The Most Intimidating Guest Judge In The Hell's Kitchen Finale, According To Alex Belew - Exclusive

Alex Belew was not so self-assured to think he'd make it to "Hell's Kitchen" Season 21's final dinner service. For a hot second, he was sure both Dafne Mejía and Alejandro Najar had him beat. You might recall the moment. The final three had just dredged up one of the last bursts of adrenaline left in their tired systems and achieved what is only possible when Gordon Ramsay says it is: They'd cooked up a cold and a hot appetizer along with beef, chicken, and fish entrées in under an hour. 

Then Ramsay did what keeps us drama-hungry viewers coming back to "Hell's Kitchen" 18 years after the reality show first aired. He summoned fire and brimstone — this time in the living and breathing forms of guest judges Curtis Stone, Stephanie Izard, Nancy Silverton, Mei Lin, and David Myers. 

You might have been excited to see them. Try meeting them in a black jacket with your entire culinary future on the line. "They're all intimidating. You've got Michelin stars littered throughout that group," Alex Belew dished to Mashed in his exit interview. "You've got decades — probably a century — of knowledge between them all. I didn't see anyone walk out the door and be like, 'Oh, thank God' ... It was all a bunch of 'oh s***' moments.'" 

Here's why this judge scared Alex Belew the most

Despite his three perfect scores, Alex Belew barely got out of that round alive. He began the challenge confidently enough. Then things went downhill, and quickly. "I started off with a 10. I felt pretty good about that," Belew reflected to Mashed. "I thought the hush puppies were great, and then David didn't get enough prawn flavor. The salmon dish — I felt strong on that as well. Then when the chicken dish came out, I was like, 'I'm done. This is it. I'm saying goodbye.'"

"Top Chef" champion and Girl & the Goat founder Stephanie Izard was in charge of tasting and scoring the chicken round. "Stephanie is hard," Belew dished. He continued, "They're all intimidating, but having had Stephanie and David both judge me previously ... Stephanie will nitpick your dish to death. She was harsh on my chicken dish. It was like, 'This side's great, this side basically is not,' so, 'Eh, I'll give you an eight ...' I thought right then I was done."

To keep up with Alex Belew, visit his website and subscribe to his mailing list.