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TV Review: Hell’s Kitchen

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“One of you is going to run a restaurant and yet you’re all wimping around… and if you think tonight you have got your butts kicked, you’ve seen nothing yet.” 

Gordon Ramsay is not known for his delicate communication skills, which makes for a tense work environment and some pretty good television. That’s right, Hell’s Kitchen is back for its third season.

If the season previews are to be believed, this edgy reality series may be pushing the boundaries for how far the mouthy Brit can go in the coming months. But, as Fox is known to do, I expect that the contestant mutiny and ambulance lights may not be as dramatic as they are hinting.

Still, the season premier was full of backstabbing, cattiness, and tears — from both sides of the kitchen. As usual Ramsay asked the would-be culinary stars to prepare their signature dishes, of which only two didn’t make him want to vomit. This never surprises me since Ramsay is such an epicurean snob and most of the contestants barely have any cooking experience.

Does a short order cook or a nanny/personal chef have a snowball’s chance of running their own fine dining establishment? I think not. This season’s cast seems weaker than most, however. There are fewer people with relevant experience and more with huge attitudes to make up the difference.

Ramsay then divided the contestants into red and blue teams: the women on red, the men on blue. Both teams were abysmal in the kitchen, with the red team exemplifying that cliché image of women baring their claws during competition, while the blue team overcooked all of its food and I don’t think even got an appetizer out to the dining room. Tears flowed on both teams, though it was Aaron, the Asian cowboy, who started things off and nearly seasoned his dish with snot.

But despite the men’s poor performance, it was the ladies who lost, probably due to their inability to work together. I don’t really think that was fair, since they sent a lot of their food out to mixed reviews while the blue team struggled the whole time.

Melissa was deemed the best of the worst and was tasked with nominating two to go home. After promising Tiffany she wasn’t going home, Melissa nominated her in the end and Ramsay sent her packing. This was a ballsy move for the first episode and it put Melissa on my radar as a formidable contender.

On the blue team, Rock is my favorite for winning the season. Last summer I predicted Heather would take the grand prize from the first episode. Rock, who is already an executive chef, seems the strongest player at this point. He knows the kitchen and the etiquette. But even he messed up on his signature dish. I guess we shall see.

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About Robin Kavanagh