Van was very energetic, funny, and was always there to charm the audience. He was also hot-headed, as he almost fought against Jean-Philippe. In the kitchen, he was one of the strongest links in the blue team, and developed friendships with Kevin and Robert. On season 17, he had the same energy, charm, and comedic edge, but toned down his temper over the years, tending to smile when nervous. He also formed friendships with Benjamin and Barbie, and had a short-lived running feud with Josh.
Season 6 Edit
When receiving some tips from Season 3 contestant Aaron and a clip of him crying before service, Van called him a sissy. Then, Ramsay revealed himself and ordered all the chefs to cook their signature dishes. While getting in the kitchen, he declared it was game time.
Before tasting the signature dishes, Ramsay announced that for the first time ever, the Signature Dish Challenge would occur as a regular team challenge, with each contestant going head-to-head. Van was the last person of the blue team to have his dish judged by Ramsay, and went up against Sabrina. He served his seared Foie Gras with minted caramel, which Ramsay praised for its creativity and complexity. He won the round against Sabrina and clinched the victory for his team.
The blue team won the challenge 3-2, and they were rewarded with a dinner on the Hell's Kitchen patio, where they would eat dishes from Ramsay's London West Hollywood, in Los Angeles. During the reward, Van dared Louie to jump in the hot tub, and drank a lot of champagne. The next morning, because the blue team drank too much and not studied the menu, they were slow to do their prep, with him saying he had to chill out a little bit and that there was something in the champagne that was good. He was seen lost while peeling a piece of cheese.
During dinner service, Van was on the fish station with Jim. He was not seen much, except at one point when he rallied behind Louie, who was struggling on the meat station. After the latter's elimination, he compared the situation to a bad dream, and Ramsay shut down both kitchens.
When the teams were lined up, Robert joined the blue team, and Ramsay declared the blue team winners for serving a few entrées out, compared to the red team's zero. At elimination, Van and his teammates said goodbye to Robert, who was just integrated on the red team.
The next morning, both teams got down in the blue kitchen, where Ramsay introduced the Shrimp Cleaning Challenge. During the challenge, Van was annoyed by Lovely's way of cheering her team while sitting out, saying she should shut the fuck up. He was the second person from the blue team to have his shrimps judged by Ramsay, and scored 9 points.
The blue team won the challenge 45-44, and they were rewarded with a day at Newport Beach for a lunch of seafood, shrimps and raw bar with Ramsay, and a dessert on a 40-foot mega yacht. Van was excited as he never saw the Pacific Ocean before in his life, and said he was California dreaming. On the yacht, he talked, along with Jim, about how cool it was receiving tips from one of the best chefs in the world.
When the teams were lined up, Van was dedicated to serve the shrimp scampi tableside during service. He was excited, stating that his charisma would help him get through service, while Ramsay told him to not bench-press the tables and give the customers an old-fashion Texas smile. When service began, Joseph, Kevin, and himself motivated each other, and before he went to the dining room, he asked Ramsay for some rags. But, Ramsay told him to fuck off in the dining room, before asking who would get him toilet paper after he sat down on the toilet, which he answered himself would get some. He also acknowledged he had to stop asking Ramsay for stuff, before going to his station in the dining room. When Tony served his scallops, Ramsay told he could fire up his shrimps in the dining room, but moments later, Tony came to tell him the scallops were raw and he had to refire them. He did not appreciate and told Tony to move.
Later, Jean-Philippe came to Van and gave him some tips, but he did not appreciate that interfering, and aggressively told Jean-Philippe he was working. Ramsay spotted the argument between the two of them, and went in the dining room to ask them to keep it cool in front of the customers. After, he picked his cart and went to a red table, which Jean-Philippe told Ramsay about. Ramsay called him to the hot plate and asked him to give a scampi special to the right table, before asking what was the matter between him and Jean-Philippe. The latter told there was a language barrier, but Ramsay reminded he was speaking English like him, before Jean-Philippe told it was because he was from Texas. After that, he apologized to the red table before going to the right one. Moments later, he was working on his scampi appetizers by telling the customers to watch their eyebrows and that his shrimp was "Van-licious". However, at one point, his pan dropped and shrimps fell on the floor, and when he tried for a second time, the same thing happened. When he went back to the kitchen to get another pan, Jean-Philippe told him not to run in the dining room, but he did not appreciate that comment saying he would not let him tell what to do. When he was about to go back in the dining room, Jean-Philippe started to lose his patience and aggressively asked him to listen. The two of them were about to fight each other, before Ramsay pulled both of them in the pantry room. Jean-Philippe told Ramsay that he was not having any respect for the dining room, but he did not even care what Jean-Philippe was saying. Ramsay schooled both of them and asked them to do their own jobs so they would come together. Near the end of service, he went to the fish station to help Tony, who was struggling.
Because there was five men on the fish station and a lot of struggle in both kitchens, Ramsay ordered both teams to send shrimp cocktails to the dining room, and shut down both kitchens. When both teams were lined up, Ramsay named both teams joint-losers, and asked them to nominate two people each for elimination. During deliberation, Van was considered by Jim for almost punching Jean-Philippe in the face. He confronted Jim, saying he would punch him in the face and that he could suck his dick. After that, he angrily mimicked Jim, left the conversation and was calmed down by Robert, before going on the patio.
Van was not nominated for elimination, which was delayed until the following episode because of the infamous Joseph incident.
Back in the dorms, the chefs went to bed, trying to get some sleep, but very early in the night, alarm bells started to go, Sous Chef Scott, holding a flashlight, told everybody to get out of the restaurant immediately as an emergency was called. Then, fire trucks arrived to Hell's Kitchen and the chefs got outside. But, Ramsay was standing with the firefighters, revealing that it was a fire drill. He introduced the Firefighter Pasta Meal Service Challenge, and all the chefs got back in the dorms to change. Van was pumped and excited to feed the firefighters and work as a unit. During the challenge, he was working on entrées, and declared the blue team could not lose, while cheering for Andy by telling to push.
The blue team eventually lost the challenge, and they were punished by cleaning the fire trucks left by the firefighters, as well as their equipment, and they would continue by cleaning the dining room inside. Arrived outside, Van, along with Jim, Andy, and Dave, was dedicated at cleaning the trucks. After the punishment, he expressed concern about Kevin and Dave, who sustained injuries during the day, as both of them were two of the blue team's best cooks, and added that dinner service would go down because of their injuries.
The next day, during prep, Van was confident and said the blue team needed to move fast during service. When both teams were lined up, he was pumped as he jumped up and down a couple of times. During dinner service, he was on the appetizer station. When Ramsay called out the first ticket, he was confident to be on appetizers and that he had to set the momentum for the team. He became very vocal quickly, communicating with Robert and telling him to drop his scallops. Then, he took a big bite of pasta to taste, and yelled at Robert to go fast. However, Ramsay was not impressed by his shouting as it was confusing everybody, he apologized, sent his first risotto to the pass, which was deemed delicious by Ramsay. He celebrated, Ramsay urged him to continue that way, and he and Kevin gave each other a fist pump. The blue team eventually won the service for having a 83% above average rating from the customers, compared to the red team's 81%.
Back in the dorms, Van trash-talked about Andy, saying that he was hanging by a thread, that he could not hand the pressure, and that he almost lost the service for the blue team. In his bed, he talked with Kevin about it, saying that they should get those fools out of there.
During the Sausage Strings Challenge, Van was paired with Andy, much to his dismay as he compared him to a knucklehead, and said he would rather be paired up with anybody else from his team. While they had communication problems, they were able to get two of their strings accepted, with him yelling that failure was not an option for the blue team. Despite that, the blue team lost the challenge 4-6, and they were punished by cleaning up the dorms, which included the bathrooms, carpet, and kitchen. Back in the dorms, he and Kevin were frustrated with their loss, but told Kevin and Robert to keep it together when they were arguing. During the punishment, he complained how most of the chefs were slobs for leaving all their dirty dishes and food everywhere, and the terrible smell in the bathroom, all while calling it hell.
During prep, after Dave told the team that he had to leave to get a cast for his fractured wrist, Van said that the blue team could not afford to lose anybody else, and that they were crippled. During dinner service, he was on the garnish station. He got annoyed with Jim who was taking too long on the amuse-bouche, and during the final ticket, he received help from his teammates, and the blue team eventually won the service. Later, he thanked his team for their help, and mocked Suzanne's play by play request, along with his teammates.
When Ramsay announced that their next service was a Welcome Home Party for Staff Sargent Otis James, Van deemed it as a real honor. During the Welcome Home Planning Challenge, he was not seen much, but the blue team won the challenge 2-1. They were rewarded with an activity of flying in fighter jets. At the airfield, he said that he had a need for speed. During the reward, he had fun by simulating shooting his teammates.
During the Welcome Home dinner service, Van was on the appetizer station with Andy. They managed to serve all of their appetizers without any problems. Later, one of his pans was smoking, leading Ramsay to help him out. The blue team had to help the red team out in the red kitchen when they finished serving their own entrées, and won the service by a mile over them.
During the 700 Calories Challenge, Van paired with Jim on the entrée dish. The blue team eventually lost the challenge 1-3, and they were punished by collecting the ingredients for the red team's dishes at a local supermarket on a conference bike, and had to prep both kitchens for the next service. During the punishment, he got aggravated because things were going poorly for the team, and got concerned over Robert's health, who left for the hospital before service began.
During dinner service, Van was on the dessert station. He was not seen much, though he did say that Jim was cooking like a zombie without showing any emotions. Both teams were named joint-losers and had to nominated one person each for elimination.
Before the Craps Challenge, Van asked what the covered object behind Ramsay was, and knew that Hell’s Kitchen was unpredictable. After, it was revealed the object was a craps table. He rolled an A, and chose angel hair pasta. During the challenge, he felt that Dave was trying to compensate for choosing figs in the first place by prepping them, but he and Kevin were amazed when the figs added to the tomato sauce tasted great. The blue team won the challenge over the red team, and they were rewarded with a trip to Las Vegas, which excited him as he never went there before. They went to the Palms Casino and Resort and stayed at the Hardwood Suite.
During prep, Van noticed that the red team's mood was low, and said that the blue team did not need Robert. He and the blue team were not happy to see the latter come back. During dinner service, he was on the fish station. Despite his confidence as he was working as a fish cook, one of his sea bass was sent back for having plastic on the skin. On his second attempt, it happened again and he was lectured by Ramsay to pay more attention to his dishes. He also took the chefs table's order for the fish entrée, but struggled to explain what the items were exactly. The blue team lost dinner service after Ramsay shut the kitchen down, he was reminded of his poor performance, and Dave was named "Best of the Worst".
Van was Dave's second nominee, with Robert being the first. They were eventually joined by Andy. Ramsay reminded him about his plastic incident, and when asked if he had peaked, he answered that he had not, and stated that Ramsay’s twenty years of experience could help him spot talent. He survived elimination as Ramsay sent him back in line.
During the Blind Taste Test, Van was the first person from the blue team to compete, and went up against Ariel. He could only get leeks correctly, and the blue team eventually lost the challenge 4-6. They were punished by making palate cleansing sorbet for the following service, as well as cleaning the sorbet glasses and taking in deliveries of fruit. During the punishment, he was the only one not to complain about drinking a smoothie made of duck and risotto, and got angered when the red team came back from their reward giggling and bragging about it.
During dinner service, Van was on the meat station. When Kevin temporarily left the kitchen to serve the sorbet, he was moved to the appetizer station. His first risotto was rejected for tasting bland, and while he recovered with some extra mascarpone cheese, they were not well received by the customers. Despite that, his performance on the meat station went without problems, and the blue team won dinner service.
During the Crepe Challenge, Van struggled to make his crepe as he could not spread out his batter properly. He went up against Ariel in the breakfast round, and served a bacon and quail eggs crepe. Despite being praised for having a tasty filling, the crepe itself was spongy. He lost the round to Ariel, and the blue team eventually lost the challenge 2-3. They were punished by prepping both kitchens for the next service, while eating boiled cow tongue, stale baguette, and head cheese for lunch.
During prep, Van found out about Andy's injury, and complained that the blue team had three people injured, while believing that they may be cursed. During dinner service, he was on the garnish station. He was not seen much, except when he expressed surprise of Dave's quick performance between the appetizer and meat stations, while remarking that despite having one working arm, he could cook. Both teams were named joint-losers, and Ramsay asked both teams to agree on two nominees between them.
Van was not nominated for elimination. Later, he welcomed Suzanne as a new teammate, much to his dismay.
During the Fifteen Canadian Ingredients Challenge, Van was the final person from the blue team to present his entrée, and went up against Sabrina. He served a grilled shrimp with kale and roasted tomatoes and sunchoke purée, but stumbled on describing the dish, and got help from Sabrina. It got mixed reviews as, despite the shrimp being praised for tasting sweet and delicious, was criticized for being thick. Despite that, he won the round over Sabrina, and the blue team won the challenge 4-2. They were rewarded with a day at Campanile, and got Whistler beanies that Ramsay picked up on his trip.
During the menu planning, Van inputted some ideas that were accepted by his teammates. During dinner service, he was on the fish station. He made seven scallops instead of six that were ordered, and Ramsay called him Dumbo after a quick math lesson. Later, he brought up the sauce for the halibut, but accidentally spilled some on the pass, and got lectured by Ramsay for that. When he chuckled over that, Ramsay lectured him again, while urging him to fight back. Later, his halibut was rejected for being raw, and his mistake led to a standstill. Despite his confidence on the second attempt, it was raw again as Ramsay angrily smashed it before getting ordered to get another one going, which did not happen as Ramsay eventually decided to shut down both kitchens. Both teams were named joint-losers, and Ramsay asked to choose one nominee each for elimination.
Van was the blue team's nominee, and joined Sabrina from the red team. Despite Ramsay believing that he could not go any further, he said that he was not finished yet, and survived elimination.
Back in the dorms, Van claimed that he fought for his life to stay as it meant everything for him to stay and win, while knowing that he could not make any more stupid mistakes. The next day, he was still upset over the previous night, but knew that he had to let it go. In the living room, he found gift boxes, and when he showed them to Dave and Kevin, they were containing black jackets.
During the Taste It Now Make It Challenge, Van was paired with Ariel. While he initially believed that the fish protein was sea bass, he ultimately went with turbot. Their other ingredients were calamari, celery root, and starfruit. Near the end of the thirty minutes, he dropped his cooked turbot, but quickly got another one cooked. While he and Ariel were in the top two, they ultimately lost to Dave and Suzanne. He was punished by prepping for a Couples Night Service, as well as helping Jean-Philippe to decorate the dining room. During the punishment, he jokingly commented that Dave and Suzanne were going on a date, was pissed that he did not get the chance to spend some time with Ramsay and instead had to be with Jean-Philippe, who he called whistle britches.
During prep, Van noticed that the mood has changed as everybody was eyeing up their competition, and announced that he was ready to take advantage of that. During dinner service, he was on the fish station. While he was determined to make sure his fish was cooked properly, Ramsay caught him searing a sea bass instead of cooking the scallops, and he got warned that Ramsay would be watching him like a hawk. However, he started to sweat in his scallops, and Ramsay yelled at him before forcing the team to start the ticket over. Because of that, the kitchen received an overflow of tickets as very little food was being served, and Ramsay yelled at him for that. Later, he was caught dragging a halibut in a non-sizzling pan, sent a raw halibut, and got disappointed by his poor performance. Then, Ramsay sent him to the pantry room, and while he was urged to get a grip, Ramsay warned him that one more mistake could get him ejected. When Ramsay and Sous Chef Scott left service after a frustrating time, he was forced to plate his own dishes after Suzanne refused to. He did not communicate with Tennille properly, and did not like how he was being treated like a girl. When Ramsay and Sous Chef Scott returned, he, along with Suzanne and Ariel, were ejected from service. Back in the dorms, he yelled that he worked his ass off despite getting yelled at by Ramsay, and went off to calm himself down.
Van was not nominated for elimination, but when Ramsay asked Tennille for her opinion, she said that he should have been nominated, and he was called down with Ariel and Suzanne. Despite saying that he was trying his best and hated being nominated, he was eliminated for his back to back poor performances on the fish station. Before he left, Ramsay told him that while he could cook, he needed to keep his cool and let his food do the talking. During his exit interview, he received a retrospective montage of his run.
Ramsay's comment: "Van may be a poissonier, but his performance on fish was anything but Van-tastic."
When he returned for the final dinner service of the season, Van was Kevin's first pick, followed by Amanda and Sabrina. He hoped that he could redeem himself about his poor performances that led him to be eliminated.
During dinner service, Van was on the appetizer station. He got off to a good start by communicating with Kevin, and later, was moved to the fish station after Amanda's struggles on scallops. Later, he was sent back to the appetizer station when Amanda was struggling again, and it was because of him that appetizers were finally leaving the kitchen. Later that night, he noticed that Kevin's change to a calmer approach was getting things clicked. Kevin eventually lost the finals to Dave.
Season 9 Edit
Van joined Ben (Season 5), Tennille (Season 6), Jillian, and Trev (both Season 8) as part of the returnee brigade that cooked against the black jacket team of Jennifer, Tommy, Elise, Will, and Paul. His team eventually lost the service.
Season 17 Edit
As Van was the only representative from Season 6, his prior interactions with his fellow All-Stars were limited to Elise and Jennifer from Season 9's black jacket team, and Ben from Season 5, who was on Van's team as a selection of returning chefs (see above). His wild and zealous personality led Michelle to call him the male version of Robyn.
During the Signature Dish Challenge, he was the first chef to score 5 on the signature dish challenge with his lobster and succotash. But Elise, who went against him with lobster, was equal to the task. The blue team won the challenge due to strong performances from him and Benjamin.
Van's steak tacos was one of the top four in the bar menu contest, but he ultimately lost immunity to Milly. He did not make any significant errors in service and the blue team won, although they lost their teammate Ben, who was ill.
Before the opening sequence, he called the red team "ratchet girls" for their constant in-fighting. This term stuck until he was eliminated from the show.
During dinner service, he was responsible for one of the few speed bumps in the blue kitchen, by taking too long on a salmon when the rest of the order was ready. However, the salmon went up perfect and Jared praised Van for taking the extra minute. The blue team won dinner service.
Before the opening sequence was played, he flirted openly with Barbie.
During the punishment, Van lost his respect for Josh, who revealed he was a celebrity chef who only worked 3 hours a day. Van himself remembers the significantly longer workdays he put up with to get where he is today and believes Josh hasn't learned to sacrifice as much as he.
During dinner service, he was helping Josh, who was flustered, causing Van to yell at him, prompting Nick to step in before things got too serious. He also laughed at Josh in a confessional when Ramsay "punished" Josh for cooking risotto not to order by making him eat it with VIP guest Paige Van Zant. Later on, he expressed frustration over Jared’s raw duck, saying it was for someone’s birthday. Despite having trouble communicating with Josh, he was not nominated after the blue team lost the service.
During the Plank Cooking Challenge, Van was the only one from the blue team assigned to barramundi. He smoked it and added a nicoise salad on the side that featured eggs boiled directly in the fire pit, a risky move that actually paid off and earned him a point for the blue team. The blue team went on to win the challenge in a tiebreaker.
Van served salmon rillette table side with Barbie.
Van was challenged by Manda to cook a Vietnamese-inspired pizza. He made a banh mi pizza, which, despite being praised as delicious, lost to Manda's pho pizza for its poor presentation.
During service, Van made no errors, but was caught smiling after Ramsay chewed out the blue team. Ramsay took him to the pantry and angrily berated him, asking him if he was ready to go home and stating, "It's not a time to laugh!" Van profusely apologized and told Chef Ramsay he respected him a lot as he stated that he laughed when he was nervous, but should probably stop doing that.
Van received votes from Nick and Milly for nomination, but Jared and Robyn were named as the nominees as they received more votes than he did. Even though Ramsay was irritated by Van's casual attitude during service, he was OK with Van not getting nominated, as he considered Jared faking an injury to be a fireable offense.
During the challenge, Van was the first person to exit the kitchen. The blue team won due to their good communcation.
Van was allowed to forgo the Cook For Your Life challenge along with Benjamin and Nick, and he correctly predicted that Milly would be the first person to return from the challenge.
During the cave meat challenge, Van's boar dish earned a point for the blue team. The blue team won the challenge 2-1.
Van wasn't highlighted much in this episode's dinner service, but it was likely the best non-black jacket dinner service in the history of Hell's Kitchen, as everyone was working well together and every dish the blue team sent up was cooked to perfection.
During the Fishing Challenge, Van was excited to be assigned to Dover sole, but the fish fell apart as he was cooking it. He made a risky decision to refire his sole with only a few minutes left in the challenge. This move paid off, and Van scored over Barbie in the final round after guest judge Michael Cimarusti asked him if he was feeling lucky.
During dinner service, Van was on the fish station. He appeared hungover from his night in Vegas, and failed to respond when Ramsay asked him for time on the salmon. Then, he proceeded to bring the salmon up overcooked, leading Ramsay to yell that he just shut down.
Ramsay's comment: "Van always had one of the loudest voices here. Tonight, not only did he lose his voice, but also his dream of becoming my next Head Chef."
Van was the only member of Benjamin’s team who made no errors during service, and he expressed concern over Robyn’s poor performance on meat.
In the closing celebration, as the champagne was being poured, Van was overheard asking Marino for a "real drink".
- He is the son of the late Gertrude Elizabeth Vachon, who is best know for her wrestling name Luna Vachon.
- After his first appearance on the show, he became chef at Jordan Caterers, along with Kevin, and they were on a local cooking show called "Midday Chefs". In September 2016, he was hired as a consultant for Taino Smokehouse to create their menu and become operational, before coming back to Hell's Kitchen, for the All-Star season.
- He is the first contestant ever who scored a perfect five on the new format of the Signature Dish Challenge without making it to the black jackets.
- He is the only contestant to date who was eliminated after being nominated by Ramsay twice.
- His elimination came under fire from the fans of the show, as they thought Barbie or Elise should have been eliminated instead.
- (Referring to Season 3 Aaron) "Aaron is a sissy! Suck it up, fat boy!"
- "It's game time!"
- "I think sometimes, people underestimate me because I'm just a tattered up country boy, from Texas. But I'm a beer drinker with a sophisticated palette."
- "GOIN TO THE YACHT, BOYS, GOIN TO THE YACHT!"
- "I don't have any experience in the front house, but I have CHARISMA!! I have CHARISMA, and that's what's gonna get me through the service tonight!"
- "Tony's running around like a little fly. Little Tony boy."
- "Hell yeah, that shrimp was Van-licious tonight! They were loving it, they were eating it up. It's all about charisma and finesse. I wouldn't be having too much finesse when I dropped the pan, but they still loved it!"
- (To Jean-Phillippe) "Don't touch me, bro! You better get outta my face!"
- (To Jim) "I'd punch you in your face!... Suck my fucking dick!"
- "BLUE TEAM! FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION!"
- "PUNISHMENT SUCKS, I HATE PUNISHMENT!"
- "Chef Ramsay's up there speaking French with Whistle Britches. Hon Hon Hon Hon!"
- "Dave and Suzanne, sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G!"
- "Ratchet! Ratchet girls!"
- (To Elise and Barbie) "How are my Nubian princesses doing?"
- "I could charm the fangs off a rattlesnake."
- "When you're walking down the hall, you can hear 'em fighting! In front of Chef, and they're still fighting! These ratchet girls are just RATCHET!"
- "I'm going over to help you, and you're acting like a little BITCH right now, Josh!"
- "I'm not laughing at Chef Ramsay. I laugh when I'm nervous, I laugh when I'm happy, I just laugh!"
- "Have fun, ratchet reds!"
- (About Josh eating with Paige Van Zant) "C'mon man, that ain't no punishment. He's up there like (kiss) GET THE FUCK BACK ON YOUR STATION BRO!!!!"