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'Hell's Kitchen' recap: Is chef Gordon Ramsay becoming an old softie?

June 28, 2013|By Rene Lynch
  • The final five on "Hell's Kitchen."
The final five on "Hell's Kitchen." (Fox )

"Hell's Kitchen" is now in its 11th season. Is it possible that with the advancing seasons chef Gordon Ramsay has gone from being the fearsome ruler of the underworld to a sweet 'ol puddy cat?

Last week, he decided that all five finalists deserved black jackets. He was a soft touch when it came to doling out gold stars. (Guest judges chef Nancy Silverton and Los Angeles Magazine food editor Lesley Bargar Suter were much stingier.)

Then, Ramsay declined to eliminate anyone, saying all five finalists deserved to earn black jackets and move on to the next round of the competition.

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This week kicked off with a showdown between the final five competitors against past winners including Roc, Kristina and a very.... strange-acting Nona. (While it takes an immense amount of will power, let's just leave it there.)

Surprise, surprise, the folks who made it through "Hell's Kitchen" gantlet and came out on top in past seasons delivered the superior dinner service.

But surprise, surprise, indeed. The five finalists came close to toppling the pros. They lost the dinner service, but only by the slimmest of margins: 93% of the diners said they would return again to enjoy the finalists' cooking, while 95% of the diners said they would return for the dinner service cooked up by "Hell's Kitchen's" past winners.

Impressive showing aside, someone would still have to go, right? The finalists were forced to nominate two eliminees. But nope, it was not to be. Ramsay decided that after such an impressive finish the final five deserve to move on to yet another round of the competition.

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It's as if someone -- a producer, a cameraman or woman, someone -- was standing off to the side doing that universal gesture for "use more time" or "stretch."

Interesting aside: Did Jon really say he believes Cyndi is one of his key competitors? Really? Over Mary? Do you believe that? Either this is misdirection, or crafty editing has underplayed Cyndi's talents. Based on what viewers have seen so far, Mary and Ja'Nel are Jon's key competitors.

What do you think? Are you tired of this final five?


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