Hell’s Kitchen Season Premiere: Too Many Chefs

I admit, watching Hell’s Kitchen is not for everyone. The extremely dramatic, over-produced, completely ridiculous cooking competition has been on the air for nine seasons now, however, so there’s clearly an audience for this type of thing. That audience thrives on drama; as chef Gordon Ramsey is constantly berating his chefs, hurling food around the kitchen and screaming at the top of his lungs.

If you’ve ever watching Ramsey on BBC network, you know that his “act” is definitely encouraged by his American producers. That’s one of the biggest problems the show has for the first 5-6 weeks; the producers are way too involved in every aspect of the show. It’s not just encouraging Ramsey to do some “shtick” for the American audience either. Some of the contestants act so ridiculous in the early going that it’s clear the producers have a lot of input in who gets selected on the show. These chefs make for entertaining television, but their presence on the show detracts from the overall competition as the viewer knows almost immediately that these “contestants” have no chance at surviving the competition.

Unfortunately, this makes the first few weeks of the show more about the drama and less about the cooking. Since it’s nearly impossible to write-up a review with so many chefs involved early on, here are some thoughts on last night’s episode and some things to look for during the upcoming season.

-There’s no doubt in my mind that Steven, the first contestant eliminated, was planted on the show by the producers. He was extremely flustered and his food was terrible. It’s hard to believe Gordon Ramsey chose this guy to be on the show.

-After last night’s performances, I also suspect Chino was picked by the producers as well. He’s not going to last long.

-I also have my doubts about Brendan, who was so cocky and arrogant about his food, yet really struggled during dinner service. He could just be around to stir the pot for a week or two before he does something ridiculous and gets sent home.

-After attempting to serve Chef Ramsey canned pineapple, Jonathan really stepped it up on the beef wellington station. That’s typically a station where a lot of chefs struggle, so perhaps there’s more to him than meets the eye.

-Like Jonathan, Krupa rebounded nicely after failing to impress Chef Ramsey with her signature dish.

-Elise is probably going to stay on the show longer than she deserves just based on the fact that she’s going to be a main source of drama on the women’s team. Her initial performance did nothing to prove she can actually cook, however.

-We made it through the entire episode without Chef Ramsey calling someone a “donkey.” I say it happens next week and Chino is his victim.

-In our first “next week on Hell’s Kitchen,” we already were promised an “explosive,” “thrilling,” “shocking,” and “unbelievable” episode. This is a common staple of Hell’s Kitchen. In nearly every promo you can expect to hear at least one of the following terms:

“You won’t believe…”
“Most shocking”
“Most dramatic”
“Most surprising”

-They really try to make the show dramatic.

-It’s been one episode, but the two chefs that stood out to me were Will and Paul. I’m not sure they are going to be very likable going forward, but they seemed to know what they were doing and seemed passionate about their food.

-We really didn’t get a lot of time with the women’s team last night, so it’s tough to determine who stood out there outside of Krupa.

Until the season really picks up, and the real contenders start to emerge, this will probably be the format I will be using for these reviews. Once the show starts to focus on the food and competitions — instead of the ridiculous drama — I will write a more traditional review. All in all, though, I’m glad to have Chef Ramsey back in my life for a few weeks.

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