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An Open Letter to "Hell's Kitchen" Overlord Gordon Ramsay

Dear Gordon Ramsay,

After being a fan of your globe-spanning restaurant empire and slew of cookbooks, as well as faithfully watching your enlightening and entertaining television series Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and The F-Word for several years, I have developed the utmost respect for you.

So I am curious why you would attempt to tarnish your image by continuing to appear on FOX's trashy and trite culinary competition series, Hell's Kitchen. Now entering its fourth season, the series has given up any pretense of being a bona fide culinary competition and turned into nothing more than a kitchen-based freak show.

Any aspiring chef worth his or her salt would surely run screaming from the mere thought of applying to be on Hell's Kitchen to apply to the far superior series Top Chef; it's certainly not a launch pad for a serious restaurant career, despite the promise of an executive chef position at your new restaurant at The London LA. No, anyone with tangible or realistic dreams of owning their own eatery or, hell, being a professional chef would opt for Bravo's series in a heartbeat. Certainly, their contestants can typically work on the line and, despite the on-screen chyrons that proclaim your competitors to have culinary experience, they quickly prove once again that they are simply useless in the kitchen.

So instead of visionary chefs who dazzle us with their knife skills, flavor profiles, and imaginative cuisine, we get a parade of bizarre also-rans: chef's toque-wearing Craig, who walks around wearing the damn hat all the time; robotic stay-at-home-dad Dominic whose toupee seemed to have more personality than its wearer; deer-in-headlights grunt Matt; androgynous firecracker Louross (the only one who seemed capable of taking control of the kitchen); blonde Sharon, who should be ashamed of herself for calling herself a chef and yet having those nails; "three star general" Bobby who quickly proved himself useless as a leader; lazy Jason who disappeared at the start of service for a cigarette break. The men in particular seem hopeless, unorganized, and clueless. On the women's team, Rosann's shrill barking seemed to put the Red Kitchen back on line for a bit, though I had to turn on my closed captioning in order to understand what the hell she was saying.

Ultimately, I get that you came over from the UK to do this series which has made you a household name in America for your domineering, irate, vulgarity-prone on-screen persona. But I have to ask you to realize that enough is enough and this series has really run its course and is now just damaging the reputation you so painstakingly constructed via your restaurants and books. Hell's Kitchen has become a bit of a joke and an unfunny one at that. I don't see any of these contestants successfully running any restaurant anywhere and you lending your name and likeness to this exercise in futility and humiliation just compounds the embarrassment. On your other series you prove that you can advise and direct effectively without ranting and raving like a madman; sometimes it takes tough love but I am always amazed and impressed by your patience, understanding, and passion... none of which come through here in this mockery of a culinary competition.

Additionally, with Bravo's Top Chef and BBC America's Last Restaurant Standing (both far superior series) also currently on the air, do we really need to have Hell's Kitchen on right now... and another season planned for this summer? Do we really need to see you have yet another predictable meltdown each week when Jean-Philippe tells you that the patrons are leaving because they haven't been fed? Or see you throw food across the room because these allegedly hand-selected contestants don't seem to have any idea how to cook? Or have you complain about food wastage when you are the one enabling these wannabes to waste all of these ingredients in the first place?

I ask you to please reconsider doing another season of Hell's Kitchen and instead focus on more worthwhile endeavors: saving struggling restaurants from closure, chatting with foodies about culinary matters while showing us what really goes on behind the kitchen doors at a restaurant, and getting regular, everyday people to start cooking again. Isn't that what this really should be all about?


Anonymous said…
I agree completely, but you missed two things. Bobby was a "four star general" and Jason was not only enjoying his cigarette but he was playing with his toe jam. EEWWWW!!
Anonymous said…
Jace, I couldn't agree with you more. I didn't even bother tuning in last night.
I tuned in but then quickly kicked myself for doing so. Like you, I have a lot of respect for Ramsay and really enjoy his UK shows but just don't understand the point of Hell's Kitchen. I get the whole "drama sells" thing and it was funny and kind of shocking at first but now the show is tired and predictable and it just depresses me to see Ramsay going through the motions with yet another pathetic batch of wannabe (but never will be) chefs. His talents could be put to much better use!!!
Anonymous said…
I agree with you too, Ramsay shows in the UK are great and i dont think he need money so i dont really understand why he does show in the US (Kitchen Nightmare in the US is so bad compare to the UK version it hurt)
Anonymous said…
I Love what Chef Gordon Ramsay is doing for Kitchen Nightmare... He is Honest and straigh forward and I love his bluntness and his pushy aggressive ways.

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