Hell’s Kitchen Recap: 20 Chefs Compete

the dawn of a new season in Hell's Kitchen

the dawn of a new season in Hell’s Kitchen

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I’m a huge Top Chef fan.  I think I’d love any long-format reality cooking competition show, because I’m also a huge Hell’s Kitchen fan.  A new season started last week, and I’ll be recapping for you before the new episode airs each Thursday!

If you’ve never watched Hell’s Kitch (I nickname everything…) before, you should know that this show is completely over-dramatic.  Everything is the most something, or the worst ever something else.  There’s a lot of Gordon Ramsay swearing, yelling, and throwing things.  Beyond that, every challenge comes down to the very last point.  You get used to it.  I keep on watching for the food challenges, and because I absolutely love the talented Gordon Ramsay… even if his exceptionally high standards are played up for drama.

The contestants are broken into the two teams: Red and Blue.  From season two onward, it’s been men vs. women.  Each episode typically starts out with a challenge, similar to Top Chef’s Quickfire.  The winning team gets a reward while the losing gets a punishment.  The main event is the night’s dinner service where the chefs’ performances determine their eligibility for elimination.

Last week was the first episode, so we’re introduced to a crop of 20 new chefs.  Jean-Philippe, the maître d’, greeted the chefs as the pulled into Hell’s Kitchen.  (The seasons without JP were so lackluster; I love this guy!)  There’s a staged soft opening going on as the chefs walk in, which turns into a flash mob.  Then it’s time to cook!  Chef Ramsay starts every season by tasting each of the chefs’ signature dishes.

There’s minimal fuss in this tasting: no spitting out of food or smashing of plates.  Some dishes are indeed awful, but most, Chef Ramsay remarks, taste very nice.  The women end up winning it 5 points to 4!  They get to go to Chef Ramsay’s LA restaurant as a reward.

The men have to clean the dining room as punishment, and there’s already an annoying teammate— Mike.  While the rest of the Blue Team does some heavy lifting moving tables, Mike vacuums confetti lazily.  When asked to help with the tables, he storms out.

The next day is the first full day in Hell’s Kitchen, and grand re-opening dinner service.  I’ve got to agree with the announcer on this one; it’s one of the worst first dinner services ever.  The teams don’t serve a single appetizer.

Some low-lights:

  • Gabriel clearly only cooks his scallops on one side
  • Nicole has an attitude problem and gives up on scallops after cooking like, once
  • Gaurav struggles majorly with the risotto; he tastes with his finger (gross!)

Chef Ramsay kicks the entire appetizer section of the Red Team (Nicole, Sandra, and Joy) out of the kitchen.  He then kicks the entire Blue Team out of the kitchen.  Soon after, he shuts it down.  Sorry, diners.

Sandra, Nicole, Demarco, and Gaurav go up for elimination, as nominated by their teams.  Chef Ramsay gives Guarav the boot.  He can go no further with someone who can’t make risotto and tastes with his fingers then puts them back in the food.

Be sure to tune in tonight for a new episode, in which 19 chefs compete!

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