Chef Ramsay introduces himself to the 16 new contestants by announcing that they are expected to complete their very first dinner service. He then divides them into two teams, men vs. women, and sends them to the kitchen to prepare their signature dishes. After presenting the dishes to Chef Ramsay, he sends them up to study the menu and prepare for dinner service, which, unfortunately, does not go as he had hoped.
The first team challenge is to make eggs four ways, and the team with the most properly cooked eggs wins a helicopter tour high above Los Angeles. During dinner service, both teams struggle with communication, but an argument between a chef and Ramsay could cause one team to go down in flames.
Chef Ramsay instructs a lesson in teamwork tonight as the chefs are tasked with serving lunch to hungry members of the University of Southern California Trojan Marching Band and Song Girls. That evening during dinner service, both teams feel the pressure, but the red team gets especially heated after one contestant on the red team gets burned.
The two teams are challenged two each create a dish based on ingredients chosen by rolling dice with letters on them. Though one team makes some strange choices, the results end up being close, with the final determination coming down to the quality of the cooking rather than the nature of the dishes.
"Hell's Kitchen" does barbecue for the first time ever, and the chefs are challenged to prepare pork-themed dishes with their chosen ingredients. But when the red team fails to keep cool under pressure, Chef Ramsay gives them a piece of his mind.
When it comes to judging good food, mother knows best. The chefs are tasked with preparing dishes representing each of the five "mother sauces", and two surprise judges show up to decide which dishes stand out. For the evening's dinner service, it's family night and the pint-sized customers couldn't be more finicky, rowdy and demanding. As tempers flare, one contestant is sent home and Chef Ramsay surprises everyone by throwing in an unexpected twist.
Chef Ramsay turns Hell's Kitchen into an upscale deli when he challenges each contestant to create an original gourmet sandwich. While the winning team is treated to an amazing retreat in wine country, the losing team is left behind to perfect the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Later, Chef Ramsay gets into an angry confrontation - with a disgruntled customer - during a disastrous dinner service. Meanwhile, when Chef Ramsay switches up the teams, the contestants face a different challenge: adjusting to their new teammates while reinventing a wedding menu for a 50th anniversary party.
The remaining aspiring chefs compete in the eighth episode of the competition.
Because he believes chefs must have superior palates, Ramsay puts the contestants' taste buds to the test in a blind tasting challenge. Although identifying foods comes easily, the contestants quickly realize they are in the dark when it comes to naming flavors. Later, during dinner service, the teams put their creativity to the test when they are asked to create an original menu. Then, the chefs' challenge features an ingredient that causes some contestants to snap. The evening's dinner service provides a new challenge as the teams are combined into one and race against the clock to serve patrons before the last curtain falls.
The chefs are challenged to create their own unique lobster dishes. The dishes are judged by Michelin-starred chefs, with Gordon Ramsay left to break a tie after two chefs' dishes are rejected for simply not being cooked to par. The winning team enjoys a visit to a caviar house followed by a shopping spree, while the losing team is made to clean the dorms, then prep both kitchens for service. Gordon Ramsay delivers a surprise by ordering the two teams to work together to complete a dinner service with a time limit of 2 and 1/2 hours. The pressure proves too much for one, leading to a complete meltdown and ejection during service. The dinner service, however, is ultimately a great success, leading to another surprise at the elimination.
The six remaining aspiring chefs work together for the first time as one team. The chefs are presented with a challenge requiring them to come up with a creative dish using cheap ingredients. Switching stations create added pressure during service.
The remaining aspiring chefs compete in the twelfth episode of the season.
The remaining chefs compete in the thirteenth episode of the season and struggle against the pressure with only four chefs left. The chefs are challenged to teach bachelors how to prepare monkfish. During service, a chef is called out for sabotaging another. A budding romance forces Chef Ramsay to make a difficult decision.
The four remaining chefs are given a taste of the Savoy Grill, then told to recreate one of the dishes that they just tasted. A chef makes a bold move that doesn't pay off, while the winner of the challenge spends time with their family on a yacht. The losers are forced to clean the dorms of the detritus of past contestants. The next day, one of the losers awakes with heavy back pain that threatens to take them out of the competition. Following a near-quit, this contestant vows to push through. During the evening's dinner service, Chef Ramsay tests each chef by having them run the pass. Each of them face sabotage during their turn at the hot plate, but not all catch it. Following the service, Chef Ramsay eliminates two chefs, revealing the final two that will compete in the grand finale.
The final two chefs compete to be the winner of Hell's Kitchen. Both are given a preview of what they could win and face their toughest challenge yet. One of the two is declared the winner of Hell's Kitchen, earning 0,000 and a position at the Savoy Hotel in London.