Season four begins with 15 hopefuls playing to win a job as a chef along side Gordon Ramsey in his L.A. restaurant. The contestants will be divided into teams of 'men vs. women' after preparing their signature dish. Gordon will be impressed by most of the entries, but one will make him retch.
The season's first challenge finds the contestants slicing halibut into thin 6 ounce fillets. One member of each team must serve as a maitre d' during the dining service, and one contestant will be eliminated at the shows conclusion.
Live chickens awaken the contestants, followed by a challenge of plucking their morning "wake up callers" and creating a family styled dinner out of them.
The two teams must compete to see who can prepare the most pasta for the evening dinner service, with a trip to Santa Monica for the winners. One contestant winds up in the hospital after an accident in the kitchen.
The chefs receive their first challenge, create a gourmet pizza. The winning team will head to Santa Barbara for a gourmet meal, while the losers will be sentenced to taking pizza orders during dinner service and then deliver them, at which one contestant is rushed to the hospital after suffering an accident.
A fantasy birthday celebration is the order of the day for the remaining aspiring chefs. The chefs cook for a sweet 16 party, but the mood in Hell's Kitchen is anything but sweet. One chef must face Ramsay's wrath when a diner sends back undercooked meat. And in a surprise twist, a new chef joins one of the teams at the episode's elimination ceremony.
The nine remaining chefs are challenged to compete in a taste test, with the winner receiving a day at the spa and the losers sent to clean the dorm. Once the dinner ervice is completed, Chef Ramsay must decide on which tastes worse, raw food or a lack or communication within the kitchen.
The group dynamics are drastically changed when Chef Ramsey asks for a volunteer to switch sides. This week's challenge consists of creating 4 new dishes from 20 ingredients. One chef requires a medic after injuring himself during the challenge.
A relay race puts both teams to the test, with a sunny reward on the line. To up the stakes, the losing team faces a top-to-bottom complete restaurant cleaning. At the evening's dinner service, the teams are required to serve items from menus that they each created. One chef is called out for serving a disgusting extra ingredient in the food - their own sweat. Chef Ramsay makes an unprecedented move at the evening's elimination.
The two teams are combined to create a single team. Each chef is asked to create a dish designed specifically to please Chef Ramsay centered around a single main ingredient. The new unified team struggles to complete its first service together. Two chefs scheme together to plot another's downfall. The winner of the challenge is invited on a very special trip - a visit to Vegas and a meeting with Rock Harper, the winner of the show's third season. The show's medics are put the test when things once again get a little too hot. One chef goes ballistic when the pressure of the evening's dinner service gets to be just a bit too much.
Chef Ramsey challenges the five remaining contestants to teach cooking impaired housewives how to prepare a gourmet meal, with a winner receiving personal lessons from Chefs Mark Peel and Ben Ford. The dinner service finds all the chefs struggling with a dozen of appetizers, main courses and desserts.
The final four contestants are challenged to cook a meal for 80 expectant moms. A ,000 shopping spree is awaiting the chosen winner, while the others will be left to clean up after the luncheon. Chef Ramsey's hand is burned during the dinner service by one careless contestant, angering him.
The pressure is at an absolute boiling point as the three chefs remaining try their hardest to reach the final two. Chef Ramsay brings in a group of surprise guests whom serve each the aspiring chefs a breakfast they must then attempt to recreate. Each of the remaining chefs is given a chance at running the hot plate, but must face tests designed by Chef Ramsay.
The two finalists are prepared to be judged by chef Ramsey's executive chefs from around the world, as they visit Gordon Ramsey's New York restaurant to create their signature dishes. Back in Los Angeles, they will be challenged to design and run their own restaurant.
The two finalists are faced with the ultimate test at the final dinner service when they must work together with previously eliminated chefs; the winner of the fourth season of the program is determined.