The Heartbreaking Cheyenne Moment In The Hell's Kitchen Finale You Didn't Get To See On Camera - Exclusive

For those of you who don't religiously follow "Hell's Kitchen," Cheyenne Nichols was not competing in the final for a chance to become a head chef at one of Gordon Ramsay's 58 or so restaurants (at this point, who's counting?). She was doing her best to ensure that fellow Season 21 contestant Alex Belew got the job offer.

To be fair, even Belew knew that the station he assigned her to during that final, fateful dinner service wasn't going to be a "have your cake and eat it too" situation. "Cheyenne has only been cooking for four years, and I've got her on arguably one of the hardest stations in the kitchen," the Tennessean told Mashed in an exclusive interview. "If you had put me on the meat station when I was 21, I would've set the whole place on fire and walked out. It would not have been a good situation."

Props to Cheyenne for not doing that! She did, however, undercook meat a couple of times — which might not have been a big deal in another situation. But this time, much more was on the line than Gordon Ramsay's theatrical ire. A "Hell's Kitchen" finale is no ordinary dinner service. It's not even normal for the show's normally infernal standards. For finale contender Alex Belew, it was "the most important dinner service anybody has ever cooked in their lives." No pressure, though — right?

Alex Belew reveals what Cheyenne Nichols said to his wife

You didn't see this part on camera, but Cheyenne Nichols decided that she'd single-handedly lost the competition for Alex Belew. It likely didn't help that Belew was getting more anxious by the minute. "I remember talking to my mom and my wife, and they were like, 'Everything seemed fine until the very end,'" he told Mashed. "Then they were [like], 'Your entire demeanor changed, and you seemed like you had lost everything.' I was like, 'It all fell apart.'"

It turns out that Nichols — erroneously — thought she'd slowed him down enough to sway the whole competition in Dafne Mejia's favor. "Gordon was letting me know that [Dafne] only had one or two tickets left," Belew recounted. "I honestly can't remember all of this. But my team was concerned that we weren't going to finish first, because they thought that was going to set the tone for who was going to win. At one point, Cheyenne walked up to my wife and my mom and apologized. She was like, 'I think I lost the competition for him.' She felt so much pressure."

Belew, for the record, says he never expected to make it through the service without mistakes — and he told the team as much after dinner. "I was like, 'Listen, we did the best we could ... we caught the mistakes on the pass. Nothing went out wrong. Nothing came back ... We got tons of compliments on the food. We're going to have hiccups. We're human.'"

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