Blustery Gordon Ramsay crowned Nona Sivley, the ebullient Atlanta sous chef, his latest “Hell’s Kitchen” winner last night.
Sivley, festooned with tattoos and a big smile, beat out the far more arrogant Russell Kook for the prize: head chef at the LA Market at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles and spokesperson for Rosemount Estate Wines.
Overall, she made relatively few mistakes during the show. She was seldom a target of Ramsay’s wrath. During the final dinner service, in which she had a team of former contestants to help her out, she showed solid leadership qualities, patiently handling her weakest team member Boris. She finished her service 45 minutes before Russell, she said.
“Gordon liked both of our menus so that probably made the difference,” she said in a phone interview today.
She was not a drama instigator, didn’t foolishly self-aggrandize herself before the cameras about her skills (e.g. Trev.) While that didn’t make her good reality TV material, it didn’t hurt her in the eyes of “Mr. Drama” Ramsay. “It’s not my personality to sit there and trash talk somebody,” she said. “And to just sit there and brag about yourself for days on end? It’s ridiculous.”
Sivley said she was aware of the cameras at all times. Even when she did argue with another contestant, it blew over quickly. She is not one to hold grudges. “I’m happy go lucky, pretty easy going,” she said.
Sivley lived in Lawrenceville for three years earlier this decade before moving back to Fort Worth, Texas. A year ago, she returned to metro Atlanta, living in Loganville with her infant son Jackson (now 22 months) and husband Curtis.
Although she knew she had won “Hell’s Kitchen” way back in March, when this season’s taping had ended, she couldn’t say anything. Instead, she struggled to find work. Six weeks ago, she landed a job as a sous chef at steak house Chops Lobster Bar. Her boss, she said, hasn’t owned a TV for six years and couldn’t care less she was on a reality show. But since she won, she will be leaving early next year for Los Angeles.
“I’m anxious,” she said. “I don’t want to let anybody down. But I feel I can do a really great job. I’m looking forward to it.”
By Rodney Ho, firstname.lastname@example.org, AJCRadioTV blog