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Hell’s Kitchen fans have chosen their favorite chef from season 21, and it’s not even close. Here’s who fans love the most from the Gordon Ramsay cooking show, Hell’s Kitchen: Battle of the Ages.

Chef Gordon Ramsay holds a dish on set of "Hell's Kitchen."
Gordon Ramsay | FOX/FOX Image Collection via Getty Images

‘Hell’s Kitchen’ season 21 pits ‘20-somethings’ against ‘40-somethings’ 

Season 21 of Hell’s Kitchen started filming in January 2022, making it the first season of the reality competition show filmed since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The episodes premiered on Sept. 29, 2022, and the finale will air on Feb. 9.

For only the third time in the show’s history, chefs were not split into gender groups at the start of the season. Instead, they were divided according to age: “20-somethings” made up the red team, while “40-somethings” were the blue team. At the end of episode 3, teams were divided again by gender, with women on the red team and men on the blue team. 

Gordon Ramsay returned as the host and head chef, with season 10 winner Christina Wilson serving as the red team sous-chef and season 7 runner-up Jason Santos assisting as the blue team sous-chef.

The winner of Hell’s Kitchen: Battle of the Ages will take home a $250,000 cash prize and the head chef position at Ramsay’s brand new Hell’s Kitchen restaurant at Caesars Atlantic City.


‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Fans Are Certain They Know Who Wins Season 21: ‘One of the Strongest Chefs’

Fans have a clear favorite from ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ season 21: Alex Belew

Hell’s Kitchen fans discussed their favorite and least favorite contestants from season 21 in a Reddit thread, and one chef stands far above the rest: Alex Belew, who has been working in the restaurant industry for 24 years. Alex is the former owner of the Tennessee restaurant Dallas & Jane. 

“My favorite is Alex, he’s a sweetheart and so cute,” one fan wrote, while another said, “My favorite remaining is Alex, and I also like Sakari.”

“Alex has been my favorite from the beginning,” one fan commented. “Frankly, he stands out to me as one of the best in the show’s history.”

And one fan wrote, “I think it’d be pretty hard to choose one GOAT in HK’s history, but Alex is definitely in the top 5 for me. Wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up being brought back as a Sous Chef on a future season like Christina or Jay.”

Belew shared what makes him stand out from the competition. “One thing that sets me apart from others is my constant search for knowledge,” he told the Nashville Voyager in November 2022. “I love going and staging at other restaurants with great chefs and teams and learning their techniques and methods. The more well-rounded you are, the more you can handle anything that’s thrown at you.”

While Alex Belew is the fan favorite, there are other standouts from season 21

Hell’s Kitchen fans loved Alex Belew the most, but there are other favorites from season 21. Many named chefs Sakari Smithwick and Dafne Mejia among the standouts from Battle of the Ages.

“I really like Dafne and Sakari,” one fan wrote in the Reddit thread, while another commented, “Sakari the homie.”

According to Sakari’s LinkedIn page, he got his start in the food industry as a McDonald’s grill cook. After earning his BBA in Restaurant Management, he worked at various Michelin Star restaurants. In 2019, Sakari was featured on the Food Network show Chopped, where he made it to the final dessert round. 

Dafne’s LinkedIn shows that she earned her Associate of Science in Culinary Arts/Chef Training from The Art Institute of California-San Francisco. She has worked as the Head Chef at a “prestigious members only club,” and just before the show she was a Private Chef at The Gores Group.