Thursday night brought together the conclusion of the 21st season of fan-favorite TV cooking show, Hell’s Kitchen: Battle of the Ages. This season, we saw a group of chefs, half of them 20-something years-old and the other half of them 40-something years-old, competing against each other to become the next Head Chef for Gordon Ramsay’s new Atlantic City restaurant.
The final three were Alejandro (eventually came in 3rd place), Dafne (ended up coming in second place), and then Alex who won the whole entire thing.
During the first half of the show, each of the three chefs came up with a menu, per the advice of another chef mentor. They then had to present their cooked menus to a series of different chefs who proceeded to score them each on a scale of 1 – 10. At the end of it all, the two chefs with the highest score made it to the finale, the second half of the episode.
Why did Dafne get second place? What could she have done differently?
Chef Dafne Mejia ended up coming in 2nd place next to Chef Alex Belew.
Let’s take a look at what she could’ve done differently that just might’ve helped her secure the win, instead of Alex.
1. The Menu is Key
Dafne started out with her take on a Beef Tartare recipe. One of the other three final chefs also made a Beef Tartare. Now, of course, you can’t control the other chef’s menus because everyone was in separate rooms of the house. However, you just can’t help but wonder what her dish would’ve tasted like, should it have been the only one of it’s kind up for judgement.
Dafne then made, for her hot appetizer, a Ricotta and Egg Yolk-Stuffed Raviolo. Then came her entree of an Italian-style chicken. Then she cooked a fish dish of a Potato-Crusted Halibut. Wagyu New York Steak was next up on her menu, and it was unfortunately, docked a point by judge and Chef, Curtis Stone, because of a flavor-lacking puree.
Overall, her menu didn’t really make sense. Nothing was really cohesive. There was an array of different flavors, which you want of course, but they also have to make sense together, and in my eyes, they just didn’t. Cohesion is also key with a menu, so if Dafne ever finds herself on another TV cooking show, hopefully she learns her lesson once again.
2. Picking the Right Teams
Here was Chef Dafne’s team that she picked through a draft up against Chef Alex: Sommer, Sakari, Vlad, and Abe. From the chefs that she had picked, there was a lot of mistakes.
Abe was the season’s resident hot-head, making it a super easy prediction that he would get picked last. The other person who seemed to make a few mistakes was Sakari. Sure, Abe and Sakari made some mistakes, but maybe Dafne and had just placed them on the wrong station. Would the night have gone differently or would she have won if Sakari and Abe has switched stations? We will never know.
Overall, Dafne’s team was just okay. I really truly do feel that Chef Alex’s team was stacked just a bit evenly and everyone seemed to know their place and be in the right place at the very right time.
3. Being More Assertive and Paying More Attention to Detail
We all know that Gordon Ramsay just loves to be up people’s a**** on Hell’s Kitchen, and this is truly where I feel that Dafne failed. She had her back to the kitchen a lot, which you almost never see from Chef Ramsay. Somehow Chef Ramsay always seems to know what’s going on, no matter how hard he’s looking at each and every chef in the kitchen.
The whole entire time that Dafne was ‘yelling’ at someone, if you even wanna call it that, she was smiling or even slightly giggling. Because of that, maybe her team of chefs that she had chosen herself, weren’t taking her as seriously as Alex’s team was taking him.
As far as paying more attention to detail goes for her, Dafne did make quite a few mistakes whenever they did that challenge where both Chef Gordon and Chef Christina were throwing curve balls their ways and they had to try and catch each and every mistake. Because of this, I do feel that she had put herself at a super unfortunate disadvantage when it came to her team of chefs on finale night. Maybe if she was doing a combination of paying more close attention to detail and being more assertive in the kitchen, she would’ve been able to stop of the undercooked and wrong foods from coming to the pass and then having to just get sent right back into the kitchen.
What did you guys think of our analysis? Did Dafne do anything else wrong or right that you think that we should be talking about? Let’s hear all about it down below! See you next season for yet another round of Hell’s Kitchen with a brand new theme and group of chefs!