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.

Nona autographing a chef's jacket

TRJ:
What was your reaction when you found out you were chosen to be on Hell’s Kitchen?

Nona:
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!!

TRJ:
What was your favorite experience from the show?

Nona:
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.

TRJ:
Worst experience?

Nona:
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.

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We’re down to the final TWO!!!  Either Russell or Nona will be the new head chef at LA Market, plus the spokesperson for Rosemount Estate wines before the end of the night.  The pressure is mounting!  Each chef has to design their own menu for the final dinner service, but first, it’s challenge time!  Both chefs are kidnapped and sent to LA Market in a helicopter.  Once they get there, they’re told they have to skydive down to the audience waiting below and are given parachutes.  The funniest part about this was that Russell started totally freaking out and almost crapped his pants.  It was all a false alarm though.  They ended up walking down to the audience instead.  Very disappointing, but I’m sure Russell was relieved.

I'll just freefall right here!

The first challenge is to create 5 separate dishes, soup, salad, pasta, fish and meat, and they will be judged by these really awesome judges.  Russell decided fusion was his thing, despite the fact that he didn’t do well in the fusion challenge, and Nona stuck with her southern flair.  The fusion idea worked well for Russell this time, since he won the challenge, beating Nona with 3 of the 5 dishes.  This, of course, swelled his ego even more.  Then they’re told to head back to the dorms where previous contestants from the season jump out of closets, scaring Russell and Nona, even though we all knew they were going to be there.  Russell’s reward for winning the challenge was that he got to pick the first team member, which I honestly think is the lamest reward Hell’s Kitchen has ever thought of.  Russell picks Jillian first, which makes sense since she made it so far.  He also ends up with Vinny, Sabrina, and Rob, which means Nona’s team consists of Gail, Melissa, Trev, and Boris.  Nona totally got the shaft.  I barely even remember Melissa and Boris certainly didn’t make any impressions on me, other than washing dishes in the middle of dinner service and sweating in the food.

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Even though there had been a non-elimination week, it was sort of bittersweet.  This episode promised TWO eliminations.  Even though I have been neutral towards Jillian, we hear how she lives in the basement of her boyfriend’s mother’s house which makes me feel sorry for her and suddenly want her to win.  No one should have to go through living in their mother-in-law’s basement, no matter how well they get along.

The first challenge of the week…it’s fusion time!  Each chef has to create one dish that represents two separate countries.  The countries are chosen at random when the chefs have to pull two flags out of a dome-covered platter.  First up is Nona who gets Greece and Italy.  Jillian ends up with Thailand and Spain.  Russell gets France and India.  Last, but not least, Trev ends up with China and Mexico.  They have 45 minutes to come up with an awesome fusion dish, which sounds really difficult to me.  Right away, Nona, Russell, and Trev are off and running.  Jillian is struggling quite a bit, acting as if she has no clue what Thai or Spanish food is all about.  All of her complaining was for nothing, however, as she aced the challenge.  Luckily, the other three basically sucked.  Nona threw in just about everything she found in the kitchen, Trev can’t season properly, and Russell can’t cook a duck which probably made him cry later while he flexed his muscles to make himself feel better.

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Now that Gail is gone to complete her plan of taking over the world one fish station at a time, there are only 4 chefs left.  The only one who hasn’t made me want to scream at least once is Nona, but there are still a couple of weeks left so that may change.

The challenge the chefs are faced with are that they have to pair up and create one dish together.  Trev is paired up with Jill and Russell is paired up with Nona.  Seems easy, right?  As they’re preparing their dishes, Chef Ramsay is being sneaky and creating a dish of his own.  When they place their dishes in front of him, he tastes both and is able to correctly identify all the incredients in both teams’ dishes.  That almost makes me wonder if he’s tipped off or something.  Maybe he watched the footage ahead of time and saw what they put in it.  Then he makes each chef taste the dish he was slaving over and they have to reproduce it.  The person who creates a dish closest to Ramsay’s wins the challenge.

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Hell’s Kitchen Power Rankings

Here we go with the weekly Hell’s Kitchen Power Rankings after the jump, but first here is a random picture of Paris Hilton who will do anything she can to be on TV, even if it’s in night-vision.

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Now that Sabrina’s gone, I was expecting the drama to slow down.  I certainly wasn’t expecting Jillian to try and fill the void, but that’s exactly what she did.  After spewing off about how much they all hate Gail and Trev, it was challenge time!  Each chef had to create a signature lunch to cook in LA Market.  The only problem was, they would have to do so in their own food truck and would have 1

Food trucks

hour to do it.  There were hungry businessmen and women to attend to!  I always love roach coach challenges, even though I’ve only ever seen it on The Next Food Network Star.  The challenge proves to be a bit of a problem though since food trucks aren’t exactly the easiest kitchens to work around, which is proven when Nona has trouble finding the oven.  Russell, who apparently thinks he’s in an upscale New York City seafood restaurant, tackles octopus like it’s nobody’s business.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I would want to order octopuss in a food truck.  Trev takes the easy route with pasta and sausage and Nona doesn’t do much better with a sandwich and sweet potato fries.  Gail gets her cook on with steak.  Honestly, if I was looking for lunch from a food truck, I think I would order Nona’s lunch, since that’s what I would expect from that type of…establishment.  Not surprisingly, Russell got the least votes.  I’m guessing he learned nothing from Trev’s frog leg fiasco of the previous week.  Gail received the most votes, with Nona a close second.  Even though Trev tried his hardest to schmooze the customers, he placed third.

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Hell’s Kitchen Power Rankings

Here we go with the weekly Hell’s Kitchen Power Rankings after the jump, but first here is a random picture of Trevor tossing Sabrina’s salad…

Trev tossing Sabrina's salad (hee hee)

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It’s BLACK JACKET time!!!  The last we saw of our 6 chefs, they were receiving their new threads.  It made me proud.  But the work isn’t done!  They’re still in the fight for the Head Chef position at LA Market and spokesperson for Rosemount Wines.  It’s getting very cutthroat.  I almost wish I had a seatbelt on my couch for the ride they’re taking me on every Wednesday!

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Hell’s Kitchen Power Rankings

Here we go with the weekly Hell’s Kitchen Power Rankings after the jump, but first, here is a random picture of Sabrina and her gold butt to keep you entertained

I wonder if she bought the gold pants

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Watch out!  Russell is on the warpath!  He decides to make it his personal vendetta to bring Trev down, since Trev put him up on the chopping block.  Other than Rob, Trev had to choose between Russell and Vinny.  If he had put Vinny up, I have a strong feeling he wouldn’t have whined and cried like Russell did.  Everyone is out to get Russell.

The challenge for the day is a relay race cook-off!  Each team has to cook 3 entrees from the regular menu, but only one person from each team is allowed in the kitchen at a time.  They have 5 minutes to cook and when it’s time to change contestants, they have 15 seconds to communicate.  This challenge is basically all about communication,which we find out pretty quickly.

Sabrina throws the lobster in the boiling water right away, but Trev doesn’t cook the lobster and fails to tell Vinny that it isn’t cooked.  After a couple of rounds, their lobster still isn’t cooked, so once Vinny realizes this, he decides to just poach the tail, which makes me wonder if he ripped the tail off the live lobster.  Or maybe the lobster had dried out by now and was mummifying on the plate.

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