Danny wins Hell’s Kitchen, which is no longer worth watching

Hell’s Kitchen 5 concluded last night, and Danny Veltri, a 23-year-old chef from Florida, beat Paula Dasilva, a 28-year-old chef from Florida. He wins $250,000 and becomes the chef at a new restaurant in the Borgata in Atlantic City.

Gordon Ramsay said that he chose Danny after “the best two services ever in Hell’s Kitchen” and called it “most difficult decision I’ve ever made.” Danny’s selection was rumored, but it was also somewhat of a surprise since Danny recently opened a restaurant here in Central Florida–Flip Flops Grill & Chill in New Smyrna Beach–although perhaps that was just to kill time between production and his new gig, and to capitalize on his new fame. I’ve heard that his staff members wear shirts that say “Yes Chef” on them.

Anyway, although an actual chef won, I’m pretty much done with the show, which hasn’t exactly gotten worse or changed, but that’s the problem. It’s the same-old, same-old. Gordon Ramsay’s insults have no impact because he can’t top himself, unless he were to, say, stab a chef with a knife. Hmm…

While the two strongest chefs ended up at the end, nearly every other cast member was someone who’s been cast for personality and conflict–and because they’re delusional about their own abilities. What the hell was Lacey doing there, and why did they bring her back if the show actually cared about cooking? So the season wades through bad service after bad service, with Ramsay yelling just as he’s yelled at everyone during the previous four seasons. What’s the point? And I just can’t take the totally fake, totally lame “drama,” like when maitre d’ Jean-Phillipe dropped a birthday cake on purpose but pretended he didn’t. So stupid and unnecessary.

I’ll stick with Top Chef for real cooking and actual drama, and get my Gordon Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares, which has its own problems, but at least there’s something new every episode, rather than the same thing for five seasons in a row.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.