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Apr 1, 2008 06:38 PM

HK new season, early?

I feel so out of the loop ! I was just scrolling through the channels tonight and happened upon this. Did i hear right that there will be two back to back HK's this year???

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  1. If there is a second round of HK after this initial first "season" of HK episodes, and they're anything like the first show of the season, I could very well drop watching this show.

    Nothing has changed from past seasons. The contestants are even dumber than in the past. At least there was someone who would be able to impress, but in tonight's episode, I couldn't see anyone who should win.

    And "The Black Gordon Ramsay"????? Holy smokes - this guy couldn't lead a bunch of kids in Ring Around the Rosy much less a crew in a kitchen! He's supposedly an "executive chef" in Niagara Falls. Too bad he wasn't booted, but the stay-at-home dad who hasn't been in a professional kitchen in 10 years wasn't any better.

    I'm afraid this show has finally jumped the shark for me.

    1. Yeah, i gotta admit, this one is pretty pathetic....but i'm still such a huge fan of Gordo. I normally hate reality type shows...this one, and that one the restaurant, have been the only types that capture my attention.

      I actually have more respect for a stay at home Dad than a trained chef who should know better, but still falls SO short of the mark. I also have no idea how Jason (aka mister missing, smoking, toe-picker), managed to stay on the show.

      Too many strong personalities this time on the men's team. Not enough skill to support the ego either. That Louross guy might hold some promise though. Or some of the quieter guys who weren't jumping up to nominate themselves. Will wait and see if any promise comes from the womens' team.

      But i agree, this has been the worst so far, perhaps they are trying to ensure GR REALLY yells his head off. I did however, think that the puking post-tasting was a little over the top.

      15 Replies
      1. re: im_nomad

        What I don't get is this - and I do understand entertainment value an all that - but why does he get such a ridiculous band of misfits with little or no culinary talent. I mean, stay home dad, electician (former cook?), receptionist (former cook), catering director (so not a cook)... I mean the prize is huge - even if it is more for show than an actual working title, I mean head chef at HIS restaurant, $250K worth?? Why wouldn't Gordon insist on at least having some real talent battle it out? Top Chef works why wouldn't Hell's Kitchen work with real talented people.

        Some of those "signature" dishes were a joke. Would anyone profession chef serve scallop and venison tartare with shaved white chocolate??? I mean come on???

        I love Gordon and admire him for his work ethic and what he has done around the world, and I loved the previous seasons of Hell's Kitchen - but this year, I just don't get the motley crew assembled.

        And unless I missed something, I would have sent that army rank quotin black Gordon Ramsay packing. Did he cook anything???? He didn't lead, he didn't step in, he didn't cook.

        1. re: maisonbistro

          Too freaking hilarious. I actually liked the beginning with Ramsey disguised on the bus, and the signature dish section. Telling the guy to take his chef hat off, spitting out the food, calling that one girl - and her dish - simple, plain, blonde, and boring. Ok, the hurling was a bit much, but I have not laughed like that in a while. Certainly never on Top Chef. The first 30 minutes were good I thought.

          I noticed they all looked really SLOW in the kitchen. I really think it had something to do with the format in that Ramsey is there tasting things show we are seeing a broader picture of what’s actually going on, instead of rapid fire editing that makes it seem like everything from chopping an onion to making a corn dog is happening at lightning speed.

          Several people on the Top Chef board have noted that TC would be better with ordinary folks – well here you have it! And we’ve got to expect this from Ramsey on the first episode. He’s always gone for the sensational aspect of entertainment, at least in all the shows I’ve ever seen. Granted none of the signature dishes – and other dishes- looked any good and the contestants appeared really lame.

          I like the idea that HK is not another TC, and there is really something different to watch.

          1. re: SDMike

            I agree. I think people like to watch stories of average people (or less than average in this case) make it. So, we will watch someone start out clumsy and turn into (hopefully) a gourmet chef.
            It's just an entirely different show than Top Chef and I have my doubts that people with great careers would tolerate being yelled at and berated on TV.

            1. re: Azizeh Barjesteh

              I really like both shows. They are similar but not the same. HK - right now - is really not even a cooking show. It's more of a true reality show using stress in a food setting. We didn't even see the cooking of the signature dishes. That's OK, more time to focus on the people involved. I have a far better recall of the HK contestants after one show, than I do of the TC contestants after three.

              It's a different focus which makes it nice. However, I'm not sure any of the TC contestant have a "great career" at the moment. Most seem only a step above the HK people, but with more of a biting sarcastic attitude. They actually think they are good, which makes them look a little more foolish. I got a feeling that it was all false bravado from the HK people. Deep down I think they know they are not very good and feel lucky to be there.

              I will say the trash digging preview scared the heck outta me. That looked bad.

              1. re: SDMike

                Clearly the contestants are chosen from a shopping mall food court. It is hilarious! Ramsey's one liners are brilliant.

                1. re: SDMike

                  I agree with you about HK being more of a reality show using stress in a food setting. Top Chef does have its doses of reality, but does concentrate on the food at times. You can't take HK (and Top Chef) too seriously.

                  1. re: Miss Needle

                    Hell's Kitchen is to Andrew Zimmern as Top Chef is to Anthony Bourdain (except I really like Andrew).

              2. re: SDMike

                While I totally agree that this is "entertainment" the bottom line is, I find it hard to take Ramsay's shenanigans seriously, and his determination to find the best for "HIS" LA restaurant - when they choose this bunch of people. I have nothing against any of them. Really I don't- but if you're looking to offer a 250K Head Chef position to someone you don't start with the electricians and catering managers.

                Either he wants me to get into the whole drama of it and start rooting for a worthy contestant (I totally wanted Bonnie to win over Rock - both deserving contestants) or watch for pure entertainment stake - like Deal or no Deal, where frankly I don't care what a contestant does.

                He can't have it both ways.

                1. re: maisonbistro

                  The dad, electrician and caterer are in there as canon fodder. And if by some strange accident of intestinal fortitude and career paths gone wrong, they turn out to be not only great chefs, but great leaders, then it would be drama, indeed.

                  I'm not sure I understand your point regarding entertainment vs.rooting or caring for a contestant. Deal or No Deal is pure chance, and yet the drama is all about whether the contestant is gutsy enough to go the next step. You may develop some affinity for the contestant, or you may decide that the contestant is a total undeserving schmuck, but it's entertaining whether you root for them to win or lose.

                  I've liked HK because there is more change, more actual learning and character development by many of the contestants as the season progresses, than the other shows. TC is about finding the best of a skilled lot. HK is more like basic training - a bunch of virtually raw recruits (they know how to cook, somewhat, but they don't have a clue as to leadership), learn to function as a team in the kitchen, and learn to become leaders who can create and lead their own teams. The guy that gets the $250k exec spot has presumably become the best leader. I thought that Rock exemplified that experience last year. I wasn't so sure about Heather from the season before. ( In fact, I just found out that she was never made the exec, and she left after the contract year.)

                  As far as GR's behavior, anybody that's been through boot camp knows what that's all about. After the 8th week of 24x7 breaking you down, as things start to turn around, you have a smoke with your DI, and you find out he's a human being. It's part of the show, in terms of entertainment, but it's part of the process, in terms of basic training. DI's go through extensive training and those that are good are real teachers - molders of men. I'd say GR would give most DI's a run for their money.

                  1. re: applehome

                    I'd chalk that up (to some extent) to good editing. Rock was a chef of a relatively well known restaurant in the area prior to the show (I believe there was some mention of it on Chowhound), and his signature dish was featured on his menu back in his old place.

                    1. re: applehome

                      My dirty little pleasure, HK...

                      I was hoping the stay-at-home-dad would not be sent home, despite his cluelessness (Ummm...what do I do with all these raw scallops in my palm?). Still, I think that a lot of non-professional cooks can bang out food a lot faster than the HK contestants with credentials. Let's see: 45 mintues and no appetizer is out? People leave after an hour and a half because there's no food? Crimony, I'm no professional and sometime my family just gets pasta, but how long does it take to make the meal?And with a giant pro kitchen? I know....I'm making a Bolognese tonight and the mirepoix is sauteeing, and then there will be much simmering...but I'm doing it AHEAD .Home cooks get this. Professional cooks get this. HK needs to back off a little on the baritone voiceover "45 minutes into service and no one has food" as a drama builder, and deal with the actual food. Sometimes, things get made AHEAD.

                      I also miss the earlier seasons when they actually focused on skill development. (How to gut a squid, how to break down meat, what the risotto should be like.)

                      Ooh! just thought of this! Next week I may challenge myself to put out a whole meal in the hour that HK is on. Apps, Entree, possibly dessert. I think I can do it easily (and I'm not talking boxed mac-n-cheese), so I hope we see a little more culinary hop-to-it-iveness fro the contestants to keep my dirty little pleasure show alive.

                      I know plenty of restaurant pros, and they would roooollll their eyes at the ineptitude with HK contestants. These same people would applaud the dad or electrician or caterer that made good, that did the job and made food their customers liked to eat. Let's see if anythig like that will happen in this season's HK. Hoping for it (already have my secret favorite).

                      Sorry about the's just to much fun to scrutinize this stuff!


                      1. re: applehome

                        It's a good analogy with the DI and GR, although I never had a smoke with my DI. You'd be surprised at home inept and clumsy you actually look trying to make a simple bed in three minutes with being screamed at. At some point in the boot camp process - after being broken down and build back up - you have so much mental and physical clarity it just comes naturally. Your focus is just more keen.

                        We'll see how it goes. I was not fortunate enough to see all the prior seasons, except for a smattering of episodes, so I hope something good comes out of this. I went back and looked at the TC blogs for the first three episodes of this season and as far as I can tell, at the moment, those contestants only have presentation above the HK guys and gals. Of course, I can only go on what the judges have said and there has been a lot of bombs on some easy dishes, but they all looked somewhat pretty. Big deal. It's all in the taste isn't it?

                        Both shows are fun. I have no desire to sing, survive, lose weight (although I like that show), but I love food and like to cook. These shows, to me, just show the increased love of food, and I like that.

                  2. re: maisonbistro

                    For the record Heston Blumenthal who is the chef at the Michelin 3 star restaurant The Fat Duck currently has on his menu Roast Scallop
                    (Scallop tartare, white chocolate and caviar). I have eaten at The Fat Duck and have had his white chocolate and caviar dish (a small disk of white chocolate is topped with caviar) - it was delicious.

                    1. re: lizziee

                      How can you have roast scallop tartare? I understand that Blumenthal's interpretation of something may be very different - but that's just plain oxymoronic. Baked and raw... hmmm... I guess he really is a genius scientist.

                    2. re: maisonbistro

                      I was thinking the same thing. I've eaten in his restaurants and would gladly go back, with no complaints. But I don't know I I would want to eat at a restaurant where I had seen the head chef portrayed as a complete idiot for several months on national TV.

                      The whole make up thing was just stupid. He would have drawn so much attention looking strange so that someone must have seen trough the bad make up job.

                      And I do think they sent the wrong guy home.

                  3. I plan to dine at Ramsay's restaurant at the new London (L.A.) as soon as I can. But I don't want any of these losers cooking my meal!! Doesn't look like there's any strong contender in this sorry bunch. lol