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Hells Kitchen Rookies vs Veterans - Season 18


Hells Kitchen Rookies vs Veterans Spoilers and Commentary

It’s half of an All-Stars season.

Hells Kitchen Rookies vs Veterans begins September 28, 2018. Here’s all that you can expect from the 18th season.

We are now two seasons removed from the last time they did an all-newbie cast. Maybe the producers figured that bringing back some familiar faces would help. It is not the worst idea, but we have not seen them try this particular format before – and one would imagine next season will be almost all newcomers. It’s kind of like how Big Brother has in many recent past seasons brought back veteran players. Their 13th season was like this, half vets and half new players, and of course, a vet won. Will that happen here?

Hells Kitchen Rookies vs Veterans: The Cast

The (V-##) means the contestant is a veteran of Hell’s Kitchen returning; the number indicates their prior season.

1 Gizzy Barton 31 Atlanta, GA
2 Mia Castro 28 Miami Beach, FL
3 Ariel Contreras-Fox (V-6) 36 Los Angeles, CA
4 Kevin Cottle (V-6) 44 Middletown, CT
5 Jose DeJesus 34 Bronx, NY
6 Roe DiLeo (V-13) 37 Dallas, TX
7 Jen Gavin (V-4) 37 Dallas, TX
8 T Gregoire (V-14) 34 Atlanta, GA
9 Bret Hauser (V-14) 33 Delray Beach, FL
10 Kanae Houston 25 Los Angeles, CA
11 Scotley Innis 33 Atlanta, GA
12 Trev McGrath (V-8) 38 Chicago, IL
13 Chris Mendonca 25 Boston, MA
14 Chris Motto 35 Baton Rouge, LA
15 Scott Popovic 39 Cleveland, OH
16 Heather Williams (V-16) 28 Easton, PA

Hells Kitchen Rookies vs Veterans: Status of the Season

Updated following October 12, 2018 episode

Hells Kitchen Rookies vs Veterans 14 chefs remain - Jen eliminated

Hells Kitchen Rookies vs Veterans: Jen Eliminated In 15th

Getting the chop is something that happens to almost every chef that has passed through the doors of Hell’s Kitchen. Being eliminated during dinner service, however, is reserved for usually the worst of the worst performances. You may be surprised that happened to a returning veteran, but then not surprised to learn it was Jen.

She was shaky before, then she cried during the challenge punishment, and then came her second and final dinner service of Season 18. Jen struggled on garnish, and after an evening replete with frustration, she had had enough — of Gordon Ramsay. The chef said Jen didn’t give her enough garnish for the dishes at the pass, at which point Jen accused Ramsay of dumping some out to make her look bad. Ramsay was “clowning” her, she said. After some screaming back and forth and the two accusing one another of lying, Jen was dismissed.

No big loss to the season was had, as now the Blue Team of veterans looks a little stronger overall. She seemed in over her head from the start, and having been on the show 14 years earlier (and coming in fourth), you wonder if she lost a proverbial step or if it’s just been too long and she couldn’t keep up anymore. One thing is for sure, the meltdowns are always entertaining. Her exit was being set up all episode long, so it cannot truly come as a shock. No dinner service meltdown will ever top Joy from Season 12, when someone who could have potentially won the season got frustrated and quit. Jen did not quit, but she was gone either way.

Hells Kitchen Rookies vs Veterans: Scott Eliminated In 16th

We have our first boot of Hell’s Kitchen 18. It was bound to be someone, and that someone was Scott. His brief story arc wasn’t as bad as, say, Antonia’s, but he saw slight success making the top half in the risotto challenge. He bombed the signature dish and bombed again in his only dinner service. First, he couldn’t count shrimp, and then began cooking (in the kitchen) for tableside service that he wasn’t even doing. Asking Gordon Ramsay “what do you need from me?” is the sort of painful lack of assertiveness and attentiveness that the man hates on this show.

Fish and meat got the rookie red team sent out of the kitchen. Cracks have not had a chance to form on the blue side. My expectation is still that Kevin is one of the chefs to beat, and Bret will be overly emotional (again).

Prior to Hells Kitchen Rookies vs Veterans…

…we saw Hell’s Kitchen: All-Stars, the 17th season of the show. It was the first season in series history to feature only returnees, and it was won by Michelle Tribble.

Hells Kitchen Rookies vs Veterans: What Would Surprise Me

  • A veteran not making the finale. It seems set up for a veteran to be favored: they are half of the cast and most of them had deep prior runs in Hell’s Kitchen. All of the veterans losing to the rookies would be an improbability come to life.
  • Kevin not going far. I have to question your Hell’s Kitchen fandom if you don’t remember Kevin. He was the runner-up in Season 6, one of the best seasons of the series. Kevin finished second to Dave “The One-Armed Bandit.” He is arguably one of the best Hell’s Kitchen chefs to never win. Hopefully he doesn’t get the villain edit this time. You can read his Reddit AMA from a few years back.
  • Bret not having at least one explosive outburst. Hey, it is what it is.
  • No double “get back in line!” It seems like Ramsay saves both nominees at least once every season.
  • No “there’s another person I want to hear from first.” And he likes pulling down “safe” contestants if a chef with a bad day is spared nomination.

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