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

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

Comments () | Archives (32)

Very nice summary, Rene. Covered the main points.
Yep, I think Holli was the rightful winner.
On the night: Although I thought her team during the final was the lesser of the two, her overseeing the service and the quality of her recipes must have been enough to get her across the line (as well as the "growing" thing Ramsay mentioned).
No diner sent any meal back to her (Jay wasn't so lucky) so that's quality control.
Throughout the series: I also think she was the winner throughtout the series because, although she didn't conceal her ambition, she didn't bad-mouth her opponent(s) like Jay did at every opportunity (in front of the camera and during leisure moments).
And with that face - and especially those eyes - she's be a great for promo asset for posters and media ads.
Loved the whole series.

I missed the show but I was sure Jay was going to win. Whoever chose the trashy Holli to win probably needs to revise the decision.


Ben was the best cook out of the three, but his lack of communication sent him off the show, Ramsey gave him a lot of chances but he never proved he was worthy. Jay and Holli are both weak, it was a weak finish. Jay was an OK cook but had little leadership. Holli is the same, she didn't prove to me that she's aggressive enough or has enough leadership to run the Savoy Grill in London. But personally, I thought Holli was worse. Once again it was a weak finish and there was no real leader (out of all the contestants) in this season of Hell's Kitchen. I am expecting better next season.

Wes; Ben not only has serious trouble communicating, he seemed to have social issues as well. His nasty disposition will never allow him a leadership position. Plus the mean comments he made on international television regarding his fellow contestants proved what a small person he really is. Not likable at all - except maybe to his family.

And Vegas guy - even if what you say is true - what kind of cheap thrill do you get from being the spoiler? Feeds the ego, eh? Sad. There's one of you every crowd, these days.

I am a chef my self, so i know what the "heat"(no pun intended) feel's like a kitchen and i think Holli's dision to not go to london could have been a mistake.... and she did brag about "i'm out for blood cause i'm moving me and my boy to london"

I watched the show traveling on tour and Ramsey is my favorite chef and i respect his chose for Holli evan though i wanted Ed to win but thats ok Holli is Hot i mean she's a total babe

I wish Jay won, but they both were great. I was hoping Jay would win, and then invite Holli to join him in London. That would be the fix they needed to grow their relationship. I was the one pulling for the two to hook up. Now, since Holli won, she has the extra baggage of her son's father. Did you notice throughout the show, it was all about her son, not once about his father as a love interest at all. When she said at the end, a better life for her son, and even for his father, it was for the boy, not for her. She had an interest in Jay, as she turned around and looked at him walking through the door. Yea, they need the hook up. Wish there was a way to track their progress after the show.

I knew Hollie would win and its based on her ability to better promote the new restaurant to the English people - her style, looks and shes skilled enough to bring them in. I'm surprised no one has commented on Jays obvious homosexuality. Single, no GF, his mom is his supporter. Endless sexual remarks towards Hollie yet never checking her out never looking into her eyes- belching when they get close- defensibly torn between Ben and Hollie. lots of looking for the gay in everything- in other people-gay on his mind a lot- but actually all talk on Hollie and no action never has his arm around her just this posing. And the blue hair at his age. No single straight guy would still try to carry that and talk about a woman that he supposedly cares so much about in that demeaning objectifying way. I mean did he even ever kiss her with all that talk. It was a sad act.

I also think that Holli did more with less in the end. Maybe if Autumn had performed on par with ben, the decision would have swung more in Jays favor. btw, didn't pick up gay vibes for Jay, but as a guy, I did enjoy the skin teasers. (Autumn is so fine!) As far as Holli's ambiguity with Jay vs her son's dad, that's just television.
Folks, this is "reality tv". Don't get too worked up about it. Things are always slanted for the best entertainment/ratings point of view. Maybe its not decided in the beginning, but its definitely not a head to head, may the best chef win, objective decision.

Maybe its like race cars. The best depends on the track. Drag racers may be fastest, but will struggles on an oval track where formula one cars are king. Maybe holli won because she was more adaptable and progressive. Who knows...

It looks like they put in all types of cooks/personalities to make good entertainment. I wish that for one season, they would compete apples with apples (a bunch of jays and hollis and even bens/autumns) and see what happens.
I also would love to know what kind of clauses they had to sign before getting on the show.

Oh I forgot to say that I knew when they brought holli's son to the audience at the final doors, she was going to win. I don't think I could bring my young son to something like that. Can you imagine the hit the show would take if she lost and that little boy started crying his eyes out?!!!! No way they would let that happen! They would NEVER take a chance like that, but it would let me know they are objective.

At least we got to see Holli in a nice formal gown in the 100th episode of HK where the contestants cooked for her along with Seasons 4, 5, and 6 winners; they sat at the V.I.P. table, now they get a chance to be guests.

What happened to Trev he's the strongest on the red team and just fell apart. Anyways, looking forward to next week to see if he gets put back to the blue team or gets booted out.

Hey am I the only one chatting? :P

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