Hellâ€™s Kitchen, a new reality television program on Fox, aims to deliver a potent combination of The Restaurant and The Apprentice to heat up those summertime TV doldrums.
However, the result is a contrived platter of over-scripted nonsense: cold and clammy to the touch.
Weâ€™re told early on that â€ścelebrity chefâ€ť Gordon Ramsay is a culinary God among mortals. Heâ€™s got a bunch of restaurants and awards in the UK, and now heâ€™s set to take America by storm. This setup of On High greatness, we quickly learn, gives Ramsay the authority to berate his underlings as though he were a drill sergeant browbeating his half-wit recruits.
The premise of the show is that a bunch of â€śunknownâ€ť chefs with varying levels of experience will compete for a shot at running a restaurant. Ramsay and crew, of course, will oversee the operation and put the contestants through the ordinary reality show paces.
Hellâ€™s Kitchen, a restaurant in Hollywood, is the setting for most of the action. Two full kitchens in the restaurant allow two teams (Red and Blue) to operate simultaneously. Therefore, the first episode featured a competition to see who could serve the customers best.
However, before that segment transpired, things were already getting silly. During the first â€śtension-filledâ€ť sequence (with creepy music and hushed voiceovers to aid the action) each contestant cooked their â€śsignature dish.â€ť Ramsay then sampled the results, and took the opportunity to express profound disgust at every turn, insulting most of the dishes â€“ as well as the intelligence of the audience â€“ with references to dog droppings, cow colon, and a slew of cussing caught under the merciful bleep.
I got the impression that a Fox executive, salivating over the prospect of a Simon Cowell derivative added to the network, green lighted this project in the hope of bringing the next American Idol (with your host, the Food Nazi) to life.