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Heartwarming / Hell's Kitchen

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Though Chef Ramsay can be quite nasty, when somebody with real skill comes to Hell's Kitchen, he doesn't hesitate to recognize it.

Multiple seasons

  • Ramsay often lets the third-place finisher keep their jacket as a sign of respect and as encouragement for them to keep their dreams of being an executive chef alive.
  • After what the chefs go through throughout the show, the family visits can be heartwarming.
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  • The finale when the winner is revealed is incredibly heartwarming.

Season 1

  • Jimmy had perpetually been the Team Butt-Monkey, especially due to his size, with nearly every other thing Gordon telling him having some variant on "fat fuck." In the end though, he made it to the final five, and even went in strong by winning the challenge on his final episode. Though he was eliminated, Ramsay reminded him before taking his jacket that he should be proud to have made it so far, and that he did a damn good job. This was the first time that Ramsay has eliminated anyone with more than a "Give me your chef's jacket and get out."
  • Elsie; unlike Julia from Season 3, Elsie had no cooking background and was labeled as a "Mother of Six". She somehow made it to the top 4, and after going through a lousy service (due in part by her accidentally saying on LIVE TV that she won a challenge, making her competitors team up against her), was sent up for elimination. Ramsay actually took note and gave her a second chance to call someone out. She decided to take the blow and got eliminated, but Ramsay congratulated her and kissed her.
    Ramsay: Keep smiling. You light up the place when you smile.

Season 2

  • After Rachel forgets to get money when getting ice, some customers are able to pitch in and allow her to get the ice.
    • Additionally, during her elimination, Ramsay does praise her for being an incredibly hard worker and for busting her ass. This, and her friendship with Heather, resulted in her being not only chosen first for Heather's team, but also being the chef who wanted Heather to win the most.

Season 3

  • Ramsay showed a lot of compassion and understanding for Aaron, who had a terrible time with nerves, breaking down before the first service. He then collapsed during the punishment in the third episode and was hospitalized. Fast forward to episode three of season four, and at the restaurant, the red team sees Aaron, happy as ever. He says a quick hello and hugs Ramsay before walking off. It was sweet to see him acting much better. It makes knowing his death a few years later even sadder though.
  • Julia, despite being a "mere" Waffle House chef, made it to the final four because of her natural talent and passion (and a generous helping of common sense). When she was eliminated, Gordon paid for her to attend cooking school. Her elimination shocked the other chefs; she was a good friend to Jen and Bonnie, who tearfully hug each other as Juila leaves, and also Rock, who considered her a Worthy Opponent and inspiration. Ramsay heartbreakingly states, "I'm really sorry. It's Julia," and wishes her to come back after her stay at cooking school and "win the competition hands down."

Season 4

  • In episode 2, Petrozza was thrown out for forgetting the menu and almost quit the show. Bobby, after a terrible first service, helped Petrozza get back on his feet, making sure he was alright before helping him remember the menu. Petrozza never once appeared to show any disrespect or anger towards Bobby, picking Bobby first for his team when he made it to the final.
  • In episode 5, Petrozza fooled Chef Scott by slicing meat to pass it off as "steaks" and bail Louross out. In a show that often involves contestants throwing each other under the bus, Petrozza did this only with the goal of helping Louross out.
  • In episode 7, after a particularly bad service, the men came up with a plan to cause a deadlock by nominating each other. Petrozza, however, refused to go along with the plan and nominated himself, saying his teammates were hard workers and good guys. Ramsay responded by calling Petrozza "the most gracious man on that team" and "a true gentleman", with Petrozza thanking him by saying, "Coming from you, Chef, that means a lot." Christina then held his hand as they walked out of the kitchen.
  • In episode 12, each of the chefs had to write down two names to nominate for elimination that weren't their own and not the same name twice. Jen tried to sabotage voting by voting twice for Christina, so Christina, Corey, and Petrozza came together to plot getting her eliminated. They nominated Corey to get Jen eliminated. She gets scared it will backfire, so Petrozza comforts her and offers to nominate himself.
    • This is also heartwarming as Corey, the same person who nominated Christina in episode 2 for no other reason than she hated her, immediately noticed that Christina's name was written down twice by the same person, as she didn't write down Christina's name and asked Christina if she wrote her own name down, showing how much she's matured and how much she respects Christina enough to prevent Jen from cheating.
  • In Episode 14, when past the past competitors come back for the final challenge, the men are clearly excited and happy to see Petrozza in the finals.

Season 5

  • Ji, a strong competitor, withdrew in the second episode after twisting her ankle and being confined to a wheelchair, sparing Colleen and Lacey from elimination. Ramsay praised her courage and skill, and she became the first chef to be allowed to keep her jacket as a sign of her bravery. As Andrea helped her leave, the men gave her a standing ovation.
  • Lacey, in all her whiney, moany, give-up-before-you-even-start glory is less-than welcome in the men's team. However, during a punishment the team faced, folding origami pieces, Lacey happens to know what to do and happily teaches the rest of the team. It wasn't enough to completely redeem her for her past attitudes, but it offered a small moment the team were on good terms with her.
  • JP gave Andrea a pep-talk and encouraged her to go back in and, "give it to Gordon."
  • Robert took a turn in jackass when he started showing attitude and refusing to listen to Ramsay, earning his wrath. However, he decided to schedule a meeting with Ramsey in his office after a day's work. During this, Ramsay learns Robert's rebellion was sparked, among other things, by Ramsay constantly calling him "Bobby". Bobby was the name of his father, who he was not on good terms with, and so Ramsey's use of "Bobby" caused flashbacks. When he learns this, Ramsay immediately understands and promises Robert he will refer to him by his preferred name from now on. While he had choice words of his earlier attitude, he decided against sending him home that night. This is especially touching when you realise Ramsey was also abused by his father, so he immediately understood why Robert's performance had been suffering.
  • Robert, after making it to the top five, had to withdraw due to a heart condition. When he left, Gordon told him "you have been a fantastic competitor. You had the potential to win this competition. Do not ever, ever forget that." And when he was brought back and subsequently eliminated in Season 6, he had a miniature CMoH.
    Robert: You'll see me again as a chef.
    Ramsay: I can't wait to see you again.
  • During the final four's service, one customer asks Ramsay and Jean-Philippe to help him propose to his girlfriend. They agree, and Ramsay writes the proposal in icing on her plate before placing the ring in her dessert. The girlfriend loves and accepts the proposal.
    Ben: It's like being stuck in prison and then being able to look out and see a rainbow. What a special moment to be in Hell's Kitchen, you know?

Season 6

  • After Joseph angrily withdrew in episode 2, calling Ramsay "nothing but a bitch", Ramsay chided him for his lack of respect and kicked him out. The following dinner service, Ramsay spares the chefs after a good dinner service and previously eliminating Tony alongside Joseph. Instead, he states, "I'm nobody's bitch", and teases Amanda over being unable to do simple maths.
  • Staff Sergeant Otis James returning from duty to dine at Hell's Kitchen. The dining room consisted of his family and friends he had missed for years while on duty, and he got to meet a VIP guest... his mother.
  • Tennille was eliminated in the final four after being the only one to have a bad service. Ramsay offered words of encouragement, highlighting that Tennille had "the greatest comeback" he had seen on the show, the four chefs have a group hug, and Tennille is told to leave with her head held high.

Season 7

  • Scott, despite his flaws, made sure to stay up from bed and help Salvatore for service. Thanks to Scott, Salvatore was named the best on his team that night.
  • Salvatore almost walked out after being angrily chastised by Ramsay for his poor handwriting. When the issue came up again two episodes later, he explained that he never went to school because he was always working to try and support his family. Ramsay immediately stops criticizing him and tells him to take his time.
  • At the end of episode 4, due to both teams pulling a great service so early in the competition, named both teams joint winners, and rather than eliminate the nominees, Scott and Autumn, instead switched both of them to the opposite teams and gave them another chance.
  • Nilka completely broke down during a dinner service with black jackets on the line, and Ramsay finally eliminated her on the spot for consistently serving raw food. Nilka, begging for another chance, tried to come back to the kitchen and continue cooking, only to be shunned by everyone. Finally, she packed her bags and left, only to find Ramsay waiting for her near the taxi, much calmer and consoling. He told her to leave with her head held high, and that she really was a good cook who put together some phenomenal things. They parted amicably, and he wished her the best. Afterward, due to the other six handing down a great service after Nilka left, Ramsay gave them all black jackets .
  • After the final four chefs had a great dinner service, Ramsay REFUSED to send anyone home and surprised the chefs with visits from their friends and family. This marked the second time Ramsay refused to eliminate anyone due to good service, the first time mentioned above.
  • Holli's son running up to her with a hug in the finale and then calling her the best chef ever after she won the competition.

Season 8

  • Ramsay asked Rob to give him his jacket, only to surprise him with a clean one. After six awful dinner services, Ramsay, delighted with the improved performance, refused to eliminate anyone.
  • Boris's elimination. Ramsay tells him that he has a big heart, and even says "Thanks for trying." Boris then turns around and wishes everyone good luck, netting friendly waves from the red team, respectful goodbyes from his own team (even Russell), and a "Bye, Boris! I love you!" from Sabrina.
  • Russell won the first individual challenge and was allowed to select one of his five competitors to accompany him on his reward, a tour of the prize restaurant: L.A. Market. Russell chose Gail, who came in second and seemed certain to win until Russell won with a perfect score of 100/100. Ramsay complimented him on the choice, calling it "honorable."

Season 9

  • Will, Paul, and Tommy would usually clap or say their goodbyes to anyone (including members of the red team) that were eliminated, starting with Monterray. The trio also had heartwarming moments, comforting Natalie after her final service and hugging Jennifer when she received her black jacket, telling her she deserved it.
    • Ironically the person who went to the top four alongside them was Elise.
  • In episode 10, after Tommy barely survived elimination over Carrie, the quick shot of Tommy's teammates hugging him is a very heartwarming moment.
  • The marriage proposal during the "romance dinner". While wedding proposals have happened before on Hell's Kitchen, the editing always showed the set up for the wedding proposal. This time, the payoff was the only sign it was going to happen. Seeing the stunned look on the woman's face when the lid came off the dessert, with "Will you marry me?" written underneath it in chocolate sauce...a Tear Jerker of the good sort.
  • In episode 14, Ramsay angrily kicked all of the chefs out when Elise consistently failed to cook fish. Will and Paul, who had done nothing wrong that service, are infuriated they got kicked out, but sous chef Andi then walks in and asks for Will and Paul. It turns out that Ramsay personally requested to have them return to the kitchen to help him complete service.
  • The finale, with Paul's speech for his mother as he was announced the winner.

Season 10

  • In the fifth service, Patrick was kicked out for a poor performance on meat, and was seen crying in the Confession Cam afterward. However, he was not crying because he was kicked out, but because sick kids from the Make A Wish Foundation were in the restaurant that night, and weren't going to be served. Aww...
  • Two moments for Clemenza after surviving elimination. After surviving his first nomination, the opposing Red Team applauded him for his passion. It seemed like he would be eliminated on his third nomination... but Ramsay instead gave him a clean jacket, and he got hugs from Robyn and Brian.

Season 11

  • Nedra sticking up for Mary when she was getting made fun of by the blue team in episode 6. Even though she may be considered a scrappy of the season, she does show that she does care for her team in more ways than one.
  • Ray's elimination. Ramsay tells him that he respects him for coming into the show at age 51 (becoming the show's oldest contestant ever), and the other chefs warmly bid him goodbye as he leaves.
  • While Jon is eliminated right before the finale, Ramsay called him the best chef that the blue kitchen this season had. Not only is he allowed to keep his jacket, but Ramsay told him to stay in touch in case of a job opportunity.
    • He's currently working at "Gordon Ramsay Steak" as a Sous Chef under Christina Wilson.
  • In the finale, Dan, acting like the jerk he was throughout the whole season, was kicked out by Mary for a poor performance on meat. After Ja'Nel won the competition over Mary, Dan gave a passionate Pet the Dog moment to Mary, hugging her and apologizing for his behavior, promising to make it up to her someday.
  • After Ja'Nel failed a drug test and was denied the head's chef job at Caesar's Palace, Ramsay stated that she was still an amazing chef, and that he would help her find a job once she "sorts out her personal issues".
  • Barret got one outside the show, agreeing to take over the popular Facebook group Hells Kitchen Underground and give the group founder time to grieve after her mother passed away.
  • When their families came to visit, Jon spoke of his best friend who passed away, and being there for his son's first day of school.

Season 12

  • In episode 7, the teams were challenged to make gourmet pizzas, and Anton felt a duty to do well, because when his family came to America, they worked their way to success with their pizza shop. The blue team won the challenge, with the pizza created by him and Richard being called the best of the day. As the men went off to get ready for their reward, Anton stepped away and started crying, feeling that he did his parents proud.
    • In an amusing example, their reward was also heartwarming. It was only the blue team's second reward in seven episodes, and they won a yoga session. The men proceeded to fall in love with the female yoga instructor. Chris in particular had his heart won by the instructor, and Gabriel screamed "I love you, Chef Ramsay!"
  • Episode 14 in general for the blue team (Gabriel, Jason, Melanie and Rochelle).
    • Ramsay decided to give Gabriel a pep talk before service. Worried over his inability to fight back after making a mistake, Ramsay proclaimed that nothing would make him happier than Gabriel having a great service that night. Gabriel went onto have his best service yet.
    • Ramsay personally goes over to the meat station, worked by Rochelle, to slice a wellington, finding it cooked to perfection. He confirms that Rochelle (considered the least experienced chef in the competition, only being a catering chef) has never worked in a professional kitchen before, and then compliments her perfectly cooked food, telling her she cooks as though she had been working in a professional restaurant for five years. Considering everything that happened in prior episodes, being chosen for elimination by the red team all because she wanted to start a family at episode 11, struggling when having the deciding vote for who would be eliminated in the blue team in episode 12, and her breakdown during Episode 13, Rochelle was nothing less than happy that Ramsay considered her a potential head chef.
    • And then, to top service off, Ramsay called four forward after service and maintained his proudness of them for a superb service.
  • Scott had a couple in episode 15, comforting Joy after she had her meltdown, and buying his wife clothing during the red team's reward to thank her for looking after the kids, also buying Kashia and Joy things as well.
  • Episode 16 had a few. Gabriel received a warmer farewell from JP than just about any other contestant, Ramsay took the time after service to check on Melanie and give her some advice and Scott asks Andi for advice, which she readily gives him.
  • The way Ramsay brought the final four contestants' loved ones to the restaurant resulted in one of the most heartwarming family reunion moments ever on the show (Scott seeing his wife and kids again was particularly happy-tear jerking).
  • Rochelle, the first one to be eliminated in "Four Chefs Compete" was praised by Ramsay for being the most energetic chef he'd seen and that she would have a bright future wherever she went. Rochelle gets an applause from Scott and Jason, thanks Ramsay from the bottom of her heart and states that one day she will apply to work for Ramsay again, making sure to laugh less.
  • The finale. The finalists, Jason and Scott, are good friends, all the returning chefs have a good attitude (well, except for Sandra) and it was overall one of the best dinner services Ramsay has seen. When the winner is announced, Jason states he's happy for Scott and that he deserves it, while the first thing Scott does is run straight to his family with a big grin on his face. The shots of Chef Andi holding Scott's daughter in her arms, and an earlier shot of Scott's son asleep in his wife's arms are particularly heartwarming.

Season 13

  • Episode 2 had resident goofball Sterling apologizing to resident hot head Bryant for annoying him with his antics. Bryant instantly forgave him and the two guys make up. Sterling may be a goofball but his hearts in the right place.
  • Episode 8 marked the first time that season that both teams completed dinner service without anyone being kicked out. As a reward, Chef Ramsay said he'd "show them a little respect" now that they'd earned it, and not send anyone home.
  • Episode 9 has two:
  • In the beginning of episode 9, Frank handwrites a letter for Ramsay, thanking him for giving him (another) second chance, and he gives him the letter after his team wins the challenge, which Ramsay and the losing blue team find strange. Later, after service, Ramsay eliminates Frank in the post-mortem due to his horrific performance on fish, but as he does so, he tells Frank that he read the letter, and greatly appreciated it, seeming more disappointed than upset that Frank couldn't convey that passion into his performance.
  • In episode 12, Ramsay eliminated Sterling after service, feeling he was not ready to be his head chef. However, Ramsay compliments Sterling's endless optimism and good attitude, and allows him to keep his red jacket in honor of that. Sterling hugs Ramsay and the other chefs, and instead of a walk of shame out the front doors, his closing comments play over him calmly packing up his things and leaving. It's not only probably the best a chef has ever taken their elimination, but it's one of the most heartwarming instances of such.
  • Ramsay telling Sade during her elimination that she's one of the most talented chefs he's ever met, and that he's arranged for her to speak to people in London about working for him. That combined with the usually-Sore Loser taking her loss extremely well makes this undoubtedly one of the most heartwarming moments that season.

Season 14

  • Randy's elimination, where Ramsay tells him that although he is sending him home, he has been one of the fastest learners in Hell's Kitchen history, and that he has done himself and Ramsay proud, as well as his family and country. (He was a military veteran before appearing on Hell's Kitchen.)
  • One of the punishments was making 150lbs of mashed potatoes for a homeless shelter. Milly was crying as he was homeless when he was younger.

Season 15

  • After having an awful first service, Vanessa received little sympathy from her teammates and remarked she missed her mother... until Nice Girl Manda gave her a hug and, also missing her children, remarked "I'll be your mommy, it's ok".
  • Manda and Jared's eliminations, with both being graceful in exit and receiving high praise from Ramsay. Manda encouraged the final four to "be awesome and have fun" and remarked that she was heading back to her children "new and improved". Jared, meanwhile, as the last male chef standing, expressed gratitude at meeting his Star Crossed Lover Ashley and remarked that he was leaving with his head held very high.

Season 16

  • After Aaron is eliminated at the end of the fifth episode due to his lack of confidence, Ramsay takes a moment to tell him that he is a good cook and should not give up on him dreams. While Ramsay offering encouragement to eliminated chefs is nothing new, it is very rare to see him to extend this courtesy to a chef taken out of the game so early.
  • Devin is eliminated for his inconsistent performances throughout the season, but Ramsay praised him for his passion and big heart, urging not to stop. Devin himself thanks Ramsay for the opportunity, that it's been an honor working with everyone, and wished everyone well. Considering the last male chefs that were eliminated didn't leave with good attitudes, it was a breath of relief to see one go out with no ill regards.

Season 17 (All Stars)

  • In the first episode, some of the chefs react with joy and happiness when they meet with friends from the same season, and for the most part, also respect some of the older chefs from the older seasons.
    • Ramsay himself takes time before the judging by asking how the chefs are, and even when he brings up infamous moments (say Giovanni's dickface argument, Van almost punching out Jean Philippe, and the Jared-Ashley saga) it's mostly in a joking manner.
  • In the beginning of episode 5, Robyn is upset about being in the blue team now, and for Ramsay's comment that she wasn't showing the same strength in Season 10. Jared comforts her, and tells her that Ramsay only wants her to show more strength and should not take it too seriously.
  • Even though Giovanni got eliminated in the Cook For Your Life Challenge, Ramsay thanked him for coming back and wished him and his family luck. Giovanni even said during his final confessional that he can't wait to see his daughters again.
  • Robyn and Jennifer's goodbye as the last black jacket was awarded. They became close friends as the season went on, largely forged by uniting against Elise, the unquestioned cancer of the red team.
  • Milly's elimination. Before he left, Ramsay praised his confidence and said he was happy to give him a second chance. Then, he gave Milly an offer to come to Restaurant Gordon Ramsay for a week to stage at his kitchen for a learning experience, an offer Milly took immediately.
  • Nick never hesitated to stand up to Elise bullying his good friend Michelle, not even during the final service. He was beaming with pride over Michelle's victory, one episode after being declared 3rd place with Ramsay playing virtually no role in the decision.

Season 18 (Rookies vs. Veterans)

  • In Episode two, Bret mentions losing both his parents fairly recently while talking with members of the blue team in the dorms. He cited their memory as his motivation, and dedicated his next service to them. He won the subsequent challenge which included both the first ever "Punishment Pass" and would have his risotto dish replace the Hell's Kitchen standard lobster risotto for the season.
  • In Episode six, Chris decided that he had to leave the competition as he was on the verge of a total breakdown due to issues from his massive accident nine months before coming on the show. When both Sous Chef Christina and Ramsay learned of this, they were very sympathetic, with Ramsay proving he was a Jerk with a Heart of Gold by urging Chris to seek professional help.
    • When both teams learned that Chris was gone due to his mental health issues, Bret wanted to win the night's service for him. And the Red Team won with a near-flawless service.
  • In Episode 14, Motto decided he would quit the competition to focus on bringing his learned knowledge from Hell’s Kitchen to Baton Rouge. Ramsay called him a gentlemen for such a decision, and asked Motto to call him when he is done with his work there. He also got to keep his jacket.
    • Also in the following episode, Motto, despite quitting, was allowed to compete in the finals as a returning chef, unlike in previous seasons where quitters lost their chance to cook in the finale. Ramsay really must have respected his decision to make an exception.
  • When Bret was eliminated, Ramsay told him that his parents would be very proud on how far he made it this time. Even if Bret is considered a Base-Breaking Character for a lot of fans, it is heartwarming to see him make it farther this season after being forced out the competition during Season 14 due to a slipped disc.
  • After winning the title of Executive Chef at the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, Ariel offered Mia, the runner-up, a job at the restaurant should an opening arise there. This speaks volumes about the friendship between the Final Two!

Season 19 (Las Vegas)

  • When Jordan mentioned being a recovering alcaholic and possibly relapsing if she loses the competion, Kori encourages her to not give up.
  • During one particularly good dinner service for the red team, Gordon takes Nikki aside not to scold or or warn her, but instead mention how impressed he is, seeing someone from a small town with little professional experience cooking at a level greater than he ever expected.
  • While out on their shopping spree reward, Kori and Cody get gifts for their other two teammates, giving Declan some cookware and Mary Lou the same blender she was devastated at missing on due to losing a challenge.
  • Nikki fails the last challenge to get a black jacket, but Gordon commends her for being the most improved chef in Hell's Kitchen, offers her an internship at any of his restaurants, and lets her keep her jacket.

Season 20 (Young Guns)

  • Episode 9: The whole blue team and Josie goes to give Victoria a hug, especially Trenton given how stress inducing the previous challenge was and lift them up.
    Victoria: This is warm.
  • Josie's friendship with Emily. In episode 10, she goes to Emily for comfort when she feels alienated from her team and even acknowledges her friend in her eviction speech.
  • After winning the competition, Trenton proposes to his girlfriend, who says "yes".