Hell's Kitchen (U.S. season 1): Wikis


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This article contains contestant information and episode summaries from Season 1 of the American competitive reality television series Hell's Kitchen. Season 1 aired starting on May 30, 2005 and concluded on August 1, 2005.

The show was taped in Los Angeles at KCOP, in a converted former television broadcast facility that previously hosted shows such as The Joker's Wild and Tic-Tac-Dough in the late '70s to the mid '80s.



The 12 contestants were initially divided into the Blue team and the Red team, but not based on gender as in all the following seasons. The contestants were:

Contestant Age Occupation
Andrew Bonito 24 Office Assistant
Jessica Cabo 26 Headhunter
Jimmy Casey 25 Purchasing Supervisor
Mary Ellen Daniels 27 Bartender
Jeff Dewberry 33 Pastry Chef
Jeff LaPoff 28 Finance Manager
Wendy Liu 32 Account Manager
Chris North 35 Executive Chef
Ralph Pagano 36 Professional Chef
Elsie Ramos 40 Executive Assistant & Mother of Six
Carol Ann Valentino 33 Server's Assistant
Michael Wray 27 Professional Chef

Episode progress table

Each week, the best member from the losing team during the latest service period ("least bad" as determined by Ramsay) is asked to nominate two of their fellow teammates for elimination; one of these two is sent home by Gordon Ramsay.

# Chef 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110
Mary Ellen

RThis contestant was switched from the Blue Team to the Red Team

     Contestant was a member of the winning team
     Contestant was a member of the losing team
     Contestant was chosen as the Best of the Worst, or the Best of the Best
     Contestant was nominated for elimination but prevailed
     Contestant was nominated for elimination by Chef Ramsay
     Contestant was eliminated
     Contestant voluntarily left the competition
     Single team - contestant advanced in individual competition
     The runner-up of Hell's Kitchen
     The winner of Hell's Kitchen


Each episode consisted of a challenge with a reward, a service, nominations for elimination, and an elimination.


Episode 1

  • Original airdate: May 30, 2005.
  • Challenge: The first task for the chefs was to make Ramsay their signature dish. Gordon was only impressed by Elsie's and Carol Ann's dishes, saying there was very little promise, in fact after witnessing those dishes, Ramsey started to panic. His exact words were "How will I ever turn one of these people into a master chef, I'll never know."
  • Teams: After the challenge, the chefs were divided into the Red Team (Chris, Elsie, Jimmy, Carolann, Dewberry, and Jeff) and the Blue Team (Ralph, Jessica, Wendy, Michael, Mary Ellen, and Andrew).
  • Service: Ramsay chose Jeff and Ralph to be waiters for their teams in this service. Both teams struggle as Ramsay throws away most of the food. On the Blue Team, Andrew gets confrontational with Ramsay on a dessert while Michael runs out of lobster. Wendy also run out of spuds. On the Red Team, Dewberry, Elsie, Chris, and Jimmy all struggle. Elsie had a horrible risotto because when Ramsay turned the plate over the risotto didn't come out of the plate at all, but she rebounded with a delightful one then. Chris got yelled and because he overcooked a piece of salmon, and then Chef Ramsay smashed it on his whites. Jimmy also severed a mangled up lamb chop, and then burned himself when he was getting more meat of the oven. Dewberry got called "an overgrown muppet" by Ramsay because he stood and didn't do any cooking for a hour. Carol Ann gets yelled at for standing at the dessert station instead of helping. The blue team serves some entrees, but Ramsay shuts the kitchen down.
  • Losing team: Ramsay says there is no winner, and declares the Red Team the loser since the Blue Team served some entrees. Elsie is deemed the best of the worst, meaning that she is the best cook of the losing team.
  • Nominations: Elsie nominates Carolann, because of her lack of experience, and Dewberry, despite her promise to him, because he had trouble, and she didn't think he had the passion to be in Hell's Kitchen. Ramsay noted that Jimmy and Jeff both dodged bullets. (As a waiter during service, nobody liked Jeff. He also thought Jimmy was the weakest cook in the Red Kitchen that night.)
  • Eliminated: Carolann, because she wasn't experienced enough to work out in the kitchen, but Ramsey said "I told you 'Never, ever, turn your back on the team.' Tonight you did just that. This whole competition is about teams. Take your jacket off, now; Hell's Kitchen no longer needs you." [1]
  • Chef Ramsey's Reason: "Some can handle it, and some can't. I'm not interested in the ones who can't."

Episode 2

  • Original airdate: June 6, 2005.
  • At around 5:50AM the following morning. The remaining chefs were woken up by Scott and Mary Ann. They lined up in the kitchen in front of Chef Ramsay at 5:55. However Chris took seven minutes longer to get himself ready before finally coming into the kitchen much to Ramsay's chagrin.
  • Team challenge: Cleaning squid. The team that could clean and prep the most squid received a dinner with Ramsay. Since the Blue Team had one more member, Michael was forced to sit out. In the Red team Jimmy, Elsie, and Jeff had each one of the squids accepted by Chef Ramsay. Dewberry had all two of his squids that Ramsay was pleased with. Chris preped four squid but only one met Ramsay's standards. Making the Red team's total 6 squids. On teh blue team Ralph and Mary Ellen had both of their squids accepted by Chef Ramsay. Jessica had another squid that was added to the bunch. Wendy and Andrew's squids had holes in them, which met Ramsay wouldn't accept those squids, and that made the Blue team's total of 5 preped squids that met the Chef's standards. The Red Team won by one squid, and they got dinner with Ramsay, while the Blue Team had to prep all the remaining squid for the next service. That night, Jeff moaned on the floor in pain due to kidney stones, which he has suffered from in the past.
  • Service: Since they lost the challenge, the Blue Team had to go through this service without air conditioning. Both kitchens got off to a good start, but Jeff had lots of trouble on the garnish, and Wendy in the blue kitchen needed Ralph's help to get her starters out. Jeff had trouble because his kidney stone pain came back. Andrew and Mary Ellen bickered over control of the meat station, which slowed them down. In the red kitchen, Chris helped Elsie cook fish which got more main courses out, after making several mistakes of not being able to cook Wellingtons, Dewberry nearly walked off the line, but his team convinced him to stay. After a while, one red table, after waiting 3 hours for Wellingtons, phones for pizza. This leads to a confrontation between Jean-Phillipe and a customer, which nearly turns into a fight.
  • Losing team: Ramsay once again was disappointed with the service, and once again, he deemed the Red Team as the losing team. He said Chris was the best of the worst for being a good leader and turning his act around.
  • Nominations: Chris nominated Jeff because "He lets his own head get in the way", and Dewberry because "He gets so upset about things". Chef told Chris that he agrees with those nominees 110%.
  • Eliminated: Dewberry, because he abandoned his team. In Chef Ramsay's exact words,"Dewberry, you're going home for one simple reason, you're a coward and you turned your back on the team after you screwed them," which is similar to why Carolann left. [2]
  • Chef Ramsey's Reason: "I'm looking for someone who can weather the storm, inspire individuals, and stand as a great leader. That, clearly, is not Dewberry."

Episode 3

  • Original airdate: June 13, 2005.
  • Jeff's Stones: After just avoiding going home for the second time, Jeff passed his kidney stone. In Fox Reality's Reality Revealed, Jessica was still skeptical, and Jimmy said that he wanted to see it because you don't realize something as the size of a mustard seed can put you in so much pain.
  • Team Swap: Since the Blue Team had 2 more members, Michael was transferred to the Red Team in order to even out the number of contestants on each team.
  • Team challenge: Ramsay asked the teams to cook him a five-course meal of original dishes. The catch was that they only had 10 minutes of shopping time at a local supermarket, and only $100 per team to spend at the market. Ramsay liked 3 dishes from each team, and deemed that the Red Team's dishes went together better, making them the winners. They enjoy dinner with Ramsay at a local pub, while the Blue Team had to clean the dorms.
  • Service: Two food critics attended the restaurant this service, sampling food from each team. Ramsay warns the chefs to treat every dish like a critic's. Jeff has trouble getting lobster spaghetti out, while Wendy delays the Blue Team because she thought the cold water would boil faster. Some of the Red Team's starters impress the critics, while Andrew's and Wendy's starters are a mess, one of them causing a customer to throw up. Despite Andrew talking back, Ralph is able to get the Blue Team together. Meanwhile, Jeff screws up more and more until he calls Chef Ramsay an "asshole" to his face and walks off the line, takes off his jacket in front of Chef Ramsay's face and walks out of the kitchen, saying he's had enough. After Jeff leaves, Michael leads the Red Team to catch up, while Wendy and Andrew slow down the momentum Ralph gained for the Blue Team, allowing the Red Team to serve more entrees. Ramsay is once again disappointed and shuts it down.
  • Quit: After leaving the kitchen, Jeff quit the show due to an injury, eliminating himself from the game.
  • Losing Team: Once again saying there is no winner, Ramsay relied on the critic's comments to determine a loser. They like the Red Team's food better, and combined with their ability to catch up after losing Jeff, declared the Blue Team the loser, with their leader Ralph the best of the worst.
  • Nominated: Ralph nominated Andrew, because of his confrontational attitude, and Wendy, due to her many mistakes.
  • Eliminated: Wendy, because of her constant mistakes in all three services and "painful" to work with.[3]
  • Chef Ramsey's Reason: "Jeff..well, I had to laugh when he called me an asshole. I've been called far worse than that."
  • "Wendy... well, you know its about time I put you out of your misery."

Episode 4

  • Original airdate: June 20, 2005.
  • Team challenge: Ramsay passed the two teams to Jean-Phillipe, his maitre d', for a 30 minute lesson in how to properly set a dining table. The teams then had to replicate a sample table containing 96 items within a 5 minute time period. The Red Team made four mistakes, while the Blue Team made only one. The Blue Team enjoyed massages in the dorms, while the Red Team had to clean all of the restaurant's silverware.
  • Service: Ramsay taught the teams how to make frog legs and pigeon, which was added to the menu. Since they lost the challenge, the Red Team has to set all 100 tables in the dining room. Ramsay says that he won't close until one team serves all their tables, and that would be the winning team. Both teams start strong, but despite Andrew's struggles, the Blue Team, with Jimmy slowing the Red Team down and Jessica's strong performance, takes an early lead. Mary Ellen, though, slows the Blue Team down when her risottos returned, which brings them to a halt, allowing the Red Team to serve all their tables first, prompting Ramsay to close.
  • Winning Team: Keeping his promise, Ramsay declared the Red Team the winners, and congratulated them on being the first winning team. He declared Jessica the best of the worst for her strong performance.
  • Nominations: Jessica nominated Andrew for his confrontational attitude and Mary Ellen for slowing down the team.
  • Eliminated: Mary Ellen for being the main reason for the Blue Team's loss, as well as her inconsistency as the chef had said. [4]
  • Chef Ramsey's Reason: "Mary Ellen has left Hell's Kitchen because of her inconsistency. What the rest of the team should understand, is that it is very crucial, to get better and more consistent. That didn't happen with Mary Ellen."

Episode 5

  • Original airdate: June 27, 2005.
  • Intro Change: In this episode, the show's introduction (showing Ramsay's history) was abridged by about 40 seconds.
  • Menu Change: To shake things up, Ramsay threw out the entire previous menu and created a new menu featuring pasta dishes.
  • Team challenge: As Ramsay changed the menu of the restaurant to feature pasta, the two teams had 20 minutes to turn raw dough into as much spaghetti as possible, judged by suitability for serving in the restaurant and total weight. Since Red team had one more person, Chris had to sit out of this challenge. The Blue team made 2.41 pounds of acceptable noodles, while the Red Team made 2.45 pounds. The Red Team wins wine and cheese on a gondola ride, while the Blue Team has to make all the remaining pasta for the service.
  • Service: The service was divided into 2 services, each team would cook in one and wait on tables in the other. Since the Red Team won, they got to choose the order and chose to cook first. The Red Team has a subpar service, Jimmy, Elsie, and Chris all struggling to prepare quality food. After they switched and the second service began, Michael came up with a plan to urge the customers to order lasanga, slowing down the Blue Team. The plan worked, but the dishes they managed to complete were satisfactory. However, the Blue Team took too long and Ramsay closed up.
  • Winning Team: Although they left 42 tables without food, the Blue Team's food overall had better quality and they served better, so Ramsay declared the Blue Team the winners. Michael was deemed the best of the worst.
  • Nominations: As the most experienced chefs, Chris and Michael made a pact to nominate Elsie and Jimmy. Michael did nominate Elsie, but because he became friends with Jimmy and that Chris was a threat, Michael nominated Chris instead.
  • Eliminated: Chris, as Ramsay explained that someone who boasts about their skills needs to step up and meet that expectation or else be eliminated.[5]
  • Chef Ramsey's Reason: "When you come into the kitchen and announce that you are an executive chef, you expect a lot lot more than what I got from Chris. If he's been telling the world that he has that amount of knowledge, then he should have been 10 times better."

Episode 6

  • Original airdate: July 11, 2005
  • Intro Change: The intro was changed again, taking out the entire part about Ramsay's past, and moving the recap of the previous episode to the very beginning, instead of after the sequence where all the contestants are introduced.
  • Team challenge: Team members were blindfolded and earmuffed and then asked to identify various foods on taste alone. Each participant had to identify 4 different food items. The Red Team won, correctly identifying four items, while the Blue Team only got one. The Red Team went wine tasting at LA's finest restaurants with Ramsay, while the Blue Team has to clean all the restaurant's pots and pans.
  • Menu Change: Always one to shake things up, Ramsay threw out the entire menu yet again, and asked each team to create menus of their own. The two teams were going to compete head-to-head, with diners choosing to eat from the Red menu or the Blue menu.
  • Service: Unlike previous services, each customer will be able to pick from the Red or Blue Menu this service. Ramsay says that he will chose a winner based on the number of people that ordered from their menu, along with quality of the food. Since they lost the challenge, the Blue Team has to enter a combination to get to their store room. Andrew tries putting tape on the door to keep it open, only to get caught by Sous Chef Scott and reprimanded. The Blue Team gets 11 more orders, and Jimmy slows down the Red Team, but Michael and Elsie are able to get their orders served, while the Blue Team struggles as a whole, especially Ralph and Andrew. When Ramsay notices Ralph waving to two girls in the restaurant, he decides that he has had enough and shuts Hell's Kitchen down.
  • Winning Team: Although they could not serve everyone, Ramsay tells the Red Team they came close, and says they are the winners. Jessica is deemed the best of the worst, despite her average performance, Ralph and Andrew were much worse.
  • Nominations: Jessica nominated Andrew because of her respect for Ralph, but Ramsay forced her to nominate Ralph, too.
  • Eliminated: Andrew, due to his confrontational attitude and many mistakes. On Fox Reality's Reality Revealed, Andrew said that he and Ralph were bickering and doing an argument that lasted for twenty minutes until Chef Ramsey finally said, "You aren't the little asshole like you are. Now you are saying that Ralph manipulated your dish to becoming the poached halibut. Andrew, give me your jacket."[6]
  • Chef Ramsey's Reason: "Andrew's gone tonight because he's out of his depth, and I discovered a fake: he can't cook."

Episode 7

  • Original airdate: July 11, 2005
  • Ramsay assigned the remaining five contestants to a single kitchen team, wearing black, where each contestant was now going to compete as an individual.
  • Challenge: Ramsay demonstrated how to make tableside fruit flambe. Based on Ramsay's opinion of presentation and taste, Jimmy and Elsie placed 1st and 2nd respectively. Jimmy received a helicopter trip over L.A. and was allowed to bring someone along; he chose Michael. The other 3 people must clean the dining room.
  • Before Service: Ramsay announced that one of them will be serving tableside caesar salad and fruit flambe. Being the winner of the fruit flambe challenge, Jimmy needs to nominate one person to be responsible for that. He nominated Elsie. Afterwards, Ramsey gave Sous Chefs Scott and Mary Ann the night off.
  • Service: During service, things were going well until the lights goes out but moments later, the lights come back on. Meat orders starts to pile in and Jessica misplaces her filets mignon, which Michael finds; the show implies that Michael may have hid them himself, but this is never confirmed. Jimmy accidentally threw away a complete lobster dish and for the first time during his stay, Jimmy stood up to Chef Ramsay. Ramsay requested Ralph work alongside him at the hotplate. Based on performance in the kitchen, Ramsay selected Ralph as the day's best.
  • Nominees for elimination: Although Elsie had asked Ralph to send her home, Ralph decided to nominate Jessica and Jimmy. Based on Jimmy's poor performance and an in-kitchen confrontation during the service period between Ramsay and Jimmy, Ramsay eliminated Jimmy, and noted that he should be proud of how far he had come.[7]
  • Chef Ramsey's Reason: "This is when we really find out who can handle the heat, and who can't. Clearly tonight, Jimmy couldn't.

Episode 8

  • Original airdate: July 18, 2005
  • Challenge: Ramsay gave the final four contestants fifteen minutes each to create an original dish from a tray of fifteen different leftovers from the previous evening's service. Among the ingredients were macaroni, parsnips, chicken, beef, raspberries, and a lemon. Elsie made chicken soup. Ralph made a side dish of grilled chicken wings. Jessica made beef stew and a raspberry dessert. Michael made a pasta dish with chicken. Elsie won the challenge as Ramsay said that she used the most ingredients as well as having a hearty, tasty soup that he would order in a restaurant.
  • Reward: As a reward, Elsie accompanied Ramsay to a taping of Good Day Live, where they demonstrated how to make risotto.
  • Service: The next service period did not have any twists. Elsie was asked to assign the team members to various tasks on the line. During the service, Ramsay reassigned the team twice as he felt that there was inadequate communication between the team members. This lack of communication may not have been accidental; Michael, Ralph, and Jessica had previously agreed not to help Elsie if she asked for advice.
  • Elimination: At the end of service, Ramsay did not select a leader to nominate somebody; he nominated Elsie and Jessica as the weakest performers that night. Ramsay then eliminated Elsie, but noted warmly that he was very proud of her for getting this far, without any prior restaurant experience.[8]
  • Chef Ramsey's Reason: Despite great improvement from Elsie, Gordon felt she was the weakest of the remaining players.

Episode 9

  • Original airdate: July 25, 2005
  • Having been woken up at 4 AM unexpectedly, the three remaining contestants are told that they have to bake bread for the night's service. Jessica, who had had a lot to drink that night, went back to bed. Michael and Ralph did the majority of the work.
  • Challenge: On very little sleep, the three finalists were then asked to create a soufflĂ©. Ralph's was the winner, followed by Michael's, then Jessica's.
  • Reward: As a reward, Ralph got to choose which dish he would be creating that night: beef, chicken, or tuna. Ralph chose beef, Michael tuna, and Jessica was left with chicken.
  • Service: Unbeknownst to the contestants, members of their families were seated in the restaurant for the service. They had a chance to try each of the specialty dishes and select their favorite, not knowing who had made each one. Despite Jessica's struggling with the desserts, the service was a success as for the first time, a fully booked dining room left the restaurant happy and full. (Ramsay "I am a very proud man.")
  • When the time came to choose one contestant to leave, their family members appeared. Ramsay tells them to vote for each's favorite dish. Michael's tuna got the most votes, followed by Ralph's filet mignon. Jessica's chicken only got one vote.
  • Elimination: With only one vote for her dish, Jessica was chosen. However, Ramsay told Jessica that "deep down inside, you know you weren't as good as Michael and Ralph," and asked her to leave. He told her that she'd entered through the front door, and she'd earned the right to exit through the front door.[9]
  • Chef Ramsey's Reason: Jessica's chicken got only one vote from the families, so she was eliminated: "Deep down inside, you know you weren't as good as Michael and Ralph."

Episode 10

  • Original airdate: August 1, 2005. 2-hour finale.
  • Michael and Ralph are informed that Hell's Kitchen is going to be split in two for the final service, with each contestant decorating their own restaurant, choosing the service uniforms, and creating the menu.
  • Challenge: The two finalists cooked their signature dishes and put them on the street asking random people to taste the dishes and say which one is better. Michael won with a 12 to 6 score. Ralph said that Michael won because his food was built for the street while his was built to be in a restaurant.
  • Dinner Service #1: The two finalists had practice before the Main dinner service by cooking for the workers and there were some problems. Michael's main problem is that he was very quiet. Ralph's main problem was he missed a crab in the crab risotto that Michael sent. Ironically Ralph thanked Michael after that.
  • Restaurant Designing: The two finalists were able to renovate Hell's Kitchen however they liked. Michael went with an LA-modern style theme named Lola Pop (named for his wife, Lola), while Ralph decided to go with more of a New York style Steakhouse he called Frank & Lulu's (named for dogs owned by himself and a friend).
  • Reward: Six of the previously eliminated contestants returned to help Michael and Ralph compete in the big challenge. Since Michael won he had the first pick and he said he was going to "fuck" Ralph and picked Jessica. Michael's team consisted of Jessica, Jimmy, and Elsie. Ralph's Team consisted of Andrew, Wendy, and Dewberry, which Michael said that he would be a handicap for Ralph.
  • Ultimate Decision: After the service, Ramsay praised both Michael and Ralph, saying that all of the customers loved their food and atmosphere, but one thing helped him make his decision: the number of customers who would return. While one scored 90% on this question, the other scored 94%. Ramsay declared Michael the winner. Ramsay then made Michael an offer: the original prize of his own restaurant, or an invitation to join Ramsay in London to work and learn alongside him at one of his restaurants. Michael accepted the offer to work in London.[10]
  • Chef Ramsey's Reason: Only 90% of Ralph's customers said they would return to his restaurant as opposed to 94% of Michael's.
  • "Ralph was great tonight but Michael deserved to win because his creativity and standards are simply on a higher level."


  • Winner Michael Wray is currently the Executive Head Chef at The Standard in Los Angeles, California. His original plan was go to the UK to learn under Ramsay, but as a newlywed, and with he and his wife wanting to start a family, he decided it was the wrong time to move. In the meantime, he made an appearance in the third season finale where he, along with other cooks, judged Rock's and Bonnie's dishes, and started a custom chef's knives company, Skull and Cleavers.
  • Runner-up Ralph Pagano opened his own restaurant in Sag Harbor, New York, called Fat Ralph's Deli. He also appeared as a challenger on Iron Chef America, competing and losing to Iron Chef Bobby Flay.[11] He now has his own TV show on the MOJO HD network called Pressure Cook [1]. The show can also be seen on hulu.com.
  • Michael Wray is opening a new restaurant called HK1 (Hell's Kitchen, Season 1) in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Renovations are presently underway on the restaurant called Las Trankas on Fry Blvd; opening is scheduled for September 2009.


  1. ^ Fox.com - Hell's Kitchen Season 1 - Episode 1.01 recap
  2. ^ Fox.com - Hell's Kitchen Season 1 - Episode 1.02 recap
  3. ^ Fox.com - Hell's Kitchen Season 1 - Episode 1.03 recap
  4. ^ Fox.com - Hell's Kitchen Season 1 - Episode 1.04 recap
  5. ^ Fox.com - Hell's Kitchen Season 1 - Episode 1.05 recap
  6. ^ Fox.com - Hell's Kitchen Season 1 - Episode 1.06 recap
  7. ^ Fox.com - Hell's Kitchen Season 1 - Episode 1.07 recap
  8. ^ Fox.com - Hell's Kitchen Season 1 - Episode 1.08 recap
  9. ^ Fox.com - Hell's Kitchen Season 1 - Episode 1.09 recap
  10. ^ Fox.com - Hell's Kitchen Season 1 - Episode 1.10 recap
  11. ^ Recap of Iron Chef episode

External links

Hell's Kitchen
Season 1
Followed by
Season 2


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