Hell’s Kitchen recap: Which chef is ready to take charge?

HELL'S KITCHEN: L-R: Contestant Mary Lou and chef/host Gordon Ramsay in the "Snuggling with the Enemy” episode of HELL'S KITCHEN airing Thursday, April 8 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Scott Kirkland / FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC.
HELL'S KITCHEN: L-R: Contestant Mary Lou and chef/host Gordon Ramsay in the "Snuggling with the Enemy” episode of HELL'S KITCHEN airing Thursday, April 8 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Scott Kirkland / FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. /

In Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 14, the chefs might want to party but the time to celebrate will have to wait. As the four remaining chefs yearn for the ultimate approval from Gordon Ramsay, the reality is that the chefs have to ready. Which chef took charge of his destiny?

After a surprising wake-up call, the chefs had to weave their way through a late night Hell’s Kitchen party. While it might seem that no one sleeps in Las Vegas, the reality is that all those late nights make people hungry. Cody, Declan, Kori and Mary Lou had to step up to the pass and get people served.

For the first challenge, the chefs had to make 40 plates for the guests who were dancing the night away. While the small bites were not necessarily hangover food or late night food, the plates were far from fussy. It was that type of grab and go bite that satisfies after a long night.

Although the food had to be delicious, this challenge was more than a perfect piece of fried chicken. It was really serving a plate of personality.

As the guests stepped up to the pass, the chefs had to impress with their personality. Since the guests were voting on their favorite plate, the reality is that food is associated with people. The chef that connected with guests would have an advantage.

Similar to food festivals, this challenge was about making an impression both on and beyond the plate. Witty banter, a sweet smile or however the chefs could engage with people would give them an advantage.

Granted, that idea would not save a poor dish. Still, it would set one fried chicken apart from another.

Even though Gordon Ramsay never took a bite of these food offerings, he was watching carefully. Food festivals are huge for celebrity chefs and brands. The executive chef at his Lake Tahoe restaurant would definitely have to be part of these events. Which chef earned the reward?

In the end, the guests picked Kori’s chicken lollipop as the winner. It wasn’t clear why hers won. From ease of eating to great flavor to just being memorable, all of those factors played a role.

For winning, Kori got a Macy’s spending spree and was able to bring someone with her. In a twist, she picked Cody.

While her reasoning was to bond with Cody and hopefully foster a better team relationship, the choice was clearly strategic. Not only did she make Cody feel good, but she kept Mary Lou and Cody apart. It was probably the smartest choice for Kori to ensure a spot in the finale.

Heading into Hell’s Kitchen dinner service, each chef had to take a turn at the pass. As Gordon Ramsay said, that position is the last line of defense.

Hell's Kitchen
HELL’S KITCHEN: Contestant Kori in the “Snuggling with the Enemy” episode of HELL’S KITCHEN airing Thursday, April 8 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Scott Kirkland / FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. /

As seen in previous seasons, this challenge is all about spotting the mistake. In some ways, every time that Gordon said spotting, it seemed like the kitchen had been transformed into a great adventure. Good job, you spotted the Chilean Sea Bass but don’t miss the leopard hiding in the tree.

Since Cody was the first chef to man the pass, he might not have grasped the tricks were coming. After he experienced the various mistakes, the other chefs should have taken notice. Anything coming from Christina’s station should have come with a warning. Chefs have to use all their senses to ensure that a perfect plate goes out every time.

Overall, Hell’s Kitchen dinner service was successful. A few dishes had execution problems, but it was not a disaster.

One surprising aspect of this dinner service was Kori and the meat station. Although Cody felt that he was set up to fail on meat because of Kori’s mistakes, the scenario was confusing. If Cody had to finish the meat, was it his job or the chef’s who prepped the station.

With the chefs tasked with picking which Hell’s Kitchen competitor they would want to battle in the finale, it was interesting that Mary Lou received the most votes. Both Kori and Cody believe that Mary Lou is deserving of the finale.

In the end, the decision is solely up to Gordon Ramsay. Even though each Hell’s Kitchen episode tests a skill, the truth is the result is a sum of all the challenges. From growth throughout the competition to potential, one single event does not dismiss a chef, especially at this point in the competition.

At this point in the competition, the chefs need to show leadership, determination and execution. Unfortunately, Cody is a little too “shy” on the pass and he was eliminated. Maybe he should have had a witty quip like Kori’s cocktail comment.

But, Cody didn’t not have to give up his jacket. In his parting words, Gordon Ramsay told him that his door is always open. It is clear that Cody has potential. As fans of Hell’s Kitchen have seen in the past, former chef contestants seem to find roles in the Ramsay organization. It will be interesting to see where Cody pops up next.

One question remains, which chefs made the finale? In another twist, all three remaining chefs moved onto the next challenge. Although only two chefs will cook in the final Hell’s Kitchen dinner service, it isn’t time to let another chef go.

Given the talent and determination of Declan, Kori and Mary Lou, any of these chefs could win it all. With just a few challenges left, who will be crowned winner? Only time will tell.

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Who do you think deserves to be crowned Hell’s Kitchen winner? Do you have a favorite chef?