I've been a fan of Gordon Ramsay since he started his television career with 'Boiling Point.' He has been a star ever since.
1. Holli Ugalde
Holli Ugalde is the Season 7 winner of Hell's Kitchen. She bested blue-haired Jason "Jay" Santos to win a executive chef position at the Savoy Grill in London. What is ironic is that Jay really liked Holli a lot and wished to have a relationship with her when they eventually leave Hell's Kitchen.
Through the show, Holli is shown to have a very flirtatious nature. Even in the opening credits she has a very flirtatious laughter. She is seen many times during the show in clothes that show off her assets and even develops an onscreen romantic relationship with the runner up Jay Santos.
Initially, Holli was not a threat in the competition. She did not impress Chef Ramsay with her Indian inspired halibut dish. She even tripped herself while making the dish.
However, as much as Holli's initial performances were just average, she was never put up for nomination nor thrown out of the kitchen. She picked it up towards the end of the competition. She finally got the monkey off her back and finally vanquished Ben in the "taste it, make it" challenge.
Holli had her momentum and could not be stopped. She was able to lead a ragtag band of chefs comprised of Autumn and Nilka, and Siobhan to victory.
After winning the competition she was not given the "head chef" position as promised. She was not able to make it to London due to Visa issues. Holli claimed that despite constant follow-ups she was just given the runaround. She ultimately just got an undisclosed amount of cash. Gordon Ramsay through his spokesperson also expressed disappointment about the head chef promise as he had made it clear that the prize was supposed to be a position as part of the Savoy Grill team.
Chef Holli has used Hell's Kitchen to become a celebrity chef and has had television appearances and guest appearances on multiple events. She now manages her own organic garden and has her own line of cookware and perfume.
2. Dana Cohen
Dana was impressive from the get go as her pan seared scallops helped the women score a 5-3 victory for the red team. With Hell's Kitchen contestants constantly firing raw or rubbery scallops, this helped earn her the reputation as the scallop queen.
Dana did very well in the challenges. She won the Mexican dish challenge with her seared ahi tuna. Dana was able to also clinch a point for her team when the fashion designers liked her chilled mango broth with crab meat. Dana also won the Southern cuisine challenge with her bacon wrapped mini meatloaf with sweet potato puree and honey and was featured in Epicurous magazine.
Dana was very close to being in the top two but fell just a tad short when she and Barbie were simultaneously eliminated. To her credit, Dana has never been put up for elimination. Chef Ramsay respected Dana's abilities so much that he let her keep her black jacket.
Dana would come back soon after as part of Christina's winning brigade. Christina recognized Dana's talent and picked her first overall. The rest of the brigade comprised of Patrick, Kimmie and Robyn.
Since her appearance in Hell's Kitchen, she has had a stint as the culinary director of the Le Gourmet Factory and as a food columnist for the Community Life newspaper.
Dana has used Hell's Kitchen to catapult her career. She is now a celebrity chef for hire for parties, appearances and events. She also does cooking lessons.
3. Bonnie Muirhead
Bonnie Muirhead looks like a life-sized Barbie doll. She was portrayed in the show as a typical "dumb blonde" who frequently made mistakes and was a bit ditzy. Later on, the Hell's Kitchen Season 3 winner Rock Harper said in an interview that Bonnie was actually a smart girl who has a psychology major and has business savvy.
Bonnie was not really anything special during a significant part of the season. Her contemporary cheese course did not impress Chef Ramsay. During the first service she even got into an argument with Joanna with regards to the proper preparation of a risotto.
In the second challenge, Bonnie did horribly in the Dover sole filleting challenge. She was able to successfully fillet four fish but none met Chef Gordon Ramsay's standards. However, she was able to do a substantially good service.
Bonnie turned quite a few heads by going around the dorm in her underwear. This riled up the men who were enjoying themselves with the view.
While Bonnie was in no way spectacular during the season, not much was expected from her as she was a nanny who just started cooking. As seen through the different seasons of Hell's Kitchen Gordon Ramsay adjusts his expectations according to the person's experience. If you are a newbie, he expects less. If you are a tenured executive chef, he expects more.
Bonnie had some hiccups during the rest of the season such as serving a raw scallop, failing in the meat station, throwing away fresh monkfish that she thought was rancid and failing to check the shipment during delivery day where unsalted butter and turbot skeletons were delivered instead of salted butter and turbot fillets.
There was even a point that she wanted to leave the competition as she was cracking under the pressure of Hell's Kitchen and was hurt by Gordon Ramsay calling her a "stupid cow," a "dumb blonde," and a "stupid nanny".
In no way was Bonnie perceived to be a strong chef. She was nominated thrice during the season and was in no way a front runner to win the competition. She however showed flashes of brilliance during the challenges, was a team player and showed consistent improvement.
For the final service, she chose Jen, Melissa, and Julia to be in her team. While Rock chose Brad, Vinnie, and Josh. It was the red versus the blue team once again.
While Bonnie's team started strong, they eventually faltered due to Bonnie's lack of leadership and Rock won it all due to his leadership ability.
Bonnie eventually married a kiwi and settled in New Zealand where she is currently a head chef at Crab Farm Winery in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, She does celebrity appearances in events from time to time and is still in touch with her fellow Hell's Kitchen contestants.
4. Heather West
Heather West has a Ronda Rouseyish vibe to her. Coming in Hell's Kitchen as a sous chef handling a brigade of twelve men, Heather developed a strong commanding personality where she would not allow anyone to take her for a pushover.
Heather prepared chocolate and raspberry empanadas. Though the crust was a bit thick, Chef Ramsay liked the filling and said that it was the best he had tasted so far in the challenge.
For the first dinner service, Chef Ramsay asked for a volunteer from each team. Heather and Giacomo were chosen to be the donkeys of the kitchen. The donkey's job was to help their teammates or clean and organize the kitchen. While, Giacomo was annoyed to have volunteered, Heather was enthusiastic about it.
Heather was working hard keeping the place spotless. However, Polly could not get any risotto out so Chef Ramsay called an audible and switched the two. Heather took charge and was able to deliver the first acceptable risotto.
The second challenge involved cutting perfect ten ounce steaks. Though Heather scored two points, this did not meet Chef Ramsay's expectations as he was expecting more out of her. Despite Heather's performance, the red team still won.
In the second dinner service, Heather was helping Maribel get appetizers out and was helping lead the red kitchen. She unfortunately got a serious burn which handicapped the red kitchen. Despite her injury, Heather continued to lead her team. She then went to a medical facility to have her burn checked. This got the admiration of Chef Ramsay.
Heather was very consistent throughout the contest and was never nominated for elimination. Though she was not a force in the challenges, she was in her element during dinner services. For a twenty five year old she showed high leadership skills and determination.
For the final dinner service she chose Rachel, Sara, and Garrett. Her team being better skilled combined with her leadership ability, carried her over to a victory for Season 2 of Hell's Kitchen.
Heather worked at the Terra Rosa in Red Rock Casino Resort Spa for more than two years. She then was the sous chef for the red team in Season 6 of Hell's Kitchen. She then has had multiple jobs as executive chef in Schafers, R2 Events Corporation, Ciao Baby, Jellyfish Restaurant and Monterey Restaurant.
5. Virginia Dalbeck
Virginia was in no way a good cook in service but she was a killer when it came to individual challenges. This was because Virginia had something that could not be taught - a good palate.
Virginia beat out Heather in each and every challenge they went face to face at. Virginia got 3 out of 4 in the taste test. Heather only got 2 of 4. Virginia also bested Heather and 2 other competitors in the food truck challenge with her turkey prosciutto feta cheese sandwich. In the final challenge, her chicken roulade bourblanc also beat Heather by a tie-breaking point.
In the season, Virginia was never afraid to show off her figure and used her looks to her advantage. She was able to get Keith to choose her to accompany him to Vegas instead of his friend Garrett. She was also able to charm the construction workers to give her a landslide victory. Even Keith accused Chef Ramsay of being infatuated with Virginia.
In the end a combination of Virginia's lack of leadership skills and poor decision making with regards to selecting her brigade ultimately sank her. Picking Keith was an excellent choice but picking Tom and Giacomo were wasted picks. Sara and Garrett were better choices.
Virginia has used her strong showing in Hell's Kitchen as a launching pad for her career. She has made multiple guest appearances on television and in events. She currently works for Cork & Pig at in their San Angelo and Odessa locations.
Questions & Answers
Question: Why, with a program that showcases so many women of color, did not any make your list?
Answer: Elise is in the second edition of this article.
Question: Why didn't you include Ramsay's sous chef Andi?
Answer: I wrote a third part of this article and it includes Chef Andi.
© 2016 Jan Michael Ong
abricru on September 18, 2019:
Virginia was my #1 at first. She reminded me a little of Catherine Zeta-Jones. I wasn't crazy about the way she used her looks to manipulate people though. I think Elise was beautiful as well, and I actually liked her personality.
BUT.. Dana captured my blue ribbon when she stripped down to her bikini while on the island with Clemenza, who couldn't take his eyes off her. She was funny with her Peppermint Patty voice and pretty smile. None of the others comes close (except Virginia)
Chef Nerd on January 13, 2018:
Chef Geek likes Heather Williams by a lot apparently
Chef Geek on January 05, 2017:
Heather Williams is bar none the Goddess of Hell's Kitchen, dude.