So last night was the season finale of “Hell’s Kitchen” and with the finale of “Next Food Network Star” set for Sunday night, I’ll only have “Top Chef” to blog….what am I going to do with myself for the next month? But hey, that’s my problem, not yours!

“Hell’s Kitchen” has progressed a lot in the last few years. It used to be that the season finale was stretched out over two episodes that were usually two hours long each. Now, they have mercifully condensed that to one hour, and in the process there is far less fluff and much more meat.

Still, that leaves one very large looming question–did Jay and Holly do it? Are they an item? Will the loser join the winner in London? Okay, that’s more than one question. But they are valid questions, don’t you think?

So this episode began with Holli and Jay being told by sous chef Andrea to come down to the kitchen and dress nicely. Chef Ramsay had a surprise for them, but they had no idea what that would be. He brought them to the Savoy Hotel in L.A., and brought them up to the roof where they were looking down at a bunch of screaming fans. Then, of course, he had them prepare five dishes each in one hour’s time, after which they would be judged by some executive chefs that work for Ramsay in the U.K. Talk about pressure. But somehow these two delivered and their dishes looked amazing. I’m really not sure how they did that in one hour….could that have been a white lie that Ramsay told us? No matter. The judges of course chose the winners of each round so to make it a 2-2 tie with one dish to go. That was clearly done on purpose. But the fifth dish went to Jay and he was the winner of the challenge.

Back at Hell’s Kitchen, Jay and Holli were given three sous chefs each to work with–Siobhan, Fran, Nilka, Jason, Ben and Autumn. Since Jay won the challenge, he was allowed to choose first, and he went with Ben. Holli chose Autumn, Ben chose Jason and Holli picked Nilka. That left Siobhan and Fran and Jay took Fran, leaving Siobhan with Holli.

Then as they were prepping, Ramsay called Holli and Jay into his office. He told them they would both be going to Australia as a gift from him to experience some of the world’s best food and wine. Then he gave them each an executive chef’s jacket to wear.

During the dinner service, Siobhan was screwing up almost instantly, and Fran was burning scallops. Nothing new from those two! Jason couldn’t cook meat properly and Nilka overcooked some venison. Ben, meanwhile, was a huge help to Jay, even being assertive and vocal to help move things along in the kitchen. Autumn and Nilka were arguing, and that wasn’t helping production in Holli’s kitchen. Still, both teams managed to get their dinners out in about the same amount of time with few overall problems.

So now, Ramsay stood in front of Holli and Jay and told them what a great job they’d done. He held some customer comment cards and he would review those and consider his own observations before declaring a winner. They would each stand in front of those doors, with one of them opening and one not, with a waiting crowd down below.

And……..the winner was…..Holli! I have to admit that this time around, I had no idea who might win, other than to think that this was one of the most evenly matched finales so far. Ramsay congratulated Jay and then the confetti flew….and Ramsay even shot champagne at Jean Phillippe….one of the show’s best moments ever!

So again…we have to ask…will Jay join Holli in the U.K.? Or will he just go back to his executive chef position in Boston? It’s been a good, if fast, season…and the interesting relationship Jay and Holli have or had made it even more intriguing.

That’s it folks….thanks for reading and joining with me this season, and we’ll start the new season of “Hell’s Kitchen” in late September. Enjoy the rest of your summer!