's very proud of their efforts and accomplishments and Kevin telling his team that they finished strong.
Who will win? it looks like Dave to me, by a small margin. In addition to his actual menu design skills and kitchen leadership skills, Dave has the aura of someone who want it so badly that he tolerated great pain and performed with only one arm from almost the beginning. Kevin has showed high presentation skills and ability to handle complex food, but those probably aren't what will win this competition. Ramsay says the results are the closest ever. He leads them to the famous doors. On his count, they simultaneously attempt to open the door they are behind. One opens and the other does not. Dave's door opens. He is the winner of Hells' Kitchen 6. I conside that a satisfactory outcome as he was the best overall chef and think of what he might be like with two functional arms. Ramsay explained that it was Dave's sophisticated palate and natural ability which won for him.
HK6 was probably the best of the entire Hell's Kitchen series. We had 3 semi-finalists who were quite close in skills and ability. The chef who wanted it the most won this, which is satisfying from a psychological perspective.