16 Chefs Compete
Season 5, Episode 1
Air date January 29, 2009
Eliminated Wil
Saved Seth
Episode Guide
Winner Announced
15 Chefs Compete

The first episode of Season 5 of Hell’s Kitchen aired on FOX, on January 29, 2009. On that episode, the sixteen new chefs were introduced, the signature dish challenge occurred, and the opening service became a train wreck.


The episode began with a recap of the first four seasons, mentioning some notable moments, and recalling the past winners of those seasons. Season 1 winner Michael Wray, Season 2 winner Heather West, Season 3 winner Rock Harper, and Season 4 winner Christina Machamer.

300 chefs arrived at Hell’s Kitchen, and met Jean-Philippe and Ramsay himself. Both of them selected the chefs randomly, and of the 300 chefs, only 16 were chosen to compete in that season.

Signature Dish ChallengeEdit

After the selection, the sixteen chefs immediately got to work on their signature dishes, that would be judged by Ramsay. The first dish presented was Carol's roulade veal with caramelized onions, and it was praised for being delicious. Wil made a rabbit two ways, braised and grilled, and while Ramsay liked the taste, it was criticized for its poor presentation. Ji’s dish was a miso sautéed Chilean sea bass, and it was praised for tasting great with Ramsay stating it was almost like she had 15 years’ experience rather than the four years she told him. Robert's potato and truffle wrapped sea bass was cooked well but had a disgusting sauce. Lacey's chicken and blackberries were spat out, with Ramsay saying that somebody would come and eat it, but vomit straight after. Danny's Mahi Gone grilled bananas were criticized for its poor creation and Ramsay suggested to Danny that he must put the idea back up his ass. Giovanni was criticized for his poor rice on his dish, Charlie's dish was compared to a Ferris wheel and called a joke, LA's fish and chips were deemed terrible, and J’s dish got an “F”. Colleen's dish was a smoked chicken enchilada, and she revealed that she was a culinary instructor that charged $300, despite not having been to culinary school. However, Ramsay compared the dish’s appearance to a diaper and said it tasted like crap. Colleen argued that she also taught manners, which led Ramsay to retort “Okay, please Ms. Manners, fuck off back in line”. After that, Andrea's dish was praised for its flavor, Coi’s dish was perfectly cooked, and Paula’s dish was seasoned beautifully. By that point, it became clear that the women were the team to beat, but there were two dishes left to taste. Seth’s dish was up next. He made a Cinnamon crusted rack of lamb with an aubergine ratatouille. However, Ramsay found the ratatouille too sweet due to the honey used on it and called it the worst dish he ever tasted in his life. When Seth giggled about it, Ramsay threatened to eliminate him immediately. Finally, Ben’s pan-seared pecan duck was the last dish to be judged, and it was praised for looking attractive and nice. Ramsay deemed it the best dish from the men’s team.

Team names Edit

Ramsay revealed that the winner of that season would become the head chef of a restaurant at the Borgata Hotel & Casino, in Atlantic City, which would be next to some of the best-known chef’s restaurants such as Bobby Flay and Wolfgang Puck, with a salary of $250,000.Then, Ramsay told the chefs that Hell’s Kitchen would open the following night, and based on their signature dishes, they were the best to come into the competition so far. So, he expected that opening night to be the best ever. Then, Ramsay dismissed the chefs and asked them to come up with a dynamic team name. The chefs made it to the dorms, and looked around while getting to know each other. The blue team got together to come up with their team name, and eventually decided on “Blues Brothers”, while the red team struggled on a name.

Before service Edit

The next morning, the contestants came down to their kitchens and began prep for dinner service. A few minutes in, Lacey's attitude already started to piss off her teammates when she stated she did not want to be on a station until she knew where everyone else was, and her constant complaints while prepping did not help. Then, she left during the middle of prep and went back up to the dorms, declaring she was quitting, which angered her team even more. In the blue kitchen, Seth showed his lack of experience working in a kitchen, and asked a lot of questions while barely doing anything. That led Giovanni to call him useless and told him to pay attention. Lacey soon decided to come back to the red kitchen, but LA was still disgusted with her decision to leave.

Ten minutes before service began, Ramsay had both teams lined up and asked what their team names were. The red team said “Team Saffron” but Colleen stated she liked “Spice Racks” more, so Ramsay had them change the name to that. The blue team called themselves “Blues Brothers” which Ramsay admitted he liked. Then, Ramsay noticed that sixteen chefs was too much, and asked one person from each team to volunteer for a task. Those people were Giovanni and Carol. They were assigned as waiters for that night’s service, which neither one was excited about. After, Ramsay turned to Charlie and told him to get to the dorms to trim his beard, as he claimed he did not want a complaint about a "6-inch ginger pubic hair in someone's crème brûlée".

While Jean-Philippe was briefing Carol and Giovanni on their waiter roles, Coi asked Lacey for some help on the soufflés. But, the two of them argued about Lacey leaving for most of the red team’s prep. Ramsay saw what was happening and Coi told him that the dessert station was fucked up, but Ramsay had to defuse another argument and ordered them to get a grip. Then, Ramsay told Jean-Philippe to open Hell’s Kitchen before another fight occurred.

Dinner serviceEdit

Giovanni and Carol began working as waiters, and while Carol had no problems, Giovanni struggled on his role when he could not describe what polenta was. Jean-Philippe reminded Giovanni that he was representing the blue team that night, so he should not panic. Carol sent over her first ticket for her team, but the red team did not respond initially until they were pushed to. Twenty minutes into service and Giovanni finally got the blue team’s first tickets to his team. Robert started loudly repeating the appetizer order in the middle of Ramsay’s call out, and after being forced to call it out, Ramsay threatened to send Robert to a hot boiling bath if he would do it again. The first scallops that Lacey sent to the hot plate were raw, and Ramsay told her that she did not have her gas on. Ben and Robert sent up their first spaghetti order, but it turned out raw as well. Colleen was getting her risotto ready, but Ramsay found out she put mascarpone cheese in it when it was not needed. After that, a power outage occurred in the entire restaurant. Despite the blackout, the ovens were still working, and both teams continued cooking. Ramsay found Danny's scallops on the hot plate which were overcooked, and later yelled at him when he talked back, even threatening him with elimination.

Soon afterwards, the whole power went off, and Ramsay told Jean-Philippe that they could not cook in the dark, and would have to apologize to the customers for the delay. However, Carol was still serving wine to the customers in order to keep them happy. In the blue kitchen, Robert told Danny to keep his words to himself and never argue with Ramsay again. Twenty minutes later, the power came back. Ramsay gathered both teams up and told them to put their bad start behind. In the red kitchen, Ramsay saw that Colleen was about to make a new pasta dish in a dirty pan. After disbelievingly remarked that she taught cooking for a living, he showed her multiple clean pans that she did not see before. In the blue kitchen, Ben and Robert were finally sending out appetizers, but in the dining room, Giovanni forgot which customers ordered which appetizer, much to Jean-Philippe's annoyance.

Two hours into dinner service, the blue team began working on entrées. Seth and J were ready with their lamb entrée, but Wil burnt the gnocchi garnish, forcing a stall. Colleen was cooking way more spaghetti than needed and was told by Ramsay that fewer spaghetti in the pot would cook faster. Ramsay soon found pasta in the bin and ordered another spaghetti. Seth sent up his lamb, but Sous Chef Scott revealed to Ramsay that he sliced the lamb when it was still raw, seared the chops and they were mangled, causing Ramsay to chew Seth out for his blunder, giving him the nickname of "Forrest", referring to Forrest Gump.

Two and a half hours into service, and Colleen finally got her spaghetti properly cooked and sent it along with the risotto. However, Ramsay found it was looking odd, tasted and spat it out. Then, he revealed that she used sugar instead of salt, and called it the worst risotto he ever tasted in his entire cooking career. Wil continued to struggle on the garnish station, which caused a big stall on entrées. Robert came to help him, but Ramsay noted that Charlie and Robert were on the garnish station, and Wil was on “Planet Cuckoo”. Three hours into service, barely any of the entrées have been served, and impatient customers eventually left. After witnessing that, Ramsay decided to switch off both kitchens.


When both teams lined up, Ramsay said that their service was embarrassing and stated that both teams were equally weak. In order to pick a winning team, Ramsay went through the comment cards based on the service. Carol had an 88% rating above average from the customers, while Giovanni was told that over 90% of his customers thought his performance was below average. Therefore, the blue team was declared the losers, and Ramsay told the men to agree on two nominees for elimination.

Back in the dorms, the blue team got together to discuss. Danny picked Wil as the worst performer of that night, and Wil decided to nominate himself. Charlie believed that Seth was the weakest chef that night, but Seth argued he thought he did great, despite Ben and J’s objections. Seth pointed out Giovanni and asked him what went wrong in the dining room, but Giovanni aggressively told him he was not a waiter.


Seth announced that Wil was the first nominee and he himself was the second. However, J interjected and revealed that Seth was the first nominee, and Wil the second. Ben agreed with J and stated that Seth did not really care about what to do, and Robert added on that he would trust Wil more that Seth. While he offered to take Wil's place on the chopping block, Robert chose not to, declaring that Wil nominated himself, and that he was respecting that decision. Ramsay allowed the initial nominees, and called Seth and Wil up front. After listening to both of their pleas, Ramsay eliminated Wil for his poor performance on the garnish station and nominating himself for elimination.

Ramsay's comment: "I found it quite strange that Wil didn't even have the will to succeed. He clearly didn't belong in Hell's Kitchen."