Heat turns up Friday night TV as Hell’s Kitchen returns with All-Stars

Hell's Kitchen All-Stars premiers Friday, Sept. 29 8/7c on Fox network. (Fox)

Here come the All-Stars of Hell’s Kitchen!

Season 17 of internationally known chef personality Gordon Ramsey’s Hell’s Kitchen premiers Friday night, Sept. 29, 8/7c, on Fox network. San Antonio’s Benjamin Knack will be one of the 16 All-Star chefs from previous shows invited back for this special edition of the popular show.

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Knack, Executive Chef of Fair Oaks Golf and Country Club located just north of San Antonio at the foothills of the Texas Hill Country, is competing for a chance to win a head chef position at Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen restaurant opening at Caesars Palace Las Vegas this winter. Not only will this be a momentous location on the Vegas strip, but the salary is quite the jackpot, also. “A quarter of a million dollars,” beams Ramsay.

Knack is primed for a second helping of Ramsey’s fiery competition program. When he won third place seven years ago for Season 7, Ramsey praised him for his strong leadership skills and encouraged him to “never give up.”

“The first time I appeared I had never seen or heard of the show before,” Knack recalls. “There was real drama, with obstacles and curves thrown in throughout the filming.”

“I’m healthy and ready to go,” Knack said about this competition. “Obviously, I’m quicker and smarter than I was seven years ago. My experience has helped me. For two years I worked as chef of one of the top 50 restaurants in the country. This time I know what to expect and am looking forward to it because I think I can win.”

Chef Benjamin Knack makes his second appearance on Hell’s Kitchen. (Hell’s Kitchen)

All of the returning chefs made it onto the Black Team in their respective seasons, with them being finishers between 6th and 3rd places. Knack was one of five contestants, out of the returning 16, who made it to third place.

Ramsey, as head chef and executive producer, said the Hell’s Kitchen All Stars set is “completely redesigned” and Caesars Palace Hell’s Kitchen will open this winter.

Ramsay himself hand picked the participants from past seasons to compete in this all-star series. Christina Wilson, who won season 10 of Hell’s Kitchen, returns as a sous chef. Wilson went from head chef of Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas to executive chef for his Las Vegas restaurants. Ramsay’s UK executive development Chef James “Jocky” Petrie joins Wilson as a sous chef.

Returning contestants include Robyn Almodovar, from Fort Lauderdale from season 10; Jared Bobkin from Troy, Michigan from season 15; Nicholas Peters Bond from Newburyport, Massachusetts, from season 14; Dana Cohen from Emerson, New Jersey, from season 10; Giovanni Filippone from Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, from season 5; Elise Harris from Newburyport, Massachusetts, from season 9; Tavon Hubbard from Washington, D.C., from season 10; Vincent “Van” Hurd from South Glastonbury, Connecticut, from season 6; Benjamin Knack from San Antonio from season 7; Barbie Marshall from Strasburg, Pennsylvania, from season 10; Milly Medley from Philadelphia from season 14; Ashley Nickell from Orlando from season 15; Jennifer Normant from Burlington, Massachusetts, from season 9; Amanda “Manda” Palomino from Atlantic City from season 15; Michelle Tribble from New York City from season 14; Joshua Trovato from Los Angeles from season 14; and Benjamin Walanka from Overland Park, Kansas, from season 5.

The women make up the red team while the men wear the blue.

 

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16 returning chefs to compete in Season 17

Contestant Age Hometown Competed Finished
Dana Cohen 32 Emerson, New Jersey Season 10 3rd
Elise Harris 32 Newburyport, Massachusetts Season 9 (2011) 3rd
Benjamin Knack 40 San Antonio, Texas Season 7 (2010) 3rd
Ashley Nickell 28 Orlando, Florida Season 15 3rd
Michelle Tribble 24 New York, New York Season 14 3rd
Jared Bobkin 29 Troy, Michigan Season 15 (2016) 4th
Barbie Marshall 39 Strasburg, Pennsylvania Season 10 4th
Milly Medley 35 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Season 14 4th
Benjamin “Ben” Walanka 34 Overland Park, Kansas Season 5 4th
Nicholas “Nick” Peters Bond 27 Newburyport, Massachusetts Season 14 (2015) 5th
Jennifer Normant 40 Burlington, Massachusetts Season 9 5th
Amanda “Manda” Palomino 31 Atlantic City, New Jersey Season 15 5th
Robyn Almodovar 36 Fort Lauderdale, Florida Season 10 (2012) 6th
Giovanni Filippone 45 Santa Rosa Beach, Florida Season 5 (2009) 6th
Vincent “Van” Hurd 34 South Glastonbury, Connecticut Season 6 (2009) 6th
Joshua “Josh” Trovato 26 Los Angeles, California Season 14 6th

 

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