Title inspired by the flood of search hits I got last week after the first half of the finale. To keep up the sequence, the proper title of this post would be something like:
Hell’s Kitchen 2007, Episode 11 – The Actual Finale
For my non-search readers, pardon the couple weeks of nothing but Hell’s Kitchen. I’ll try to get back to posting normally soon.
Of course, the funny thing about the “who won” queries is that anyone who didn’t take pains to avoid being spoiled knew early in the season that Rock Harper would win, due to the gambling scandal leak of the winner. That’s entirely aside from it being fairly obvious from the earliest episodes of the season that it would be a finale of Rock versus someone (he and I both thought it would be Melissa, initially, and last night Melissa showed some of why we thought so when she was shocked by Bonnie’s relaxed attitude toward the menu planning, even if she did have trouble cooking the prawns), and it being fairly obvious that he had been cast as the winner. Producers of reality shows cast the contestants and make demographic choices. A man wins one season, so let’s try to cast such that a woman will win the next. Now let’s cast for an ethnic win, preferably male. None of which makes Rock less competent or deserving. He is the most deserving, most well-rounded winner of the entire series so far. It’s just that in casting and editing the season, the powers that be tried to ensure it would be Rock.
Nor did the leak make the season less enjoyable, if only for frequent train wreck values of enjoy, since so many of the contestants were clearly placeholders wh never had a chance, and at least one who was cast as a possible winner ended up off the show unexpectedly soon.
Despite knowing who won, despite wanting Rock to win, we were nervous for the two of them at the end last night. I had crazy visions in my head of the Rock leak being fake and Bonnie being the surprise winner after all. And she wouldn’t have been an outrageous choice, however unexpected.
Both did a good job designing their restaurants. I’d say it was a toss-up which I’d prefer.
I liked Rock’s menu better, but both were no doubt tasty. He did a far better job planning and prepping his crew on how to make the stuff, showing the management skills that made him deserving of executive chef. Bonnie’s lounging around in the dorm was shocking.
Bonnie had the better crew. At the end, Rock wished he had won the challenge and first choice, as he would have picked Jen first. That would probably have given Rock a team of Jen, Brad and, tossup with Vinnie here only because of her meltdown, Julia. Which would have given Bonnie a team of Melissa, Vinnie and Josh. The main thing is Bonnie would have gotten Josh.
Rock did a great job managing his crew initially, telling Josh he trusted him and knew he could cook, so go do it. Josh let him down and then he was a bit slow to fix the problem. It seemed as if Ramsay helped Rock a lot more than Bonnie, which even if not true would be an odd editing choice in terms of appearing legitimate. Overall, Rock was good with his people.
Bonnie not as much. She had some good ideas, and the rah rah cheerleading can probably be useful in that situation, but at other times she and they weren’t communicating, or were back to bickering and overreacting. Seemed like Julia and Bonnie were both capable of such intense focus that they could simply stop noticing when someone addressed them
, which comes out seeming obnoxious when it’s not intended so.
I’d have picked Rock, based on their performance in the final service and all, but Bonnie wasn’t a pushover. She should have a world of opportunities open to her. If she lost it on just one point, it would have been on poor planning that allowed her to run out of key ingredients early. Running out? It happens. She just wasn’t even close. That’s a big management skill yet to be developed, which as far as we could tell from the editing, wasn’t a problem for Rock. She also had food come back. If Rock did, they didn’t show it.
I grew to regard Bonnie highly and be proud of how well she did. She’ll go far. That was what the finale was about, ultimately; seeing how close it would be, and it was closer than it should have been.
So who won? Again, Rock. Rock Harper. Executive chef and father of absolutely adorable kids. Yay Rock! Green Valley Ranch will be fortunate to have you. If not, the publicity from a season of Hell’s Kitchen is priceless.
I hope they shake up the formula a bit next year.