Season 8 of Hell’s Kitchen was a great one. Mainly because I had the pleasure of getting to know Nona Sivley who took home the prize: Head Chef position at LA Market and spokesperson for Rosemount Wines. Nona is as nice and as animated as she appears on TV. I admit when she first contacted me, I got so excited I ran through my house screaming at anyone who would listen. Okay, maybe I even called up my sisters to tell them. “You will never believe this! Nona from Hell’s Kitchen just talked to me!” It was like I made first contact. I definitely wasn’t as calm and collected as Steve was when he would chat with Vicki from The Amazing Race, but I was starstruck! Throughout the season, I calmed down. Nona was just that sweet and down to earth, and she really is a lovely person. I even managed to chat with Vinny and Trev here and there without falling all over myself.
Nona became a regular reader of The Reality Junkies and even let me ask her a few questions about her experiences on Hell’s Kitchen.
What was your reaction when you found out you were chosen to be on Hell’s Kitchen?
I kind of freaked out for a minute. It didn’t seem real. I mean, the auditioning and interviewing was fun and easy, but now it’s really go time!!
What was your favorite experience from the show?
Probably seeing Curtis and Jax. I had no contact with them for over a month and seeing them walk through those doors was so overwhelming.
Being kicked out of the kitchen. I’ve never experienced anything like that, and we (Chef Ramsay and myself) were arguing back and forth. It was definitely the most humiliating moment for me.
Something I’m sure we all want to know: Is Ramsay really the way he’s portrayed on TV? Honestly, I’m kind of scared of him!
Chef Ramsay is exactly how he is portrayed in the kitchen. Outside of the kitchen, he’s amazing!! So charming!! He’s a total guys’ guy! But then on the other hand, a sweet and kind gentleman.
You have to tell me: Was Raj really an actor or not?
Raj is not an actor! LOL He was really funny to us (the girls) probably because we didn’t have to work with him. But we all thought he was hilarious!!
Sabrina was a strong personality on the show? What’s your opinion of her?
How much socializing is done in the dorms? Did you come away with any lasting friendships?
There was very little socializing, only because we were working so long. When we were done in the kitchen, which could easily be 1 or 2 am, we would shower and fall into bed. But being around people 24/7 for so long and having no outside entertainment, there’s no choice but to bond. I talk to Russell, Gail and Melissa on a regular basis. I love them! I occasionally talk to Vinny and Boris too! I like to know how they are doing.
Without naming names, were there any hook-ups?
HAHAHA!!! No hook-ups. There are cameras everywhere!!!
When do you start your job at LA Market and what are you looking forward to most?
I started January 18th. What i’m really looking forward to is learning as much as i can from everyone involved. Everyone has so much to offer!
What is your first duty as spokesperson for Rosemount Wines?
Well Saturday, January 22nd, i attended a black tie gala honoring Australians. And right now, i’m in Napa for Australia Day!!
Finally, I asked Nona for a recipe, because I just had to. She shared a recipe for Oatmeal Raisin Cookies that looks phenomenal, so I’m sharing it with all of you. I haven’t made it yet, but I plan to very soon!
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup white sugar
2 1/2 cups AP flour
1 tsp salt1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups oats, old fashioned
2 cups raisins
1 T vanilla extract
Orange juice (possibly needed)
Mix eggs and vanilla and add raisins. Cover and soak for at least 1 hour or until plump. (Can be done overnight, just put in fridge if you do)
Cream butter and sugars until fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Sift flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda together.
Slowly add dry ingredients to the sugars and mix until combined.
Add raisins, mix to combine.
Add oats, mix to combine.
If mixture is too dry, add a tablespoon of orange juice at a time until the mix stays together when clumped. Remember, it is a fairly dry dough, do not make it sticky.
With a #20 scoop, you’ll get 2 1/2 dozen.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.
Remove from oven when they are still soft, that’s the secret to chewy cookies!
I would like to thank Nona for allowing me to interview her and also for being patient with me (this was my first interview, after all!). Steve and I both wish her the best of luck at LA Market and with Rosemount Wines.