“I think I blacked out the majority of the last day,” admits Alex Belew, the winner of “Hell’s Kitchen: Battle of the Ages.” The 40-year old from Murfreesboro, Tennessee defeated Dafne Mejia and Alejandro Najar on Thursday’s Season 21 finale. Watch our video interview above.
Alex took home a $250,000 cash prize and the head chef position at Gordon Ramsay‘s brand new Hell’s Kitchen Caesar’s Atlantic City. This cycle, well-seasoned 40-somethings took on fresh up-and-coming 20-somethings in a battle of the ages. 18 all-new chef-testants entered the kitchen, with Christina Wilson and Jason “Jay” Santos returning as sous-chefs for the Red Team and Blue Team, respectively.
SEE Everything to know about ‘Hell’s Kitchen 21’: Meet the 18 chef-testants competing
“I didn’t know which way it was going to go,” Alex says about reaching the end with Dafne. “She’s young. Gordon typically picks the younger people to win. I’m by far the oldest to ever win ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ by four or five years. I didn’t think my door handle was going to open, honestly. Dafne’s creative. She had this arc at the end where she was winning the Trejo’s taco thing, she won the Entertainment Weekly thing, she was on that upward spiral.”
He compares winning the competition to “getting the best Yelp review you could ever get.” After walking through that door and realizing he had won, Alex fell to his knees. “To see my wife’s reaction — she had this mixture of joy, and excitement, and she was doing this shaking, convulsing, jumping, crying, laughing thing. I don’t even know if she could recreate that. It was the coolest experience. I just remember hitting my knees and I couldn’t believe it.”
Throughout our interview Alex discusses selling his restaurant just days before entering the competition, his own depression at the time, which of his “Hell’s Kitchen” competitors he clashed with and those brutal punishments he endured.
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