Russell Kook was a contestant on Season 8 of Hell's Kitchen. He was the runner-up of that season.
Russell was one of the main antagonists of that season, the other being Sabrina. While he started okay, he evolved into the show's biggest bully, gave the worst threats of physical violence, and most important, he is the biggest sore loser ever. He is one of the most hated chefs in the show's history.
After James introduced himself, all the chefs put blindfolds on, and were taken to the prize restaurant, the LA Market, in Los Angeles. Then, they returned to Hell's Kitchen, and were asked to cook their signature dishes.
During the Signature Dish Challenge, Russell was the first person from the blue team to have his dish judged by Ramsay, and went up against Emily. He made a grilled calamari steak with a salsa-verde, and while Ramsay was concerned about the mid-rare cooking, it was praised for its delivery. He tied the round with Emily. The blue team eventually won the challenge after a tiebreaker at 3, and they were rewarded with massages, champagne, and caviar in the dorms.
During dinner service, Russell was on the dessert station. He was seen trying to help Boris on the pizza station, but was kicked off by Ramsay when Raj came back into the kitchen. He did not express any hope in both of them working together, even comparing it to two idiots working on a Rubik's cube, saying that there was no chance they would get it right. Both teams were named joint-losers, and they were asked to nominate two people each.
He was not nominated for elimination.
Back in the dorms, Russell said he did not want the blue team to implode, and wanted to give Raj a chance to fight back.
During the Sushi Challenge, Russell was paired with Raj. They only managed to get 4 out of their 9 pieces accepted, but the blue team won the challenge 16-15. They were rewarded with a trip to Cellar 360 in San Francisco with Ramsay, where they did wine tasting and ate dinner at the Water Bar restaurant. He also got to keep his Morimoto knives that were used for the challenge.
During dinner service, Russell was on the meat station with Rob. He was not seen much as the men were kicked out before they began to work on entrées. The blue team lost the service.
He was not nominated for elimination.
During the Paramedic Service Challenge, Russell was not seen much, and the blue team lost the challenge. They were punished by polishing 250 stemware glasses for the next service, and cleaning both kitchens. During the punishment, he got annoyed when Trev complained about Raj leaving watermarks on the glasses, and told him to finish Raj's work. Later, he and Boris pulled Raj away when an argument between the latter and Trev escalated.
During dinner service, Russell was on the garnish station with Rob. He was not seen much, but the blue team won the service as they managed to get a 54% approval rating from their customers, compared to the red team's 50%.
At elimination, Russell, and the rest of the blue team, expressed relief when Raj was eliminated.
Back in the dorms, the blue team celebrated Raj's elimination, and toasted to a new beginning.
During the Ravioli Challenge, Russell received help from Trev for his dish. He was the third person from the blue team to have his dish judged, and went up against Nona. He served whipped ricotta and chilli ravioli, and he won the round over Nona. The blue team won the challenge 4-3, and they were rewarded with a helicopter trip to Palace Verde’s, for a day at an Oceanside resort, where they played golf and ate dinner. When Trev bitterly stated that the men were not acting like a team, he knew that Trev was still mad about them not tasting his dish, and asked Trev if he would have won against Melissa in the first round, which Trev answered that he thought so. After the argument, he hoped that the blue team would regroup and win the next service.
During the Italian Night dinner service, Russell was on the appetizer station. He wanted to prove Ramsay how strong he was, and managed to get the blue team off to a strong start. Later, he expressed annoyance when Louis could not get his piece of salmon properly grilled despite being a camp cook. After Louis and Boris were kicked out, he gave his teammates a pep talk. When the red team came into the blue kitchen to help, he was not happy, and even said that he wanted to slap one of them. Both teams got confused on orders, and he claimed that he sent polenta to the pass despite the fact it was clearly not there. That led Ramsay to kick both teams out. They were named joint-losers, and were asked to nominate two people each.
He was not nominated for elimination.
During the Prom Planning Challenge, Russell got into an argument with Boris when the latter complained about not contributing whatsoever on the dishes, but Trev calmed the situation down. The blue team eventually lost the challenge 0-3, and they were punished by decorating the dinning room for the next service, under the supervision of the prom committee. During the punishment, he got annoyed with the prom committee's instructions, and snapped at them. Eventually, he started to give attitude towards them by swearing, before James sternly warned him to show some respect.
During the Prom Night dinner service, Russell was on the meat station. He had to wait for Boris' halibut before he could slice his meat, and later, he became vocal towards his teammates in order to get entrées in time. Ramsay praised him for his leadership, and his perfectly cooked steak. The blue team won the service, and Ramsay singled him out for his strong leadership, and having the best service of the blue team.
At elimination, Ramsay reminded Russell that the only way was up, and he said that there was no playing games anymore, and that it was time to get serious.
During the Salad Challenge, Russell was the fourth person from the blue team to compete, and went up against Sabrina. His bruschetta and burrata salad was praised for being lovely, and he won the round over Sabrina. The blue team won the challenge after a tiebreaker at 2, and they were rewarded with a day at Malibu for lunch, at The Getty Vella.
During dinner service, Russell was on the appetizer station. While his first risotto was perfect, he had to wait on Boris' shrimp and, deciding to stop playing nice, threw him under the bus. Despite that, his careful eye on Boris helped to get appetizers out to the customers. After Melissa sent raw scallops, he told Rob to keep an eye on her, and later, he asked for the scallops in an aggressive tone. Both teams were named joint-losers, and they were asked to nominate one person each.
He was not nominated for elimination.
Back in the dorms, Russell felt that Boris was on his last life, and refused to carry him any longer.
During the Roulette Challenge, Russell landed on A, and chose asparagus. During the challenge, he was concerned about Boris' performance, but admitted that his miso broth tasted good. Then, he suggested Rob to season the asparagus and yams, but was ignored. The blue team lost the challenge, and they were punished by taking a delivery of 1000 potatoes, and prepping them for the next service. During the punishment, he felt that Boris was doing more talking than cleaning, and told Vinny that if they would lose the next service, Boris and Rob would be nominated.
During the Family Night dinner service, Russell was on the fish station. At one point, Rob asked for his help on the macaroni and cheese, but he refused to help as he did not want to babysit Rob. Both teams were named joint-winners as they received a 90% approval rating, but they were still asked to nominate two people each for elimination.
During the Budget Challenge, Russell kept the blue team from moving away from him while gathering their ingredients, much to their annoyance. During the cooking, he checked on his teammates' dishes as he was determined to win the challenge, but he was called a douchebag by Rob. He went up against Trev in the chicken round, and made a chicken cacciatore with rustic potatoes. While the dish was praised for having a juicy chicken, it was criticized for having undercooked potatoes, and he scored an average of $26. The blue team lost the challenge $101-$110, and they were punished by deep cleaning the dining room, and fumigating both kitchens for the next service. Back in the dorms, he was pissed that he was punished for his teammates' failures.
During prep, Russell decided to micromanage his teammates' prep work, and called Boris unfocused, but Boris was not impressed by his leadership. During the 100th Hell's Kitchen dinner service, he was on the garnish station. He was not seen much, except at one point when he called Boris a brain dead fuck, and when he did not communicate with Rob despite the latter asking him for times. The blue team lost the service after being kicked out, and they were asked to nominate two people.
Russell was not nominated for elimination despite being considered by Boris.
During the Blind Taste Test, Russell was the first person from the blue team to compete, and went up against Gail. He scored 2 points by correctly guessing grapefruit and black truffle, but the blue team eventually lost the challenge 5-6. They were punished by sorting through trash from different restaurants for recycling, eating cheese sandwiches, and prepping both kitchens for the next service. He was frustrated that the team lost three consecutive challenges and services, and said that they had to get their game back. During the punishment, he blamed Rob for costing them the challenge, and later, he refused to eat their lunch of cheese sandwiches.
During prep, Russell revealed that he was not happy about Trev coming back in the blue team, and would do any sabotaging to get rid of him. During dinner service, he was on the meat station. He was asking Rob for times and communication, but Rob did not feel his teamwork. When he sent raw chicken, he was kicked out by Ramsay. Back in the dorms, he complained about being kicked out for one mistake. The blue team lost the service, and Trev was named "Best of The Worst".
Back in the dorms, Russell ignored Trev's explanation on why he got nominated, and said that things just got dirty.
When it was revealed that the next challenge was the Relay Challenge, Russell got concerned as he felt he was the only member of the blue team that communicated well. He was the first person to compete for the blue team, and got to work on prepping the pasta dough, and getting the proteins ready. In the fourth round, he jumped over the hot plate, and pushed to get the dishes done. The blue team won the challenge 2-1, and they were rewarded with a shopping spree at Sur La Table for cooking supplies, and lunch at Melisse with Ramsay. During lunch, he hoped for Vinny to back up his claim that they were the final three.
For the next service, both teams had control of their own menus. While Russell tried to input some of his ideas, Trev and Vinny rejected them. However, that angered him, and he felt that he was a better chef than both of them. At 1:37 am, he overheard Trev and Vinny complain about how he was an angry man and it would cost him in the end. Then, he revealed his presence to them, and berated for drinking instead of sleeping, before going back upstairs.
During prep, Russell got annoyed with Trev’s slow pace movement. During dinner service, he was on the appetizer station. He got his ravioli accepted, and Ramsay urged him to keep it going. Later, he offered his help to Vinny for Josiah Citirn's lamb, but it was not well received. Both teams were named joint-losers, and Ramsay asked everybody to name who they thought were not deserving a black jacket.
Russell nominated Vinny, and he did not receive any votes. He was the fourth person who received a black jacket.
During the Amuse Bouche Challenge, Russell was the fifth person to present his dish, and made a Hamachi crudo with apple celery broth. The presentation was immediately praised for looking gorgeous, and he scored a perfect 50 on presentation. Then, the dish was praised for its taste, and he also scored a perfect 50, giving him a perfect overall 100. He won the challenge, and was rewarded with a VIP tour of the LA Market by Kerry Martin, and lunch with the latter and Ramsay. Also, he picked Gail to go on the reward with him as she finished second.
During dinner service, Russell was on the meat station. After witnessing mistakes from Sabrina, Trev, and Gail, he said that they should have been better than that. Later, he sent raw Wellingtons, a raw ribeye, and an angry Ramsay, who already gave the chefs a warning, kicked everybody out of the kitchen.
He was not nominated for elimination.
During the 80 Portions Food Truck Challenge, Russell made a grilled octopus and saffron aioli salad, but when he served them to the customers, they were not impressed, and a few of them criticized the presentation. He lost the challenge to Gail, as 61% of the customers called his dish the worst, though he rudely said that if the guests wanted to eat spaghetti and meatballs, they could go on with that. He was punished by cleaning the front entrance of Hell’s Kitchen for the next service, and wash the food trucks. During the punishment, he got into an argument with Jillian over his decision to used octopus, but he called her as creative as a cardboard box, and said that at least, he represented himself. Later, he was unimpressed with Gail's new look.
During dinner service, Russell was on the appetizer station with Nona. He was seen helping Jillian a lot on fish, even though he was reluctant to do so. After Ramsay left the kitchen due to some constant mistakes, he and Nona took the lead, and he rejected Trev's overcooked beef. After Ramsay came back, he was relocated to the meat station, and after seeing Trev's three dead beef, he felt that Trev could not even cook toast. He, along with Trev and Nona, managed to complete service.
He was not nominated for elimination.
Back in the dorms, Russell believed that Trev would be the next to go. Then, he claimed that he himself was his biggest competition, while stating that Trev was in way over his head, and while he did not think highly of Nona, he considered her a better cook than Jillian as the latter was falling apart.
During the Taste It Now Make It Challenge, Russell used veal, yam, celery root, cabbage, bacon, and chicken stock to recreate Ramsay's dish. He lost the challenge to Nona, but he was chosen to come with her to Beverly Hills, at the Hands on Boutique Spa. At the spa, he started flirting with one of the masseuses, much to Nona’s amusement.
During prep, Russell believed that Jillian had a bad attitude and was wasting their time after seeing her snip at Nona. During dinner service, he was on the fish station. Despite getting his first order of scallops accepted, he sent a raw serving, and got mocked by Ramsay when he answered with yo. However, he was able to bounce back. Later, he sent an overcooked halibut, and a raw one on his refire. Despite that, he rebounded, and entrées were leaving the kitchen rapidly. On their last few tickets, he and Trev had a communication meltdown as he did not have a salmon fired when Trev believed that he should have it ready for the next ticket. However, when Ramsay told them that they were not ready for that ticket yet, it led to a small spat between him and Trev, until Jillian told them to stop. Back in the dorms, he voted for Trev, and claimed that if the latter would speak to him like that ever again, he would slap the shit out of him, which a shocked Nona said was uncalled for.
Russell was the second nominee for elimination, with Trev being the first. During his plea, he claimed that he could get to that leader's platform, but Ramsay was concerned that his arrogance was outshining his talent. He survived elimination, and reunited with his girlfriend and parents.
Before the Fusion Challenge, Ramsay announced that after the next service, two people would be eliminated. Russell picked France and India as his countries. He was the third person to compete, and presented his duck a la orange with foie gras and tangerine syrup. The dish was criticized for having an overcooked duck and not having a lot of Indian inspiration to it, but he arrogantly believed that his dish was the best, and told the judges to kiss his ass. He lost the challenge to Jillian, and was punished by packing all the unneeded furniture in the dorms, and prepping both kitchens for the next service. During the punishment, he felt that Trev was complaining like a bitch, while comparing him to a zit on his ass. While he himself has had enough of punishments, he decided not to bitch about it. When he struggled to take two mattresses at once, an annoyed Nona said that he was acting overly cocky, and like a prick.
During prep, Russell micromanaged Trev a lot, much to the latter's annoyance. During dinner service, he was on the appetizer station. He was the first person who ran the pass, immediately got in control, and became very vocal, which allowed appetizers to leave at a steady pace. When Sous Chef Scott sent truffle salads with pecans instead of walnuts, he quickly spotted the mistake, and rejected them as he said that it was his time to shine. Trev brought his scallops, but he rejected them for being raw. Despite that, he was able to end his turn on a high note. Later, his chowder was rejected by Nona for not being seasoned properly, and he got concerned about Jillian's aggressive leadership, wondering if she would give herself a brain aneurysm.
After Trev's elimination, Ramsay asked the remaining chefs why they deserved to be in the finals, and Russell said that he wanted to prove Ramsay how strong he was. He was the first person who advanced to the finals, and was followed by Nona. After Jillian's elimination, Ramsay congratulated them, and said that it would be an amazing finale, before dismissing them. He continued to believe that he was his own worst enemy, and was very confident in winning.
Back in the dorms, Russell felt like a million dollars, and after celebrating with Nona and champagne, he got to work on his menu, until 2:31 am. The next day, he met Sous Chef Scott, and said that his menu was elegant, contemporary, and simple. Later, Sous Chef Scott told him and Nona to get changed as Ramsay was waiting for them outside. After, they rode in the SUV as he knew that the show's notoriety was throwing curve balls at them as they had no idea where they were going. They arrived at an airfield where Ramsay was waiting for them, and they received a helicopter tour of Los Angeles as one of them would live there after the competition. After seeing some of Los Angeles' famous landmarks, they arrived near the J.W Marriot, where Ramsay showed them a crowd of people waiting for them, and revealed their final challenge. After landing on the helipad, James gave him and Nona parachutes, and Ramsay told them that all they had to do was jump, and the parachutes would automatically open for them. He refused to do it, but Ramsay revealed that he was joking, and they all walked down to the stage.
During the Final Tasting Challenge, Russell made a roasted cauliflower soup with crab salad and curry powder, a burette and prosciutto salad with white balsamic, a garganelli with sea scallops, a pan-seared arctic char, and a grilled veal tender with roasted peppers and grilled onions. He eventually won the challenge 3-2 over Nona. When he and Nona came back to the dorms, they reunited with their former teammates, and while he did not know who to pick, he knew that Boris could not cook at all. Because he won the challenge, he was rewarded with the first pick. He picked Jillian, Vinny, Sabrina, and Rob.
The next day, during prep, Russell urged Vinny to get fired up, but dismissively knew that Vinny was jealous of him. Then, Vinny told him that what he did to get him eliminated was dirty, but he told him to either get over it or leave. Despite that, he convinced Vinny to stay. Before service began, Ramsay gave him his head chefs jacket.
Russell's European menu featured scallops with cauliflower, goat cheese ravioli, and a pan seared filet mignon. During dinner service, he rejected Vinny's cold scallops, but was able to push appetizers after Vinny rebounded. After discovering that Sabrina put unneeded stock to the filet, he reminded that the meat was supposed to be dry rubbed and not boiled. Then, Sabrina sent a raw steak, and he decided to switch stations between Vinny and Sabrina to make sure a mistake like that would not happen again, which Ramsay considered a clever move. It paid off as Vinny sent a respectable filet to the pass. Later, he decided to fire two tables at once in order to keep his lead over Nona, but one of the dishes was sent back for being raw, and Ramsay reminded him to do one ticket at a time. Later, he was focused on the finish line, and pushed Rob for the ravioli. However, Rob announced that he was out of tomato water, which pissed him as Rob did not warn him earlier. Then, he frustratingly ordered Jillian to help Rob, and warned him that he was pissing off the wrong person. However, when Rob talked back to him, it infuriated him, and the two of them almost had a physical confrontation, much to Ramsay’s dismay. Despite that, he got all of his tables served, and while he felt that he ran a marathon, he was proud of his performance, and believed that his overall consistency would help him win.
After service, Russell went back to the dorms, said that his anxiety level was through the roof, and would be disappointed if he would rank in second place. Ramsay called him and Nona to his office, and he was told to stand in front of a door, knowing it would open only if he was the winner. After waiting nervously for Ramsay's countdown to end, he turned the handle, but his door did not open.
Russell became the runner-up of Hell's Kitchen, but unlike all the other runner-ups before and after him, he did not take his defeat graciously, and blamed his brigade for costing him the win, even threatening to blacklist them from any restaurant he would work at. As the rest of the chefs celebrated, he was seen bitterly drinking champagne.
- He participated in the fifth different-gender finals of Hell's Kitchen.
- He is the eighth runner-up, and fifth male runner-up of Hell's Kitchen.
- He is the only runner-up in the show's history who took his defeat ungraciously.
- After his appearance on the show, he appeared on Iron Chef, and ran kitchens at The Florentine, Chicago Cut Steakhouse, 8UP, Concetrics, and is currently an Executive Chef at Hugo's Frog Bar. He also helped open a number of successful restaurants.
- "Boris and Raj are working together. It's like watching two idiots do a Rubik's Cube, there's no chance on Earth they're going to get it right."
- (To Trev) "If you talk to me like you've talk to me before, about that salmon, I'm gonna slap the shit outta you!"
- (After being named runner-up) "I chose the team that I wanted, I thought they would help me win and in fact, they helped me lose, so you know, thanks a lot guys. You will never get a job in any city I work, I'm gonna definitely black ball you guys 'cause you guys fucked me so royally tonight."