Hell's Kitchen S19 Power Rankings (Pre-Game: Top 18)
- The new season of Hell’s Kitchen is upon us, and I will be ranking the eighteen hopefuls with very little knowledge of them. I will be basing it off of their age, profession, and their Facebook Chef’s Roulette. Basically what that is, there was a Facebook video posted a few hours ago where the chefs each gave a line of dialogue, which I will be basing their entire first impression on. It’s VERY little to go off of, so I know it’s going to be way off from the actual result. As always, I remain unspoiled. I know the season already aired in the UK, but I have gratefully avoided all spoilers and have absolutely no idea who wins.
18. Brittani Ratcliff- A 30 year old Executive Sous Chef from Morehead, Kentucky. I’m already getting “first boot” vibes from Brittani. She applauds herself for making a great pork chop in the Facebook video, and then reveals that her pork chop is bone dry. I can’t put a Jersey guy last place, so Brittani will have to hold this spot. Hey, this probably means she wins the whole thing with my severely incorrect predictions of the past!
17. Eliott Sanchez- A 23 year old Private Chef from Bayonne, New Jersey. I always love rooting for the Jersey chefs, but Eliott does seem a bit too young. I worry that this Facebook preview portrayed him in a “lost puppy dog” kind of way. I just don’t see him lasting too long, especially seeing Wayne Brady say “I want to give Eliott a hug.” Not great.
16. Peter Martinez- A 38 year old Sous Chef from Palisades Park, New Jersey. “You can’t be a winner everyday,” he says, which makes me a little worried that he’ll be apologizing for a lot of mistakes in this competition. Between Peter and Eliott, I don’t know just how well the NJ chefs will do this season. In fact, I have them both all the way here at the bottom.
15. Lauren Lawless- A 30 year old Private Chef from San Diego, California. They call her “flawless lawless,” at least that’s what she says. I can see Lauren butting heads with a lot of her teammates. I think she’s someone who thinks she’s a much better chef than she actually is. She may stick around for a few episodes for drama, but as a serious contender, I don’t see it.
14. Cody Candelario- A 26 year old Executive Sous Chef from Sherman Oaks, California. He says his fear is “absolutely nothing” which shows either utter confidence or complete lack of self-awareness. He’s got a big personality, which makes me think he makes it past premiere night (and a few more after that). But beyond the first few episodes, I’m not so sure. He just seems like he’s not gonna succeed too well.
13. Kenneth McDuffie- A 35 year old Private Chef from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Judging by his photo, I was immediately drawn to Kenneth’s welcoming smile. But watching the Facebook video, it seemed like Kenneth was already in a tough spot. A potato randomly ended up in his signature dish? And a scene of Ramsay looking frustrated. Maybe Kenneth isn’t the winner pick I’d expect based on photos and experience alone.
12. Fabiola Fuentes- A 32 year old Line Cook from Indio, California. She really loves seafood, but what about everything else? She seems like she will be more of a follower than a leader, which could help her get a bit further, but won’t get her a win. I like her, but I’m not getting the strongest vibe from her at the moment. But these rankings are all likely to be very very wrong.
11. Adam Pawlak- A 28 year old Executive Chef from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Chef calls him ZZ top in the Facebook promo, because he does have a very unique look. He says he is a secret sniper in the kitchen, but I also don’t know if being a secret sniper is necessarily the best way to describe yourself in this competition. Don’t you want to stand out and lead, instead of hiding in the shadows waiting to strike? This show is the least bit strategic, and almost primarily based on skill, so I don’t know where any sort of sniper scenario would necessarily help. I like his confidence though.
10. Mary Lou Davis- A 28 year old Chef de Cuisine from San Antonio, Texas. She describes herself as a “gaggle of emotions.” We’ve seen contestants with lots of passion go far, but we’ve also seen some crash and burn rather quickly. I cannot tell whether Mary Lou will be a huge personality that is gone early, or someone that ends up being a surprise contender. I’ll keep her in the middle, as I think her personality will be enough to keep her around for air-time regardless of how well she cooks.
9. Josh Oakley- A 28 year old Executive Chef from Denver, Colorado. Josh already seems arrogant, just by the way he carries himself. But I do think he’s someone whose skill will back up his persona. He may start to have some rough patches around the middle of the competition with his teamwork and consistency in service, but I think he’ll naturally be one of the stronger chefs on the blue team.
8. Drew Tingley- A 30 year old Line Cook from Millmont, Pennsylvania. The Facebook promo featured Drew having trouble keeping up his pants. But not a ton about his cooking. To be honest, he seems like he will do pretty well from a cooking standpoint, and I think he’s one of the more promising blue team members as well.
7. Marc Quinones- A 37 year old Executive Chef from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Marc seems like a really nice guy. He says “to be here today, I’m just so blessed,” which seems a bit generic, but also sincere. I don’t know if he’ll necessarily be cutthroat enough for this competition to go ALL the way, but he looks like he’ll be easy to get along with, which could go a long way.
6. Kori Sutton- A 37 year old Executive Chef from Los Angeles, California. She had a really sweet response to Ramsay asking about her cooking origins. She seems like she could be a bit quieter than some of the other chefs, but also looks like she could be really solid from a sheer talent perspective. If she can find a voice, I’d love to see her go far.
5. Syann Williams- A 26 year old Line Cook from Atlanta, Georgia. Syann is going to be one of the biggest characters of the season, and I honestly can’t wait. She seems to have a huge heart and a huge passion for cooking. I absolutely love her energy. I think she’ll go far, and just miss out on the final four by a hair.
4. Jordan Savell- A 29 year old Executive Chef from North Richland Hills, Texas. Jordan is going to be pretty strong, and a big rooting interest for a lot of people. Does she scream “winner” to me? Probably not. But I do think she’s gonna go far and be one of the favorites of the season, which is why I put her this high. To make a rack of lamb on a first date, that takes some guts and confidence. You can tell she has confidence without flaunting it. I like her.
3. Nikki Hanna- A 25 year old Line Cook from Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. It’s weird, I think I would’ve been down on Nikki for having “two years of experience,” but there’s something about her confidence that is really intriguing and really likable from the get-go. I only saw about five seconds, but I already think she’s a lot more self-aware than someone like Lauren who seems like she’ll flame out pretty quick. I could see Nikki going far, and just missing out on the final two for that lack of experience.
2. Declan Horgan- A 42 year old Executive Chef from Washington, DC. Declan is going to be a leader, it’s evident. I’d say he’s one of the safest bets for a black jacket just by first impressions. But I also think, with that leadership, he could butt heads along the way. I could see him following the path of Benjamin on All-Stars. Consistency the whole way through, but missing that one tiny bit of spark it takes to win it all. He’ll start off strong I have no doubt, and that’s enough for me to put him this high confidently.
1. Amber Lancaster- A 30 year old Executive Chef from Chicago, Illinois. Amber went to school in France, which is a pretty great accolade. In the Facebook preview, it does show that Amber ends up on the blue team. This could be one of two things: she struggles with the red team and is put on blue. OR, she is the strongest red team member and goes to help out the blue side. I’m actually leaning toward the latter, as her credentials are one of the strongest of the pack. I could see her being the Meghan of the season, where she is put on the blue team for her strengths, and she ends up doing consistently well for most of the season. As soon as she said “Julia Child” I said “winner pick.”
I already really love this cast, but of the entire blue team, Declan is the only one I see a true contender chance with. I could see people like Marc, Drew, and Josh cooking well, but just don’t see them being winners at the end of the day. Hell’s Kitchen has had a major streak of women winners, and as much as it’s likely somebody like Declan could win, I just think a woman will take it again. I picked Amber. We know she makes it farther than some because we saw a tiny clip of her on the blue team. I think this is a sign that the blue team flames out early, and she goes to help. I like her credentials and background, she’s already an executive chef. She’s my pick, but I think Nikki, Jordan, Syann, and Kori are all strong contenders to potentially sneak in there too.
Going Home- Britanni Ratcliff
One last note, I know I have been slightly M.I.A. since the big seasons of Amazing Race, Dancing with the Stars, and Big Brother ended. I have been enjoying the holidays, but this week, I promise I will give you the conclusion to my “Top 100 Survivors” list, as well as giving my finale DWTS dance rankings (it doesn’t require predictions, which is why I didn’t feel the rush to put it out). As always, I’ll give weekly rankings/predictions on Hell’s Kitchen this season and hope to also comment on all the other reality shows (at least the ones I watch) when they eventually become available. As for 2021, it looks barren right now, but American Idol and AGT look poised to return, and I’m sure Big Brother will be back in the summer too. We’ll also hopefully get a season of Survivor this year, fingers crossed. Can’t wait for 2021 and what it has in store, and thank you as always for your continued support.
Leave a comment