‘Hell’s Kitchen’ finale: A chat with Cyndi Stanimirov; ranking the final three

Hell's KitchenTonight, the end is here for “Hell’s Kitchen” fans, and it is coming courtesy of a two-hour season finale to learn whether or not John, Ja’Nel, or Mary will end up walking away with the title, and also the Head Chef position at one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants. Anyone who goes through this experience clearly comes out stronger on the other side, and this season is probably going to be any exception to that.

We’ve got our contestant rankings for tonight’s episode at the bottom of this article; but first, we wanted to share a recent chat we had with Cyndi Stanimirov, who was eliminated at the end of last week’s episode just before the epic / annoying “To Be Continued” cliffhanger.

CarterMatt – How hard is it going home at this point in the season?

Cyndi Stanimirov – You get so close and you get in like fingertips’ reach of it.

Did you start running through your head all of the different things that you wish that you could have done differently?

[At first], I wondered if I was a little bit more vocal, but over the past few months I’ve been able to sit back and be like ‘you know what, I’m happy with how far I made it, and I made it as far as I could… I’ve come to terms with it.

What made you want to go on this show to begin with?

My family has always been telling me to do one of these reality shows, especially my grandmother, and last January before we went to film, my grandmother passed away and I made it a promise to myself and to her that I would go and put myself out there.

It just so happened that I had saw that Gordon Ramsay was looking for his next Head Chef … If there’s any one to do, it is to do it with that man because his standards are really high, and the competition is exhausting. If I can do that and be successful at it, then there’s nothing else that I can’t do.

On a personal level, how did you deal with all of the huge personalities that were on the show with you? Does being a chef prepare you for that?

It prepares you for dealing with them, but it doesn’t prepare you for living with different personalities. The college dorm setting was more trying than sharing a kitchen with them … sharing a bathroom, sharing a bedroom with people as crazy as Nedra (laughs) [is not so easy to do].

And this is with a Red Team that was really pretty successful. How happy are you and your other team members with how many competitions that you won?

I know that the Red Team is extremely happy with the fact that we were able to win so much, and stamp it in the ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ book whether we left early or left later, like Susan. We were one of the winningest teams ever. To be a group of ladies is even crazier, because this is such a male-dominated industry and the men did awful.

With that, what is your take on the guys? Is there any one problem that they had from your perspective?

From my point of view, it was like they couldn’t put their egos aside, because they had this mentality of ‘I’m just going to look out for me’ and ‘I’m going to do what’s best for me.’ That’s the big difference between the Red Team and Blue Team all season.

Is it possible to really pick just one of the remaining three contestants to win?

It’s so hard, because I really do love Jon and think he’s great. He’s a guy rising from the ashes. I’m so pumped for the girls because we went through everything together, but I might have to give Jon the slight edge.

Ranking the final three

3. Jon – Personally, we just have a feeling that with the ladies dominating so much of the season, the odds are not there that Chef Ramsay is going to end up picking a man to win in the end. The only hope Jon has is as a redemptive sort of phoenix rising from the ashes story, like Cyndi mentioned.

2. Mary – At times likable, at times frightening as a butcher. She’s improved the most this season by far, and could definitely be ready for a position in Chef Ramsay’s universe. But is she really the best choice?

1. Ja’Nel – In the end, we’re still siding with the person who has been the best overall this whole season, even with some bumps in the road recently. She can handle pressure, she’s a great cook, and seems like the sort of personality who can learn like a sponge.

Of course, we’ll have an article later talking about the winner, and if you want to take a look back at how we got to this point, just be sure to hit up the link here.

Photo: Fox

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