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'Hell's Kitchen' recap: May the best (wo)man win

December 16, 2010 | 10:30 am

815-Elim_023
Do you think Russell gets it?

Nona earned the job as new chef at L.A. Market working alongside Kerry Simon not just because she can cook and has a great palate. She’s also someone chefs wouldn’t mind hustling for, with a demeanor that fosters loyalty and teamwork, the very things that you need to get food out of the kitchen and into the dining room.

Or, put another way, the exact opposite of Russell.

I suspect, though, that Russell does not realize that he probably lost the “Hell’s Kitchen” finale because of a nasty attitude and bullying demeanor. Who would want to do anything for that guy? All you need to know about Russell occurred when he was on the verge of choosing Vinny to help him out in this final dinner service. Instead of approaching Vinny, setting differences aside and getting him fired up for one last chance to show Chef Gordon Ramsay what he could do, Russell badgered and humiliated Vinny about his lack of energy. Way to motivate, Russell!

Russell had the classical training and a pretty fine palate himself and quickly proved himself to be a front-runner in this race. But in the end, he just shot himself in the foot. (Odd how he made such a rookie mistake, trying to rush out so many tables at the same time in a bid to outdo Nona.) And if there was any doubt about Russell’s temperment, it all became clear in the final moments: Russell couldn’t even bring himself to acknowledge Nona as she wished him luck, much less offered the same. And then he immediately began blaming and threatening the returning players who helped with the final dinner service:

 “I felt like I was being sabotaged,” he said, adding sarcastically, “Thanks a lot, guys.” And then — this is the best part — publically promising to blackball them all: “You will never get a job in any city that I work. I will definitely blackball you guys.”

Good idea, Russell, that won’t reflect back on you at all.

Kudos to Nona, who sacrificed much to get here, including her son’s first birthday and his first steps.

Some random thoughts as we end the season:

— Ever notice how sometimes chef Scott can look all nice and friendly? And then — bam!

— My favorite Ramsay line of the night: “Ooof. They're back.”

— I was kind of surprised at how eager Jillian seemed to help Russell. Granted, it’s in her best interest to make a good impression, but she seemed happy to be on his team.

What did you think of this season and the finale?

— Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Fox

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