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I watch Top Chef every week. I cheer for my picks and boo for the ones I dislike. One thing is clear, though: these folks can actually cook.

I also watch Kitchen Nightmares from time to time, as well as the British version, Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares.

And I have watched a couple of episodes of Hell's Kitchen.

Can I express my disappointment strongly enough? When Ramsey takes on restaurant owners and chefs in Kitchen Nightmares he has a clear purpose and it is always clear that he really wants to help. I forgive his lapses into profanity because it's his nature to speak that way. But in Hell's Kitchen the profanity, the bursts of temper, are the show. That, along with the idiots in the kitchen, who seem to be chosen at random.

Let's just review a couple of aspects of this show. First, it pits the boys against the girls, which is silly to begin with. It makes it a team competition rather than an individual chef competition, and the nature of the competitors puts it with Jerry Springer rather than with Padma.

Then, the members of the losing team get to choose two candidates for elimination. What the hell is that? Ramsey then chooses one of the two to go. It does not matter if a member of the winning team actually performs at a lower level than anyone on the losing team - which seems to happen a lot.

The last episode I watched featured the girls' team having to cut up half a cow. And having to dine on the more unusual parts. The contestants were constantly getting up to vomit. And these are supposed to be chefs, supposed to know their foods. They don't even demonstrate rudimentary knowledge of this animal that they gladly cut up and eat every day. Not only do they not deserve to be on any chef show but they shouldn't be eating meat.

The contestants are constantly dissing each other, on the same team even. It really smells of Jerry here, because the dissing rarely has anything to do with actual cooking. It's more a personality contest. And it reeks low-class.

Gordon Ramsey may get paid a lot for this show but he should be deeply ashamed of himself. I want to like him and I have, in the past, but this show is eroding my feelings. In the past I have had to get past his obvious prejudice against vegetarianism, which is bad enough but which he shares with a world of top chefs. Those other chefs, though, aren't stooping so low as Hell's Kitchen.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 23rd, 2009 12:39 pm (UTC)
What I hate most about Hell's Kitchen is how much repetition there is. All reality shows are prone to it, where they recap what you just saw when returning from commerical break. But Hell's Kitchen is ALL recap all the time. I feel like some kind of head trauma victim who's lost their short term memory.

And they rarely have any "whatever happened to?" shows. I want to know if these people managed to prosper from their brush with celebrity or not.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
One of the cool things on Top Chef is the way former contestants are often brought back to take part in challenges. I think it's cool in large part because they are often eliminated on the flimsiest of evidence and this gives them another chance to shine.

It would indeed be interesting to find out if anyone on HK reaches any kind of real chef status. I realize a few of them can actually cook but it seems very very few.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
oh crap
They keep making me log in again. What is with that??
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


Judith Lautner
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