Melissa Firpo was a contestant on Season 3 of Hell's Kitchen. She ranked in 7th place.
Melissa started as a strong competitor, having the best signature dish, but completely switched off at episode 4, and became one of the main antagonists of that season. She did more arguing than cooking, and tried to dictate the red team, which led to a public failure during episode 5's challenge.
Season 3 Edit
Melissa was the ninth person to have her signature dish judged by Ramsay. She made a peppered crusted steak, which was deemed delicious by Ramsay. It was the first successful signature dish of that season, and Ramsay praised her for it.
During dinner service, Melissa was on the dessert station. After a ton of arguing between team members, Ramsay had her and Julia on the appetizer station. The two of them were able to get 17 dishes out to the diners, but her nitpicking at Joanna's station led to another argument. Her team lost the service, but because of her effort, she was named "Best of the Worst".
After elimination, she agreed with Bonnie that there was more infighting in the red team than cooking during that service.
During the Dover Sole Challenge, Melissa was able to get her team off to a good start by having four of her fish approved by Ramsay. Her team won the challenge 9-8 and were rewarded with a fishing trip with Ramsay at the Pacific Ocean and had lunch with him.
During dinner service, Melissa was on the fish station. While she was able to cook fish well, she was caught by Ramsay over at Joanna's station at one point. Though she claimed she was only trying to help Joanna, Ramsay kicked her off Joanna's station. The red team won the dinner service.
The red team won the Army and Navy Service Challenge. They were rewarded with a helicopter ride and had lunch with Ramsay on the USS Midway.
During dinner service, Melissa was on the garnish station. She was not shown much as she had no problems with it. Her team lost the dinner service, and nobody was safe.
She was not nominated for elimination.
During the Blind Taste Test, Melissa was the second person on the red team to compete and went up against Rock. She scored one point for her team, missing both the egg yolks and venison. However, the red team eventually won 5-3. Their reward was a special lunch excursion with Ramsay by eating in the dark.
During dinner service, Melissa was on the appetizer station. When Julia told her that she needed to redo her scallops, she ignored her and still called out times for her dishes. Ramsay criticized her for her lack of teamwork and threatened to kick her out of the kitchen. She later tried to help Bonnie out on the meat station, but her lack of communication served to confuse and frustrate Bonnie. Both teams lost the dinner service, and Ramsay called her performance pathetic. Jen was named "Best of the Worst" for the red team.
When Bonnie confronted the red team for not comforting her after she was up for elimination, Melissa bluntly reminded her that they were in a competition.
During the Wedding Planning Challenge, Melissa tried to take the red kitchen over by suggesting they use duck as their main dish, though her teammates were not excited about it. During the cooking, she continually butted in on Julia's work and even tried to convince Julia and Jen not to listen to Bonnie. This led to a lot of bickering between the team. When she found out that the wedding couple would be tasting their dishes along with Ramsay, she was horrified and tried to convince Ramsay not to taste their dishes, though Ramsay ignored her. She presented the red team's appetizer, a puff pastry, but lost out to the blue team as it was deemed too much like a dessert. The red team lost 1-2 after serving a duck breast without anything else on the plate whatsoever. Their punishment was to decorate the dining room for the Wedding service, under the supervision of Francisco the Party Planner. Her continual nitpicking and dictatorship made her team more frustrated with her to the point Bonnie was considering strangling her with some chiffon.
During prep, Melissa's overcomplicated questions to Rock about the blue team's potato dish frustrated him, and she continually prepared them wrong to the point that they were all black. Ramsay warned her that he was not in the mood for her attitude tonight.
During the Wedding dinner service, Melissa was on the garnish station. She confused her teammates when she called for 4 minutes more on her ribeye garnish, but ended up sending it to the hot plate anyway. Ramsay pulled her aside and accused her of switching off. She later realized that she accidentally spilled the sabayon into the dish water and tried to get some from the blue team. However, Ramsay caught her and order her to make more while accusing her of trying to sabotage the blue kitchen. Her team lost the dinner service, and Jen was named "Best of the Worst".
Melissa was Jen's first nominee for elimination, with Bonnie being the second. After he asked her to give him her jacket, Ramsay gave her a blue jacket and told her to get in the blue team, and said that it was her last chance. Just before Ramsay hanged her red jacket, he stopped his movement halfway through, and retrieved.
After elimination, Melissa came up to her new team and promised them that she will never try to sabotage them.
During the Lobster Dish Challenge, Melissa had some help on her dish because of Josh's advices. Her dish was a citrus herbed salad with poached lobster. While Ramsay praised the citrus taste, he found the lobster disappointing as it was not cooked properly. The blue team eventually lost the challenge 1-2, and were punished by taking part of Recycling Day. It was during punishment that she along with the other members of the blue team were shocked by Rock's angry outburst and even asked Brad if he did that before.
During prep, she wanted to make a good first impression on her new teammates, and Ramsay reminded her that this was her last chance to bounce back.
During dinner service, Melissa was on the fish station. Her first scallops were sliced too thinly and looked like paper, causing Ramsay to call her a gremlin that ruined everything she touched. She later sent a monkfish that was overcooked, but Ramsay was angrier that she never noticed it when her other teammates could, by just looking at it. She even laid more bad news when she revealed that she only had one monkfish portion left. This caused a frustrated Ramsay to kick her off the station and moved over to the garnish station although she revealed soon that they were running out of mashed potatoes. Her team lost the dinner service after a complete meltdown, and was asked to nominate two people for elimination.
At elimination, Ramsay did not even wait for the blue team to tell their nominees, and eliminated Melissa on-the-spot because she had more chances than anybody else and did not take any of them.
Ramsay's comment: "That was really difficult today because Brad and Josh were absolutely horrible. With Melissa, she's very assertive and she sounds like a leader but unfortunately, she doesn't cook like a leader."
Melissa was one of the six chefs who returned for the final dinner service. When she came in the kitchen, Ramsay recalled her poor performance during the fourth dinner service. She was Bonnie's second pick for her team after Jen, and was soon followed by Julia. When Bonnie was briefing the menu for the team, she expressed concern when she admitted that she had never cooked most of her menu items herself before.
During prep, Melissa overcooked the prawns for the demo dish, much to Bonnie's dismay. During dinner service, she was on the fish station. An hour and a half into service, she revealed to Bonnie that she only had at least four orders of the prawn fettuccine pasta left, and was called out by her for not telling that news earlier. Bonnie eventually lost the finals to Rock.
- She is the second contestant to be eliminated without nomination, following Jessica from Season 1.
- She is the second contestant, and first female contestant, who received a "Best of the Worst" nomination without making it to the black jackets, following Chris from Season 1.
- She is the first contestant who switched teams by reassignment, and the first who did without making it to the black jackets.
- She is the first contestant to be eliminated after their first service in a new team.
- After her appearance on the show, she went to work in a culinary school in New York, and is still working there today. She also had a son and daughter.
- "I'm very upset, but I'm not the type of girl that's gonna cry. When I go down, the team goes down."