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'Hell's Kitchen': You're the winner, Mommy!

August 11, 2010 |  9:32 am

Holli_wins It's Holli.

Holli Ugalde, the 24-year-old banquet chef from San Bernardino, won Season 7 of "Hell's Kitchen," landing her a gig at Chef Gordon Ramsay's Savoy Grill in London, currently being remodeled as part of the Savoy Hotel's multimillion-dollar renovation.

Whether it was crafty editing or perhaps her Angelina-esque looks and coy laugh, Holli wasn't considered a contender in the early part of the competition. That honor went to the blue-haired Jay, who also made it into the finale, and Benjamin, who made it to the final four before his poor temperament and inconsistency in the kitchen caught up with him.

But before long, Holli began to shine and began winning week-to-week challenges. It was this progress that made her the winner, Ramsay said: Holli had grown more than any other cheftestant of the season, "and once she emerged, there was no holding her back."

Holli and Jay weren't just competitors in the finale ... sparks flew between these hot tub buddies.

And Jay made his intentions clear, if not to Holli then whenever there was a camera shoved in his face. He said his goals were winning the show and sleeping with Holli. When some of their teammates returned to help in the final dinner service, he lamented that he preferred being alone because "I planned to sleep with Holli tonight." And just in case there was any doubt that he's not a gentleman, even at the very end of this all he added: "Hopefully I can take her pants off tonight."

Nice, Jay!

I'm sure your parents -- who have been following every step of this journey and were surely watching the finale -- are proud.

Holli might be having some regrets too. The single mom probably revealed more of herself than she wanted to on the show; at one point, she left her castmates speechless when she bragged about her expansive porn collection.

But now Holli is off to a new adventure, moving to London with her cute-as-a-button 4-year-old son and giving him an "amazing" life, which was her goal all along.

What did you think? Did the right person win? Should it have been Jay? I think Jay is a pretty outstanding chef, and I thought he did a great job managing his kitchen. But Holli proved she has cooking chops, and Ramsay wants a person with loads of raw and innate talent who can follow direction and is willing to learn from the best and grow. Jay seems a little too headstrong for that.

A few random thoughts:

--Cringe moment of the night: Ramsay asking the returning Fran whether she'd been on an episode of "The Swan." That went too far, even for Ramsay.

--Sweetest moment of the night: Holli's son shouting, 'You're the winner!"

--TiVo moment of the night: Did anyone else see Dave, the-one-armed bandit from seasons past, in the background during the celebration? Why is he still in a cast? 

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo credit: Fox