There was much discussion among “Hell’s Kitchen” regulars after Friday’s finale about whether Ariel Fox (seen above), a veteran contestant who came in third place on Season 6, should have taken a backseat to rookie Mia Castro, whose inventive dishes were just slightly better than Fox’s menu. Over 100 commenters felt the need to further vent on the outcome. In our post-showdown poll, Ariel was declared the rightful winner because she made good food and truly excelled as a leader in the kitchen by 45% of voters. Another 18%, who admired Mia’s culinary creativity in challenges, still thought the rookie lacked people skills and often lost focus during dinner services.
Only 7% thought it was a bad sign when Gordon Ramsay sampled Ariel’s final dishes and found all of them had flaws. In the end, she took his advice and quickly fixed the problems. Still, 24% thought Mia won the challenge and came up with a superior courses for the dinner service. Then there are the 6% who wished Motto, who decided to drop out for personal reasons when he made it to the final four, could have gone all the way.
The comments were more divisive than the poll would lead you to believe. The good news is that Ariel is the 12th female winner of ‘Hell’s Kitchen” and it was the sixth time when two female chefs faced off against each other. What follows is a sampling of comments, pro and con for Ariel and for Mia.
Sophia wrote: “Ariel proved herself by coming back to Hell’s Kitchen with more confidence, better leadership skills and correcting what caused her demise in Season 6. What I liked about Ariel is that she was humble and strong. I do like Mia but she across as being a tad bit cocky and tried to sell herself too hard. Ariel listened and learned from Chef Ramsay. She grew and learned a lot from this season! Congratulations, Ariel would love to meet you and taste your dishes one day! Best of luck on your new adventure!! I am a fan!”
Carrie wrote: “Ariel was the only choice. She’s a wonderful chef and she can lead. Mia needs a bit of age to get out of her ME phase. Almost every interview & confessional she talked about her, her, her where as Ariel’s maturity showed through as she was far more inclusive in her praise. I think Chef Ramsey recognized that Ariel could take criticism and adjust and that Mia could not. She fell apart even while things were going good. Also Chef Christina, who is Ramsey’s right hand in the states, was a big supporter of Ariel so I’m sure that also fed into his decision which was definitely the correct one. I can’t wait to eat at her restaurant in Vegas.”
Robin wrote: “Ariel deserved every bit of this win! I don’t recall ever seeing her flustered. She was a class act through the entire season. Kept her wits about her no matter what what was happening. I liked Mia. I even rooted for her throughout the season. To me, her and Ariel were the 2 front runners from the beginning and that never changed in my mind. She did have some awesome dishes. But she had meltdowns where she had absolutely no idea what was going on. Several times she had the deer in the headlights look. I think one day she will be a fabulous chef. I just think she needs to grow a bit more. And not on the food side. She has that down. She needs more experience in life under pressure, how to handle it, rise above and push through. I really hope Chef Ramsey brings her back in a few years. Congratulations to Ariel! You are the BOMB DIGGITY!!”
Emma wrote: “I’ve seen every episode of Hell’s Kitchen and I’ve never disagreed with him until today. It is clear that favoritism is the one and only reason the less than sub-par Ariel pulled through and stole the rightful spot of the only shining star in the competition- Mia. I never disagree with Ramsey and I watch every single one of his shows. This was the first time he’s ever let me down. He’s always done the right thing until now, he knows it, I know it, Ariel knows it and Mia knows it. Mia never would have been up for elimination if she wasn’t being bullied by chefs who were afraid of her – period. He should watch back the entire season, all the behind the scenes. He will realize he made a huge mistake.”
Kin writes: “Agree Mia got to end despite constant bias by most others using lame excuses to belittle her though she ruled challenges. Ariel was chosen because she was a veteran and Mia has more future opportunities, so Ramsey gave the pity vote to Ariel vs Mia. They were BOTH good by end, not to say Ariel didn’t also earn it, but I just believe if all rookies, Mia is the obvious winner. Ariel can’t return to try again, but Mia can if needed.”
Marisol writes: “Mia should have won! She had the best palette. Won all her challenges. Mia took control of her brigade and to top it Ramsey loved all her food in the finale. I don’t understand what the hell Ramsey was thinking. It was so disappointing…”
In either case, both women seem to have a bright culinary future ahead of them. And Mia could definitely come back for another all-star season.