Hell's Kitchen

Monday nights at 9pm on FOX network is the famous and quite irritable Scot celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay and his Hell's Kitchen. This past Monday was the first show of the third season and it ran pretty much according to the template established in the first two seasons.

Dinner was never served, there were tears and recriminations on the part of the participants, and many cuss words and emotional tirades from Ramsay. All good fun, y'know?

Actually the first episode of this show is always the worst of the season. The first season I didn't get past that first show and stopped watching in disgust. Fortunately I watched the second season all the way through and understood at that point that the show actually did teach these prospective chefs quite a lot. The format of the show doesn't illustrate just how it's accomplished but it's apparent that these contestants ramp up their abilities amazingly far in the course of a short season.

But to get back to the first show of this season, at the opening of the show, chef Gordon Ramsay vows he is a changed man. "I will not scream. I will not swear." Then a pause ensues and he exclaims: "Oh, come on, who am I trying to kid here?"

If anything, Ramsay is harsher in this show than the past two seasons. They don't even introduce the contestants before turning up the heat and making them create their signature dishes, which Ramsay, almost without exception, ridicules.

  • Bonnie: Nanny/Personal Chef, 26
  • Aaron: Retirement Home Chef, 48
  • Jen: Pastry Chef, 26
  • Brad: Sous Chef, 25
  • Joanna: Chef’s Assistant, 22
  • Eddie: Grill Cook, 28
  • Julia: Short-Order Cook, 28
  • Josh: Junior Sous Chef, 26
  • Melissa: Line Cook, 29
  • Rock: Executive Chef, 30
  • Tiffany: Kitchen Manager, 27
  • Vinne: Night Club Chef, 29

Here's the summary of the signature dishes straight from the FOX website:

Chef makes fun of Vinnie’s snapper and calls it a disappointment. Then he questions whether Joanna can really cook. Joanna sips her bellini cocktail concoction as Chef Ramsay labels her dish dry. Rock introduces his pan-seared scallops with gnocchi, confessing that he used frozen pasta. Chef Ramsay likes the concept of the dish but is disappointed in the execution. Rock is deflated.

Josh wants his food to exude sex, but unfortunately his foie gras is raw and too salty. Does that describe his techniques in bed as well? Bonnie presents an update on a cheese course, and Chef Ramsay limits his complaints because she’s new to the kitchen. Bonnie still thinks he’s “kinda hot.”

Eddie and Brad both feature scallops, so Chef makes them taste each other’s dishes. Although Chef Ramsay considers both meals under par, he at least agrees with the way Eddie reviewed Brad’s sauce. Jen reluctantly admits that the vanilla crepe with peach schnapps is hers because she knows it will be bad.

Chef Ramsay finally thanks Melissa, because her steak and asparagus were perfectly executed. Chef asks Tiffany what she thinks of Julia’s chicken penne, and Tiffany deems it “very peppery.” Will Julia seek revenge when she’s invited to taste Tiffany’s seafood tostada? “I think it’s good,” Julia answers, admitting that she would order it in a restaurant. Chef agrees and extols Tiffany for cooking the seafood perfectly.

Finally it’s down to the cowboy hat-wearing Aaron. “You’re one chunky monkey, aren’t you?” Chef asks, noting Aaron’s body size and the amount of finger-food on the plate. Chef Ramsay likes one of the items, but pushes the rest aside. He thinks Aaron doesn’t know when to stop.

You might want to ask why these people take that kind of abuse. Well, the winner will receive a quarter of a million dollar salary as head chef of the Green Valley Resort restaurant in Las Vegas, plus a take a share in the restaurant’s profits. Not so bad, huh?

As usual in this show, the contestants are initially divided into two teams of 6 people by gender. The men are the Blue Team and the women are the Red Team. The women never were able to pull together as a team and as a result they just sucked. Prominent among their failures was an inability to even get some quail eggs fried. That was originally Tiffany's task and I think later on Bonnie was assigned it. Neither was able to do this seemingly simple task. Making this even more ironic was that Julia was a short order cook who'd probably cooked more eggs in the past year than all the other contestants had done in their entire lives. But she was sidelined and relegated to cutting up apples because none of the other women valued her Waffle House experience. Pity, 'cause nobody does hash browns like Waffle House. Yum.

On the other kitchen the men weren't doing great but they were showing teamwork and that seems to be what Ramsay is looking for in the early rounds. In the end, the women were declared the losers and Melissa was picked by Ramsay to select the two worst performers on the Red Team--one of which Ramsay would kick off the show.

After deliberation, Melissa choose Tiffany and Joanna. Both of these women looked to have significant potential and while neither performed well on this first show they were strong potential rivals. Perhaps this was simply a shrewd move on Melissa's part. It's clear that Melissa's objective was to get rid of her future competition rather than those who hurt the team that time out.

Ramsay showed Tiffany the door, which disappointed me since I was hoping she'd be on for a while. I thought she had potential to get to the final round. Boy, was I ever wrong!

Comments

tiff said…
I'd watch if there was not yelling.

I don't like yelling, but I DO love food shows! Mmmmmm, food.
SassyAssy said…
The Shiny Diner has better hash browns just for future reference....ever been there?
utenzi said…
I've been to some diners that were shiny, Sassy, but never to one named that. I do love great hash browns tho.

I agree, Tiff. Mmmmm, food!
kenju said…
I know Shiny Diners!! We always go to one in Arlington, VA when we visit our daughter.

I don't even like the commercials for that show, Dave. He humiliates the people and I don't care to see that.
Deana said…
I'm with Kenju on that one. The commercials make my shoulders cave in and my face scrunch up. He is so hard on them.
Michael Manning said…
I say let Utenzi get on that show, what with sharing of the profits and all!!!
angela marie said…
I don't watch the show, but I am getting hungry just reading this entry. Somebody cook me something!
Matthew Didier said…
Anything better than watching a man yell at and belittle chefs in training? *Sigh*

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