By EW Staff
Updated August 08, 2006 at 12:00 PM EDT
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Credit: Hell's Kitchen: Greg Gayne/FOX

After countless knife cuts, grease fires, and barked cries of “Yes, Chef!”, Fox’s sensationalist gastro-reality elimination show Hell’s Kitchen is down to two contestants: abrasive, crazy-eyed Heather, the sous chef from New York, and blubbery, crazy-for-Gordon Virginia (pictured), the salad chef from California. Poor wigga Keith. The egg-shaped, slack-mouthed cook couldn’t keep his attitude in check and Ramsay sent K-Greasy packing. Keith may have had bad leadership skills–and bad posture, and bad grammar, and bad choice of jeans, and bad manners — but he was entertaining as all hell. When right after being eliminated, Keith mouthed back at Ramsay — “I think you have the ‘blankity-blank’ hots for Virginia!” — I thought our Scottish drill sergeant might julienne his scalp with a Wüsthof.

Even though this season started with a surfeit of talent — remember hopeless marketing exec Gabe or waddling fishmonger Larry? The final two seem to be somewhat capable, though I still think that any of the contestants from Bravo’s Top Chefcould cook Heather or Virginia under the butcher’s block. The finalpair represent a good balance: Heather clearly has the better cookingmechanics, she’s a bulldog who can survive the pace of a hot kitchen,and could run a kitchen competently. Still, she’s an annoyingmicromanager and know-it-all who rubs everyone the wrong way. Virginiahas a better palate, a more finely tuned sense for flavor combinationsand understands what Vegas high-rollers expect for $30 an entrée. Inthe speed of a kitchen, she’s still kind of an amateur, and she’simmature, needy, and acts like a besotted schoolgirl in the presence ofMr. Move-Your-Ass. Honestly, I wouldn’t want to eat at a restaurantthat had either Heather or Virginia running the joint. If I’m gonna goto a reality-chef bistro, I’m picking this place.

Questions for the finale: Did you think Gordon picked the rightchef? Does Gordon have the hots for Virginia? Will Heather and Virginiabe able to control the sloppy crew of discarded cast members who arereturning next week? And most importantly, who will win?

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