Biting British chef Gordon Ramsay tutors and tortures 12 aspiring restaurateurs vying for their own eatery. In the opener, the hopefuls are split into two teams for an opening-night challenge that becomes a nightmare for the customers.
After barely surviving the opening night of the Hell's Kitchen restaurant, the heat is on as the contestants prepare for their second dinner service. To prepare for the service both teams have a squid cleaning competition as Ramsay overlooks with his watchful eye.
The third night in the kitchen finds the remaining chefs cracking under the pressure of Gordon Ramsay and his hot temper. After barely surviving the opening night of the Hell's Kitchen restaurant and fumbling their way through night two, the remaining contestants have gotten more than a taste of the wrath of Chef Ramsay - and hungry patrons.
As the contestants prepare for their third dinner service, the pressure of Hell's Kitchen is too much for one of the wannabe chefs, who chooses to leave Hell's Kitchen and hang up their apron for good. But the choice is Ramsay's for another unlucky contestant who gets the boot.
The fourth night in the kitchen finds the remaining chefs cracking under the pressure of Gordon Ramsay and his hot temper as they try to serve up Ramsay's signature dishes at L.A. hotspot Haute Cuisine. A fourth contestant is eliminated from the show.
On the restaurant's fifth night, Hell's Kitchen presents an entire Italian-themed menu. After a tense competition in the afternoon, one team is rewarded with an afternoon outing with Chef Ramsay. Later at the dinner service, the participants' competitive nature comes to a head as one team deliberately sabotages the other, while a contestant makes a decision that shocks both teams.
First Half of Two Hour Special. As the Hell's Kitchen contestants prepare for their sixth dinner service, Chef Ramsay reveals the latest twist - each team will create its own menu consisting of three appetizers, entrees and desserts. Egos and tempers reach a boiling point as the wannabe chefs hustle to get their signature dishes up to Ramsay's impeccable standard and out to the hungry guests in a timely manner.
Second half of Two Hour Special. The five remaining contestants learn they are no longer competing as teams, but as individuals who must work together (and against one another) to complete an entire dinner service. The theme of the dinner is "tableside service", with both the appetizers and dessert prepared tableside. To further complicate matters, there is a power failure, and the filet mignon mysteriously disappears.
Hell's Kitchen opens its eighth night with not only the four contestants left over from the previous night's service, but also the ingredients. The four remaining chefs are given 15 minutes and a tray of leftovers to create a meal that Chef Ramsay considers servable. The winner of the challenge is rewarded with a chance to cook on a live national TV show alongside Ramsay. Jealousy and desperation are eating away at the wannabe chefs and with all of them fighting for themselves, the kitchen feels like a pressure cooker. Who can handle the heat and who gets kicked out of the kitchen?.
Three contestants remain and Gordon's order that they serve an entire dining room becomes too much for one contestant who succumbs to fatigue. The contestants serve their signature dishes, but the teammates suffer from one disastrous performance. Who will create the best dish and who will be sent home without his or her just desserts?.
In part 1 of the two-hour season finale, it's down to the final two contestants who have survived the wrath of Ramsay and many disastrous nights at Hell's Kitchen. Ramsay turns HK over to the battling duo by dividing the restaurant in half - with each wannabe chef choosing their own menu and decor.
In part 2 of the two-hour finale, Hell's Kitchen is divided in half, and each of the two finalists completes a dinner service with the concept and menu they designed.