The Wife:

Hell’s Kitchen is over. Danny won. And I do not fucking care.

I knew Andrea wouldn’t make it to the final three, because she sucks, although I think as far as creativity in the creation of dishes is concerned, it was pretty clear from the pre-Andrea-ousting challenge in which Ramsay cribbed Top Chef and asked his protégés to cook 100 tasting portions of their own creation for the same number of L.A.’s finest chefs (only one of whom I recognized, which just means I don’t live in L.A.). The girls fared much better than Danny in this one, as Paula’s olive oil poached sturgeon was favored by the majority of diners, with Danny’s blackened halibut with fruit salsa and fennel-basmati rice salad ranking as least favorite by the same number. Andrea’s chicken roulade with jalapeno butter came in somewhere in the middle.

Sadly, I have no choice but to let one of you win.

Sadly, I have no choice but to let one of you win.

Because of her win, Paula was taken out for a day of pampering and allowed to appear alongside Ramsay on Good Day L.A. That night at service, Ramsay put each of his three hopefuls through his skills-at-the-pass test, and all did fairly well. Andrea was a bit too aggressive up there, though, totally dogging Chef Scott and goading him to threaten to kill her. I doubt that was why she was ousted; it was probably more that she was trying too hard to be Ramsay-like. And she’d consistently failed prior to this.

My favorite bit of HK is when the final two get to design their own fantasy restaurant within the HK space. This time, after they’d sussed out their initial concepts, Ramsay whisked Danny and Paula away to Atlantic City to do his traditional “cook off in front of your new boss” at the Borgata. Danny won said cook-off, while back in L.A. his girlfriend terrorized the good tastes of the interior decorator by insisting that banquets be done a certain way with high-backed chairs that would have obscured the wall art . . . cool waves . . . with tacky, tacky, tacky-ass fish attached to them. Meanwhile, Paula’s biggest trouble was that the fire marshal wouldn’t let her have real candles on the wall, so her sister and mother settled for battery-lit votives instead.

In looking at their two restaurant spaces, it’s clear to me that Paula’s was the one I’d rather eat in. She strangely decided to call the place Sunergy (although I can think of hundreds of better names to illustrate that concept . . . say . . . Photosynthesis . . . Synthesis . . . Soleil . . . Synergy . . . however the fuck you say sun in Portuguese, even), but the space itself was gorgeous. She chose lots of booths lined in a luminous silvery-yellow fabric and chose place settings and linens that made the place literally glow. It was a perfect execution of that strange, strange name. And then there was Danny, who ended up naming his tacky seafood joint Velvet Hammer, instead of the slightly classier Susan Marie (in honor of his mother). Name + fish on walls = makes no sense.

At service that night, Ramsay brought back Ben, Gio, Carol, Andrea, LA and Lacey to serve as each finalist’s battalion. Danny chose Ben, Gio and Carol, while Paula chose Andrea, LA and wound up with Lacey by default. Lacey didn’t fuck Paula over too badly, actually. That honor fell squarely on Andrea’s shoulders when she kept fucking up the halibut dish, while on Danny’s side of the kitchen, Gio repeatedly served up some salty sauce. Both teams finished strong, though, leaving Ramsay with the tough choice of picking one of two equally matched chefs to bestow his prize upon. Ultimately, it was Danny’s hand that turned the doorknob to executive chefdom, which is fine, because he’ll be cooking food that fits the vision of the hotel, and will have absolutely no control over the design of his dining room, lest the head honchos at the Borgata want to go bankrupt. Paula has excellent taste, and I’m sure she’ll get the capital to open her own restaurant very soon. Mostly because I want to sit in those shiny, shiny booths and bask in that Brazilian glow.

FOX just announced its Upfronts and it appears that we’ll be served up another helping of HK next summer, with some Kitchen Nightmares stored up in the vaults for whenever FOX needs to fill a hole in their schedule. Fine with me. I’d much rather watch Bones and Fringe on Thursdays, anyway, because I’ve completely stopped caring about this show.