Aug 25, 2007
Hell's Kitchen: Now That the Debacle is Over, You and Others Can Weigh In
A.E. wrote to ask me these questions regarding Hell's Kitchen. I shall answer them as best I can in my comment section, but please feel free to weigh in and give your opinions as well. Meanwhile, I have provided links to articles and other blogs that address A.E.'s concerns. The best summary of this show was written by Anthony Bourdain on Ruhlman's blog a few months back and there is very little I would change about his opinion.
After seeing your posts of Hell's Kitchen, which I could not stop watching despite my usual hate for reality shows, I did have some inquiries. I think shows along the lines of American Idol and Survivor need to be outlawed altogether, so it's rather odd how I along with many others managed to find HK as addicting as I did, but whatever.
Yeah, you and I weren't the only ones, A.E. This show was a hit, as this article in USA Today attests.
I was curious, what did you think of how the show was organized? Did you find Gordon to be really that over the top and excessive? I've heard he's quite tame compared to most other French and English top chefs, and a pacifist compared to his early restaurant days.
Here's one blogger's take on the show, and it isn't pretty.
I find that the Chowhound boards are the most insightful.
And Television Without Pity provides good recaps, however, I liked the premise of the show. I think most restaurants behind the scenes are pressure cookers and chefs have to work as teams, or else the cooking won't get done.
Also, what did you think of the casting job? I think the one major let down was that Fox apparently flat out can't cast worth shit. Hence we were left with so many ridiculously under qualified contestants that their only real value was clearly to be shot down by Gordon in a sadistic sort of experiment. In some cases in season 3, the contestants were put on and allowed to last as long as they did solely so that viewers can enjoy watching their failures: seeing someone eliminated mid-service (Josh) or in some cases even trying to push forward negative stereotypes of those like Asians and disabled people (Aaron and Eddie).
This article answered the question: Are Hell's Kitchen contestants hired actors? But, yeah, I felt that Fox's casting sucks. One really questioned how qualified these contestants were, whereas Top Chef actually casts good cooks.
The only contestants I imagine could ever genuinely see being able to get to the point where they can run a top level restaurant are:
Season 1: Ralph who from what i've heard actually did pretty well for himself on against Bobby Flay, though like virtually everyone else he did end up losing, and Michael.
Season 2: Heather, Virginia if she could learn not to crack like an egg, and Keith if he underwent a substantial attitude adjustment and REALLY understood his potential.
Season 3: Rock-NO, I don't believe all the crap about how he won solely cos he's black, Bonnie, Julia if she got more experience at places other than Waffle House and possibly Brad.
See the comment section for my answers.
Hear this audio clip of Rock on National Public Radio just after he won Season 3.
Read this local news article about Rock before he heads to Nevada
What would you say about that? And have you heard anything about what HK contestants like Michael, Ralph, Heather, Virginia and Keith have been doing since they left?
Click here for epilogues for Season 1 and Season 2 contestants. Scroll down to the bottom of the pages to find out what some are doing now.
Here's a review of the three winners of the three shows...
And an old link to Michael's (Season 1 winner) plans and a new link talking about what happened to Michael's and Heather's careers.