Ben Walanka
Ben Walanka
Chicago, IL
Season 5: 26
Season 17: 34
Executive Sous Chef
5, 17
Kitchen Experience
8 1/2 years
Culinary Education
Kendall College
Culinary Inspiration
Season 5: 4th
Season 17: 16th

Ben Walanka was a contestant on Season 5 and Season 17 of Hell's Kitchen. On season 5, he ranked in 4th place, and on season 17, he ranked in 16th place.

Personality Edit

Ben was an inconsistent performer, who gave good and bad services. But, he admits his mistakes and is really honest. Between seasons 5 and 17, he gained a lot of weight, and had diabetes issues before the first all-star dinner service.

Season 5 Edit

Episode 1Edit

During the Signature Dish Challenge, Ben was the final contestant to have his dish judged by Ramsay. He made a pan-seared pecan duck, which was deemed the best dish on the men's team as it was praised for looking attractive and tasting nice.

When the teams were lined up, the men revealed their new team name, the "Blues Brothers". During dinner service, Ben was on the appetizer station with Robert. Their first order of spaghetti came out raw, but they were able to send up appetizers after the power came back from an outage. His team lost the dinner service because of Giovanni's poor performance as a waiter.

He was not nominated for elimination.

Episode 2Edit

During the Scallop Cleaning Challenge, Ben cleaned eleven scallops, but only three of them were accepted. Despite his poor performance, the blue team won 36-35, and were rewarded with a helicopter tour of Catalina Island along with a submarine ride.

During dinner service, Ben was on the garnish station. At one point, Ramsay had him come over to the appetizer station to show Charlie how to make a proper risotto, as the latter did not know how to make one. He was able to get one out, which was tasting delicious. His team won the dinner service.

At elimination, Ben participated in the standing ovation for Ji's departure, along with his teammates and the red team.

Episode 3Edit

During the Meat & Cow Challenge, Ben was the first person up for his team during the meat identification part, and only got two cuts wrong. On the Cow part, he was the fourth person from his team to attempt it, and managed to get them all correct, earning his team the win. The blue team flew in a private jet to Sunstone Winery in Santa Ynez, California, where they had a wine tasting and a steak dinner with Ramsay.

During the Steakhouse double dinner service, Ben was on the dessert station for the first seating. Due to a misunderstanding on Ramsay's “desserts pick up”, he made six desserts thirty minutes into service, before any of the appetizers were sent out. Ramsay found that incredibly dumb and chewed him out for wasting six desserts before sending appetizers, which he took the blame for. When the blue team finished the first seating, Ramsay berated him for his dumb mistake about that incident. During the second seating, in which he was a waiter, Charlie asked him to check on one of his tables to see if he got their order. He was later seen trying to send back a steak which he claimed was undercooked, but Ramsay told him it was cooked correctly. The blue team lost the service.

He was not nominated for elimination.

Episode 4Edit

Before the next challenge, Ben got annoyed when Danny called himself the strongest chef of the blue team, as it made him arrogant. The blue team lost the Football Team & Cheerleaders Breakfast Service Challenge, and was forced to clean up the dining room and both kitchens, and prep them for that night’s service. Back in the dorms, he blamed Danny for being slow on the pancakes, but Danny argued that he, at least, helped him on sending them to the pass. This led to an argument where he angrily told Danny that he "couldn't cook his cock". After that, he left for some alone time, where he threw a chair on the patio.

Before service, Sous Chef Gloria asked the blue team where the red team's tomato butter sauce was, but Ben said that he did not have it ready yet, and went to make a batch. During dinner service, he was on the meat station. He sent up the red team's sauce to Andrea, but it turned out to be too salty. He then had Danny make another batch, which the latter succeeded in. When it came to the entrées, he brought down his lamb, but they were sliced too thin and Ramsay said he would not even serve them to his own dog. Both teams lost dinner service, and were asked to nominate two members each.

Ben was the blue team's second nominee for elimination, with Seth being the first, and joined Colleen and Lacey for the red team. He survived elimination as Ramsay told him to get back in line. After elimination, he and his team welcomed Lacey as a new teammate, not being very happy about it.

Episode 5Edit

Ben was still shocked by the news that Lacey was on the blue team, and bluntly told her that they were not looking for another Seth. But, Lacey asked for a chance to prove herself.

During the Asian Fusion Challenge, Ben was paired with Lacey on the seafood dish. Their teamwork was rough as Lacey thought that his instructions were annoying. They served a pan seared scallops with a sea urchin and caviar berblanc sauce, but it was deemed too salty and they lost the seafood round. The blue team lost the challenge 1-2, and was forced to make fortune cookies and fold origami for the next service. During the punishment, he gave Lacey a pep talk, urged her to have some more motivation to do well, and that the blue team needed her, though Lacey thought he was lying to her. 

During dinner service, Ben was on the garnish station with Lacey. He went unnoticed during that service, which both teams lost. Giovanni was named "Best of the Worst" for the blue team.

He was not nominated for elimination.

Episode 6Edit

Ben was very happy when he learned that their next service would be a Bar Mitzvah party, since he was of Jewish faith, and even gave a little summary of what a Bar Mitzvah is. During the Bar Mitzvah Planning Challenge, he presented the blue team's brisket, which was a classic take on a brisket, but lost to the red team. Despite that, his team won the challenge 2-1 and were rewarded with a spa day at the Skin Haven spa. During the reward, he told Lacey that she really deserved the reward based on Ramsay’s comments on her improvements.

During the Bar Mitzvah dinner service, Ben was on the fish station. He was not seen much, but admitted he was a little jealous when he saw the red team participate in the horah dance as part of their punishment, as it seemed fun. The blue team won the service.

Episode 7Edit

Before the Tapas Leftovers Challenge, Ben and the blue team said goodbye to Giovanni, who has just been transferred to the red team. During the challenge, he made a grilled tuna with fennel prawns sauce, which was deemed delicious, but lost to Giovanni's dish. His team lost the challenge 2-3, and had to prep both kitchens for that night's service and polish tapa plates. During the punishment, he talked Lacey back in the kitchen after she made quitting threats, saying the team needed her.

During dinner service, Ben was on the meat station. He was slow on the station, sent up a cold Wellington, and was told by Ramsay to cook them in the convection oven so he would not keep opening the oven. When he was caught using a dirty tray for his Wellingtons, Ramsay pulled him in the pantry room, called him a dirty pig, and threatened him to follow J, who has already been eliminated earlier that service. The blue team lost, and each member was asked to nominate one teammate for elimination.

Ben nominated Lacey, and received no votes. However, Ramsay called him down instead of Robert, and asked him why he did not nominate himself, before admitting that, apart from the already eliminated J, he had the worst performance from the blue team. After Ramsay told him he really wanted his jacket, he survived elimination as Ramsay gave him one last chance.

Episode 8Edit

During the Blind Taste Test, Ben gave one of the best overall individual performances by scoring 3 points out of 4. However, the blue team lost 7-8.

During dinner service, when Lacey was automatically eliminated, she came back in the kitchen to give her farewells. Ben and his teammates were unresponsive as they were happy to see her go. After she left, the rest of the team catch up the lost time, and demonstrated the best teamwork since the beginning of the season. The blue team won the dinner service by a mile over the red team.

Episode 9Edit

The blue team won the Crab Dish Challenge.

Before dinner service, each team was asked to create its own menu. Ben annoyed Danny and Robert with his "pomme fondant" dish, which the two others had never heard about before. The blue team lost the dinner service as only 36% of their customers were satisfied about the food. Danny was named "Best of the Worst", and was asked to nominate one of his teammates.

He was Danny's nominee for elimination, but Ramsay called him and Robert down. He survived elimination because Ramsay chose Carol, who was on the winning team, to be eliminated.

Episode 10Edit

Before the next challenge, Ben was called down by Ramsay after Danny named him the worst cook on the blue team, but instead of being eliminated, he received a black jacket, along with everybody else.

Ben won the first individual challenge, which was the 14 Ingredients Challenge, and chose Robert to go on the reward with him.

During dinner service, Ben's challenge-winning dish was featured on the menu. Giovanni was responsible to cook it. After service, Paula was named "Best of the Worst".

He was not nominated for elimination. After elimination, Ramsay announced he was shutting down Hell's Kitchen.

Episode 11Edit

Following from the previous episode, Ramsay announced the remaining five they would travel to the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, in Atlantic City, to visit their potential future employment. During lunch with Borgata's Vice-President of Cuisine, Ben received a phone call from Robert, who was transported a few minutes earlier to the hospital. He told him that the four of them were really worried about him, and told him to get better. When the remaining four came back to Hell's Kitchen, they got visit from Robert who told them he would not come back to Hell's Kitchen. Ben was very upset because he became close friend with him.

Ben lost the Borgata Dish Challenge to Andrea.

During dinner service, Ben was on the garnish station. He gave a bad performance, but not as bad as Andrea, who was safe from elimination. After service, everybody was asked to nominate two people apart from Andrea.

He was the black team's first nominee for elimination, with Paula being the second. After Andrea was called down by Ramsay, Ben survived elimination as Ramsay claimed his performance was not as bad as Andrea's, and had she would have not been safe, she would have been eliminated.

Episode 12Edit

Ben lost the Taste It, Now Make It Challenge to Danny.

During dinner service, Ben was struggling on the appetizer station, not being able to recognize a "plain" salad. After service, the black team was told to come up with two nominees.

Ben was the team's first nominee for elimination, with Andrea being the second. He was eliminated, but received praised from Ramsay before he left, about his energy and attitude. During his exit interview, Ben received a retrospective montage of his run. Ramsay gave no comment on Ben's elimination, and he did not receive the coat hanging and burning picture sequence until episode 14.

Episode 14/15Edit

When he came back for the last dinner service of the season, Ben was Danny's first pick, followed by Giovanni and Carol, and the first pick overall. Danny won the finals over Paula.

Season 9 Edit

Episode 13Edit

Ben came back for a special dinner service where an all-star team competed against that season's final five. His teammates were Tennille, Van (Season 6), Trev and Jillian (Season 8). His team eventually lost the service.

Season 17 Edit

Episode 1Edit

During the Signature Dish Challenge, Ben scored 2 points of a possible 5 for his team. Despite this, the blue team won the challenge 28-27. They were rewarded with a trip to downtown Los Angeles, at the U.S. Bank Tower, to slide down the Skyslide. Ben was not happy about it as he was afraid of height, but went down the slide anyway and enjoyed it. After that, the blue team ate at one of Wolfgang Puck's restaurants with Ramsay.

Episode 2Edit

Shortly before dinner service, Ben did not feel good, and revealed he was recently diagnosed with diabetes. After seeing a medic, he decided to stay in the competition. The blue team won the dinner service.

Despite the fact that he was on the winning side, Ben was eliminated by Ramsay because of his health problems, and fearing he would not be able to keep up in the competition. During his exit interview, Ben told he was not upset and thought Ramsay made the right decision.

Ramsay's comment: "Big Ben? More like big liability. He clearly wasn't going to be able to keep up, so I had to let him down.”

Trivia Edit

Season 5Edit

Season 17Edit

Quotes Edit

  • "It was bland before I over-reduced it! It was my fault, I should've tasted it chef!"
  • (Mocking Lacey): "I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON HERE, HUHU!!"
  • (To Danny): "You want to hear something, dude? I will cook circles around you! I will circle you like a fucking moon!"
  • (To Danny): "Are you joking me? You couldn't cook my cock!"
  • "Pomme fondant means something completely different to him."
  • "It was my mistake, but fuck me if the words pick and up don't mean give you the desserts, I will give you the desserts."
  • "I really can't do anything to impress Chef Ramsay, and I am starting to slowly yet surely accept that."

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