Chef Ramsay reserves the elimination decisions to himself. However, he asks for nominees so he can check the judgment and critical thinking skills of the losing team's members.
Not just the judgement and critical thinking, but also the ability to act as a leader. Remember, he's looking for someone who can rein in a herd of chefs and keep them putting out food that is at his standard, often without his direct supervision.
The entire format of the show can be seen as a Secret Test of Character for what are essentially, the final eighteen candidates of an extended job interview process to see if they are truly doing this for the right reasons. Are you here to be a Reality Television star, or are you here to be a chef? Hence the tendency towards Dark Horse Victories.
The openings for some of the seasons actually have subtle hints to contestants' personality or their standing in the show. For example:
In Season 6, the circus themed opening, has Joseph try the test your strength game and he sucks at it (representing his asshole personality and his ego problems) along with the sign saying "weak". The next person up is Ariel who scores a flawless victory, indicating how she made it to the final three. Louie is trapped in a crystal ball and rolls off as he was the first to be eliminated. Tenille is acting as the fortune-teller, highlighting her sassy attitude. Malinda is shown throwing knives but has horrible aim, indicating how she's not putting it together. Van is on the bed of needles and then pricks himself, indicating that underneath his chill personality, there's a spike of anger in him (as seen with him and Jean Philippe in the second episode). Jim is the moles in the Whack-a-Mole game, referencing his annoying personality, and the one doing the whacking is Andy, who just wipes the sweat off of his brow to show that he was very inefficient in the kitchen. Suzanne is the tightrope walker as she was teetering on the edge of being one of the best/worst contestants that season. Robert, the last contestant shown, is the fire blower but he didn't do so hot in the last season and acted somewhat more like a bag of wind. Kevin makes some carrots vanish and underneath the table is Amanda, who acts like an assistant. Amanda was on Kevin's team in the finale and the reason why he ended up in second place. Sabrina is part of a knife thrower act, noting her close calls. Lovely is spinning dishes with a grin on her face, representing that she's nothing more than a pretty face. Tek knocks down targets of Jean Philippe and Scott with tomatoes, which looks like she's going to win the competition... but the person after her is Dave who just slowly backs off which represents how he knocked out the competition, not her. Tony is a half-man, half-donkey, which is pretty explanatory.
In Season 7, there was the fire and brimstone opening. Mikey was the first person shown, and was dizzy under Ramsay's stirring, showcasing how he was the weakest blue chef. Holli was the first female shown, as she was the winner of that season. Ed is seen surfing, only to wipe out (he was a strong competitor in the first half until he started making more mistakes later on). Shibon was crushed under a meteor (as she was picked on a lot) while Nilka is seen controlling a flame while Stacy is struggling (Nilka was a strong chef, while Stacey was the first eliminated). Fran is seen sharpening a knife (a subtle hint that she was on the chopping block for most of her time in the competition), while Salvatore is seen praying before shrugging at the camera (despite being the nicest chef, he was also one of the weakest). Jamie is seen setting a dish on fire (showcasing her inconsistency) while Jay grabs a marshmallow on fire without flinching (he was one of the strongest chefs this season, and made it to the final two with Holli). Finally, Scott is seen with a whip, hint that he is attempting to be a leader, but was terrible at it.
The Season 4 opening, where everyone is tiny, has Jen operating the knobs to raise the heat on the stove. Above her is Christina, calm and dusting her sleeves. This shows how Jen wanted to get rid of the competition, but Christina stood tall and won in the end. Sharon is shown on a ladle, blowing a kiss, representing how her cooking skills weren't up to par and she was just there standing pretty, and she's the last female contestant introduced. Petrozza is the first contestant shown and he's in a fighting stance, reflecting how he made it to the finals. Shayna and Ben, in that order, are holding the meal ticket. They are eliminated one after another. Dominic is shown wiping his forehead and posing cool, but he's the first contestant eliminated. Corey catches a tomato Rosann tosses and sets it down for Dominic, representing her supporting role at the later half of the season. Vanessa looks down on Louross, symbolizing how she was eliminated early on due to her hand injury and thus watches from the sidelines.
Season 3, the one with the extremely hot kitchen, shows Tiffany scowling and shaking her head, relating to how she was The Bully to Julia. She's the last female contestant introduced, relating to how she's the first competitor to leave. Rock is flexing his muscles as if he's done something important (which is winning the competition) and after him is Bonnie who blows a kiss and winks to say that she's more than just a pretty face, because she was the runner-up for that season. Eddie, the second male contestant introduced, is flexing his arm in an attempt to show how strong he is, but he ended up being the second to be eliminated. Brad is pointing at someone as if challenging them, relating to his small rivalry with Rock. He's the 5th to be introduced and was eliminated halfway into the season. Aaron and Jen are introduced one after another as parallels: Aaron was third contestant eliminated, and Jen ended up in third place. Plus they are the third to last contestants shown for the red and blue teams, respectively. Also, Jen is introduced prior to both Rock and Bonnie. Julia is introduced as the third female contestant but prior to Jen and Bonnie as she eliminated before them. Joanna is the second female contestant introduced and she's the second female contestant to leave that season. Vinnie is introduced winning and a big grin on his face, but his cooking was less than stellar.
In Season 9, the pinball machine intro, the first contestant introduced is Paul. Paul was the winner of the competition that season. Also, the last contestant shown was Will who got runner-up. Elise is the second-to-last shown and is shown pushing Will aside representing her manipulative behavior and the fact that she almost got Will to quit.
In Season 11, the transforming kitchen gadget/apocalypse scenario, Nedra's shown firing her blow-torch at a refrigerator and then blowing on the flame, revealing her sassy attitude. Jon comes after Cyndi and Zach, deflecting lasers with a serving dish that highlights his Badass status. Dan trips on his own feet and Barrett tries to make a dashing leap but fails representing that their own problems (Dan's ego and Barrett's own incompetence) prevents them from succeeding. Jacqueline and Christian are shown side by side, but they are eliminated one after another. Mary and Anthony are side-by-side, swatting the enemies with little effort, showing that they are pretty competent, with Mary eventually becoming runner-up that season. Janel is shown turning a timer up and crouching down, showing her smarts. Gina slices up a small flier in contrast to everyone else fighting big mechas, showing off that she wasn't as powerful a chef as the others. Susan watches a mecha fly over, representing that she wasn't a figther and also that she has the least experience in cooking when compared to the other black jackets.
In Season 1, there's a more subtle example: the opening is simply multiple portraits of each contestant flashing by, as Chef Ramsay shakes his head and frowns at each one...except when the portrait of the person who eventually becomes the winner flashes by. That picture gets a smile from Ramsay instead. If you pay close attention to the expressions on Ramsay's face in the Season 1 opening, you can figure out which contestant ultimately will get the prize.
Season 12's intro shows all the contestants in a noir-esque comic book, where they are all involved in some sort of illegal activity, hinting at the fact that most (if not all) of the contestants this year are shady and fairly cutthroat. Anton is the first one shown, and he was the first contestant to present his signature dish. Sandra then smashes Anton's foot with something which causes him to trip, showing not only her sneaky and underhanded ways but also Anton's eventual fall from grace in the competition being eliminated at episode 14 with bonus points showing how he was pretty much decimated by women (seeing as he went to the Red Team and bad mouthed Andi). Kashia and Rochelle play tug-of-war, and Kashia loses the briefcase to Rochelle, as she lost her cool once in the final 6. Following that, Rochelle also accidentally flings that same briefcase to Jason, which also hints that she lost her chance to be in the final two—you could say it slipped through Rochelle's fingers since she accidentally cut her thumb in "Five Chefs Compete". Jason has the caption "A stroke of luck" because he's back in the competition and made it to the final two. Gaurav crashes his car, symbolizing his incompetence as he was the first one eliminated, while Bev rides in the passenger seat, showing how she was just along for the ride with the red team and ended up eliminated early because she was not strong enough to be the "driver". Melanie picked up the briefcase after Jason dropped it, but when she placed it on the bench and looked away, DeMarco easily snatched it which reflects on how Melanie's minor mishaps and inconsistencies prevented her from making the finals. Richard is the chef shown in silhouette like in a slasher film, suggesting he's a very fierce competitor, but is really the opposite, being more mature and composed. Jessica appears right after Richard (the two were forced to compete head-to-head in the "Cook For Your Life" challenge); she stands on the rooftop looking down, which is symbolic with her homeless past. She passes the briefcase off to Joy (who was also homeless), who drops it, symbolizing how she had the whole competition in her hands but lost it when she quit and stormed out of dinner service in "Five Chefs Compete". Gabriel drops a stick of dynamite from a helicopter, representing the figurative bomb he dropped on the team in episode 10 when he lied to Chef Ramsay about the team's nominees; Scott watches this bomb drop, and has a reaction along the lines of "what the hell?!" considering that he keeps being nominated over and over again, mostly for petty reasons. Ralph can't jump high enough to reach the thrown briefcase, showing off his inferiority problems. Chris gets knocked over the head with a rolling pin (by sous chef Andi), knocking him out; he had trouble rolling pizzas in episode 7, which knocked him out of the competition.
In the season 13 gladiator opening, Katie and JR are chased by lions, showing they are weak performers, and La Tasha threw a tomato at JP. La Tasha is shown to be one of the stronger chefs (and the winner), while JP is the first one eliminated. Aaron gets hit by a chariot and Roe gets hit by flaming arrows, showing their inconsistencies. Sterling gets shot down, showing that the other chefs hated him and he missed out on black jackets, followed by Frank, who wasn't a very good chef. Sade and Santos are shown being strong, and they both made it to black jackets.
Season 14's intro showed the chefs in a jungle setting. Josh appeared before Allison, showing that Josh beat her to the black jackets. Michelle had a banana taken from her by a monkey, which shows how the other chefs treated her badly. Cameron and Monique ran from a charging elephant, showing how weak they were. Christine and Michael are walking on an unstable bridge, showing their inconsistencies. Brendan is trying to swat a fly away, resembling him coming under attack the night he was sent home. Bret, a strong blue team member who was forced to leave due to back problems, is overpowering Chrissa, the weakest chef on the red team and the first out. Meghan is swinging on a vine like Tarzan, showing her status as queen of the jungle (she went to win that season).
In Season 15's Death Mountain intro, Kevin and Vanessa were seen sitting roasting marshmallows until Joe poured gasoline into the fire. Kevin and Vanessa were the weakest chefs this season while Joe made it to the top 10. Dannie and Alan are arguing over map directions, showing their arrogance in both teams, as their map flies away and onto Hassan, showing that he was an early front runner until he messed up too much. Both Meese and Chad are climbing a mountain ridge looking worried, as both were eliminated due to lack of confidence. Jackie throws a snowball at Sherkena and later the gondala lift containing the Sous Chefs, which highlights her bullying nature and conflict with Sous Chef Christine. Ariel and Mark were walking side by side before jumping to dodge a giant snowball behind them (Mark was first out while Ariel was the winner). Finally, Frank was the first male (and first person) shown, while Jared was the last male (and final person) shown, hinting that Jared got to the black jackets while Frank was eliminated during the team section.
In Season 16's kitchen chaos intro, Heather and Ryan were the first two female chefs to appear (they were the final two that year), while Heidi was the final female chef to appear (she was in the final three with the aforementioned two). Paulie, the first male chef, is seen tripping over himself (he was a strong cook at first, but his rising arrogance led to his downfall), while Aziza accidentally hits Devin with a frying pan (the latter was disliked by most of the blue team that season). Gia is sauteing mushrooms before tossing the pan aside (she was eliminated for giving up control of garnish, and based on her face, she did not give a damn about her time in the competition) and both Kimberly and Aaron are seen putting out a fire (both had a factor of five between them; Aaron was the fifth person eliminated, while Kimberly finished fifth). Matt is seen tossing food at somebody, showcasing his rude behavior, and both Koop and Wendy collide with each other, dropping their pans in the process (both showed inconsistency throughout the competition). Finally, Johnny is seen tossing food like Matt, but more frantically (he sunk the blue team by not searing the fish off in time, and he poorly tried to deflect the blame).
The Season 3's Red team can be divided between Hell's Angels (Bonnie, Julia and Jen) and Hell's Bitches (Tiffany, Joanna and Melissa). They are pretty good foils to one another if one thinks about it.
First, Julia (short-order cook, age 28) vs Tiffany (kitchen manager, age 27). At first, it seems as if Tiffany is the more competent member (her signature dish was praised by Ramsay, whereas Julia's had too much pepper), but Tiffany's failure with the quail eggs and her lambasting Julia to get everyone to pity her makes her out as a jerkass who doesn't even recognize that she is the reason for Julia's breakdown. Moreover, Tiffany's job is a kitchen manager who are mostly known for making sure a kitchen in a restaurant is up and running, where Julia is actually the cook who works in the kitchen. Last, Ramsay's reason for eliminating Tiffany was because the only thing she brought out of "attention to detail, passion and hard work" was the work ethic. Julia not only has the hard work but also the passion, which comes from her desire to show the world that she can cook, proven when Ramsay promises to send her to culinary school and his remark on her was that she had natural ability.
Next, Jen (pastry chef, age 26) vs Joanna (assistant chef, 22). Joanna stated during the signature dish challenge that she would do anything to get on Ramsay's good side (with Ramsay not giving a crap about that). Jen is more of a Nice Girl who would work hard. Moreover, on the night they were up for elimination Jen honestly takes the blame for accidentally throwing away the pasta and then washing it upon realizing her mistake, while Joanna served rancid crab yet didn't realize the gravity of her mistakes. Not to mention that Joanna also was a complete jerk to Julia above, siding with Tiffany because "It would make her [Julia] look bad". Jen was given praise for her skills when she was eliminated, but Joanna was commented on how she gave up and screwed over her team. Last, Joanna's the third contestant eliminated—Jen got third place.
Last, Bonnie (personal chef, age 26) vs Melissa (line chef, age 29). Like Tiffany above, Melissa was praised for her signature dish while Bonnie wasn't. Melissa was shown to be a good leader in regards to calling out Tiffany's behavior while Bonnie was shown struggling. By the halfway point, it became the exact opposite. Bonnie began to become a better chef while Melissa went through a Madness Makeover and Leader Wannabe phase, having similar attitude problems that were noted in Tiffany and Joanna. In the lobster challenge, Bonnie and Melissa were head to head and Bonnie snagged the victory with her creative dish. Ramsay even notes how Melissa went from a great chef to one so horrible, where Bonnie ended up as runner-up that season.
Why does Season 12 have a special comic book opening? Because episode 17 of that season has Stan Lee coming in as a guest!
Several contestants have served pre-made food in the signature dish challenge (including, but not limited to, season 3's Rock, season 9's Jonathon, season 12's Mike, and season 14's Monique), which makes one wonder why they even have access to anything other than fresh ingredients. It's another test; Ramsay wants to know what kind of chefs would take the easy way out if they could.
Gizzy, Heather, and Jose were seen together side by side in that order. All three of them participated in the Cook For Your Life Challenge that season, and all three of them were eliminated.
Though in all fairness, while the service did have a bit of a rough start, it went along pretty well afterwards for the most part.
A similar situation happens again in the season 12 finale when Scott picked Chris and Ralph first for his team, despite both being eliminated early in the competition. But in all fairness, both put in strong performances, helping Scott win the competition..
Kids being on Hell's Kitchen is not so much Fridge Logic, but why is it they are familiar with a show where the bleep o fucking meter is 30-40 per episode for Chef Ramsay alone?
Their parents allowed them to watch it, duh.
TV shows tend to have more of a bleep o bleeping meter, especially when they are network shows aired before the watershed. Plus, with Ramsay dropping Cluster F Bombs, combined with the sheer variety of profanity that he brings to the table, it can be difficult for adult viewers to decipher what he says, let alone for kids to translate it.
When chefs get eliminated, they take off their jacket and exit out of the front door. Then all the other chefs go back to the dorms and things proceed as usual. But what about all their stuff (clothes, luggage, etc.)? They're never seen in the dorm again packing up their things. Does somebody else do it for them?
Odds are that, unless they are leaving under less than ideal conditions -like Joseph after his infamous tantrum- the chefs either go up and get their stuff after their final interview or they have already gotten their stuff prior to the interview. The ones who are eliminated mid-service (like Josh in Season 3) are shown getting their stuff before they leave the building.
Those who are eliminated are escorted to a nearby hotel/facility to receive psychological counseling and pampering due to the stress of the competition. While they're being eased out of the competition their belongings are collected by a show's staff member or fellow contestant.
For season 3's duck breast, what were they planning to do with it if it had been cooked properly?