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TV Review: Hell’s Kitchen Season Premiere

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I enjoy cooking. I enjoy baking. Folks seem to enjoy eating food I prepare. But, do I want to be a chef? Or, more specifically, do I want to go through hell at the hands of Chef Gordon Ramsay of Hell's Kitchen?

No way! This guy is brutal. He makes my own micro-managing boss look like an angel. And, of course, when you're talking kitchens, there are weapons there — knives, forks, and hot stoves, oh my!

I watched this show last season mainly because there wasn't anything else which interested me in the time slot. I ended up getting hooked on the show. So, here I am.
Hell's Kitchen
Tonight's season premiere was less of the touted two-hour special than it was two episodes shown one after the other. The events occurring were obviously two separate shows, not one grand ol' cookin' fest. But it did the trick for me on a quiet Monday night (as well as making me feel a bit better about my own boss).

This season, the 12 contestants have been broken down by gender to two teams of six each. I'm not huge on the gender war mentality in the reality television genre, but it seems like every show goes that route if it lasts more than a season. So be it. The men are the Blue Team; the women are the Red Team. Pink is obviously too fluffy and soft for Ramsay, I'd say.

Even though I watched the two hours, I still don't have too many of the contestants down. I'm impressed with Heather — she knows what she's doing. She severely burnt her hand in the second hour yet kept giving her team direction and said things like, "We do not speak in the kitchen." I'll remember that. I will only dance and hum while in my kitchen.

Others I noticed on the Red Team included Polly, way out of her league and gone in the first hour. Being a mom of six puts you through a lot but doesn't mean you can make it in Hell's Kitchen. There's Sara, who just struck me as rather odd. No one really stood out as being a possible winner other than Heather. We'll see. If we're going to play gender war, I want a woman winner!

Gordon RamsayThe Blue Team has its share of oddballs, too. There's a prison cook who was a prisoner. Eep. There's a young guy named Giacomo who started off very impressively, then screwed up the side dishes in the second hour and was nominated for elimination. I wanted to like him after the first hour, but now I'm not so sure.

One of the men I know I don't care for is this fellow Tom. He sweats in the food and looks more suited to be a character actor who'd be hanging out at an off-track betting parlor than someone I'd want fixing my dinner. He was nominated for elimination in the second hour, but Ramsay saved him and wanted a different person in his place. That person, Gabe, a lost sheep, was eliminated when put up with Giacomo.

They managed to have not just one, but two medical emergencies in tonight's premiere. One of the men (Larry) went to the hospital as his "body shut down due to stress." Hey, they said it, not me. He, like Gabe, was a lost sheep. He was way out of his element and he should be happy the stress nailed him in the beginning or his head would have exploded or something. That would have been a fine mess indeed.

The service? Well, I hope they don't charge the customers at Hell's Kitchen, not this early in the show, anyway. I can't imagine waiting two hours for my appetizers or more than three for my entrée. Yikes! On both nights they served (two shows, I tell you!), the customers ended up walking out and very few tables were served. I don't believe any tables received their entrées the first night in the first few hours.

The best lines of the night:

  • Gordon Ramsay: "I've got Muppets in my kitchen!"
  • "We've got a runner!" — one of the contestants, upon discovering Larry had gone missing.

The most disgusting part of the night? It's a toss-up between Gordon Ramsay making the contestants pull all the discarded (wasted) food from the first night out of the dumpster and the "who can sweat the most" contest between Tom and Keith. I'm sorry, but I don't want people who sweat like fountains near my food. I don't sweat in my own food and I'd leave a restaurant if I saw someone like that.

As I mentioned, in the first hour Polly was eliminated. I agree with that one. As for the men, I personally thought Keith, who couldn't even take orders and sweated all over the place, should have gone. Yes, Gabe wouldn't have lasted much longer, but at least he didn't disgust me. He was clean and neat.

So, what did I learn from the show? Hmmm…don't sweat in the food. Don't overcook the pasta. Keep my side dishes and meat timed to be ready at the same time. I learned I need a donkey, too. That's a new one on me this season. A donkey is a runner who keeps everything clean and fetches stuff. Oh, and the most important thing: don't become a chef for anyone, especially Gordon Ramsay

Burn baby, burn…

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About Jackie

  • Bliffle

    This program is quite stupid. It is obviously contrived for strife, not for cooking.

  • http://perfidy.org John Owen

    Well, yeah. If I wanted to watch semitalented novices just cooking, I could always put a camera in my own kitchen. It’s the abuse that makes it half-decent TV.

  • http://avalon_landing.blogspot.com Cass

    Keith hasn’t gotten a chance to show off in the kitchen yet. He’s supposedly a chef. I agree that Heather is the strongest candidate. My question is that if they do so much prep work ahead of time, WTF is the problem with just cooking the food!?? The waste of food was appalling and digging through it was disgusting. I don’t know how they didn’t puke. I figure it will come down to Heather and Sara, unless Maribel and the biker chick really step up (Virginia seems the next to be eliminated on the girls’ side). On the men’s side? Hmmm.. Prison cook just might come out on top. Tom is so nasty with all the sweat. Garrett and Giacomo seem a bit out of their element. If Keith gets a chance to shine, he might do well. *shrugs*

    What cracked me up was all the “tough” talk from several of the contestants: “I’m not gonna let Ramsay run all over me!” And then they ALL fell apart!

    (If Polly is really a caterer, why couldn’t she manage stress better?)

    Should be an interesting season!

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    ya think the contestants have to sign “though shalt not whack the chef” releases?

    i mean, if it were me i would have smacked him upside the head with a frying pan.

  • duane

    The brutal dog-eat-dog world of souffle preparation. Good grief.

    Next year there will be a TV show called “Masocarwash” about working in a carwash. There will be 10 contestants who will be judged on their ability to withstand the brutal on-the-job pressures of drying, waxing, and vacuuming. The instructor, a swaggering, loud, humorless hulk, will bark at the contestants about things like which rag to use on the dashboard, how not to leave streaks on the windshield, and reminding them most harshly to leave the windows up. Contestants will receive demerits for such things as forgetting the ashtrays, not vacuuming under the floormats, and not smiling at the customer. It’s brutal, I tell ya. Naturally, the contestants will be drawn from thousands of hopefuls, and will represent a mix of backgrounds, and will have discernibly wacky traits to set them off from the other contestants, thus guaranteeing that the phone lines will be jammed when the audience calls in their votes. I am already anticipating the lively debates with my work buddies.

  • http://bonamassablog.us Joan Hunt

    Congrats! This article has been placed on Advance.net

  • jack

    the customers are not only not charged, but they’re not even customers, they’re paid actors.