20080611

Hell's Kitchen - All is not well at the "Pass"

Yes, I am addicted to all the reality cooking shows. Top Chef, Next Food Network Star, Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares. I love them all for different reasons. Top Chef gets some serious young talent, trained chefs for the most part. Next Food Network Star brings in chefs as well as simple foodies - they're looking for someone with food chops as well as personality because they're giving a cooking show to the winner. Kitchen Nightmares is Gordon Ramsey acting as a restaurant consultant for failing eateries. Hell's Kitchen is a foodie soap opera and I can't help but love Ramsey's portrayal of the "Satan of Saute", lol.

Last night I was watching Hell's Kitchen and one part actually had me laughing out loud. During the dinner service Maitre D' Jean Phillipe was keeping his ears on the pass in order to avert disaster in the dining room, here's a little sample of the action:

Jen first under cooks the fish, then turns it into rubber:
Jean Phillipe to the servers - "Meat. Meat. Meat. Push the meat, Push the meat"

Bobby turns the Beef Wellington into charcoal:
Jean Phillipe to the servers - "Now I'm totally screwed here. Push the chicken, Chicken. Chicken. Chicken."

Poor Jean Phillip, pauvre bébé! Poussez les desserts!

As for this season's Hell's Kitchen contestants, there doesn't seem to be a short order cook among them, let alone a Michelin Level Chef! As opposed to prior seasons, where there were some serious contenders with obvious talent, this season doesn't seem to offer any real cooking abilities.

Personalities aside (I wouldn't want to be trapped on an island with any of them for even a day), the success of Chef Ramsey's new restaurant which the winner will run is in serious jeopardy. I wonder, has Hell's Kitchen put too much emphasis on "good tv" to the detriment of good cooking? This season the only reason I continue to watch is to enjoy the Ramsey rants.

Let's face it, this is television. Ratings are king, personality conflicts and oddball stars/contestants are good for the bottom line of television which is numbers. Viewers = ratings = ad revenue. Hell's Kitchen is the most blatantly over produced of the cooking reality shows in this respect, with Ramsey being the number one Drama King of the Kitchen. But, all drama aside, the man knows his way around the restaurant business and I do learn something about cooking and restaurants when I watch his shows.

And, yes, I actually wouldn't mind being stranded on a deserted island with him! He could turn those coconuts and monkey brains into a first class meal, probably distill a credible wine from wild berries and tree sap and, when he's not screaming at a sou chef, he actually exhibits a great deal of charm!

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