The 12th season of "Hell's Kitchen" came to an exciting close as host and head chef Gordon Ramsay announced Scott Commings the winner during Thursday's season finale on FOX. Commings, 36, an executive chef from Woodstock, Illinois, earned himself a head chef position at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, a total prize value of $250,000.
" 'Hell's Kitchen' was truly the best and most rewarding experience of my life," Commings said. "I feel so blessed to have been given this incredible and most difficult opportunity. What I have been able to take from this experience will be with me the rest of my life, and I will use every bit of this education to continue to pursue my passion for food. I am truly thankful."
"Scott is a tremendous leader and is never afraid to take risks," Ramsay said. "Throughout 'Hell's Kitchen,' he showed incredible determination and became a stronger chef even as the competition became fiercer, proving that he has what it takes to make a mark on the culinary world."
In a season filled with surprises and shocking exits, Commings made a name for himself as "The Biggest Comeback Chef in the history of 'Hell's Kitchen,' " by taking bold risks and out-competing the other 19 chefs. In the end, he went head-to-head with Jason Zepaltas, a sous chef from Chicago, who got a second chance to compete for the "Hell's Kitchen" title after an illness took him out of the competition early in season nine.
For the final challenge, both contestants created their own menus, and were able to select and lead a team of their past competitors through the most important dinner service of their lives. After a grueling final dinner service, Ramsay praised Zepaltas for a strong performance, as well as his consistency, drive and undeniable passion. However, it was Commings' leadership, artistic and beautifully executed menu and unwavering determination in the kitchen that earned him the victory.
His menu items included:
•Baby romaine salad with niçoise olive tapenade, white anchovy and parmesan tuile
•Duck confit ravioli with braised pork belly, butternut squash, walnut arugula pesto, brown butter and balsamic beets
•Butter-poached king crab with butternut squash purée, arugula salad, toasted pine nuts and charred corn
•Seared scallop with baby mâche salad, watercress purée, lardon and sherry vinegar caramel
•Pan-roasted halibut with roasted fingerling, saffron broth, baby carrot, heirloom tomato and micro arugula
•Mediterranean sea bass with piquillo pepper purée, potato hash, haricot vert, black kale and lemon
•Half-roasted organic chicken with caramelized fennel, confit tomato, creamy polenta and pan jus
•Grilled beef tenderloin with celeriac remoulade, frites and tamarind sweet and sour sauce
•Pear tart tatin with spiced pear sorbet, vanilla gelato and marcona crumble
•Chocolate hazelnut cake with coffee butter cream, salted caramel and almond gelato
"Hell's Kitchen" ranks among this summer's top five broadcast entertainment programs among Adults 18-34, Adults 25-54 and Men 18-34, placing among the top 10 in Adults 18-49, Men 18-49, Men 25-54 and all Women. "Hell's Kitchen" also has ranked as a top five primetime broadcast show in the core demographic for nine out of the past 10 summers, and dominates its summer Thursday 8 p.m. time period among all Adults and their male and female components.