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Showing posts with the label Hell's Kitchen

The Insatiable Viewer: Not All Food Shows Are Created Equal

Now is a very good time to be a television-loving foodie, with several networks other than stalwarts Food Network or PBS devoting air time to culinary-themed programming. In fact, it's safe to say that cuisine as a whole has entered the general zeitgeist in a way that it couldn't really have done before the public's embrace of reality programming. But there's a rather large caveat: not all food programming is equal. While television offers a bountiful cornucopia of culinary series, there's still a large difference in the quality of these programs, not to mention a staggering range of subjects being covered. There are docusoaps that focus on cake-makers, competition series pitting chefs against each other, old fashioned cook-offs, food-focused travel series, and product spotlights. While I'd never be able to offer up a comprehensive discussion of all of these series (they are too numerous to even contemplate as a whole), I thought I'd take a look at a few mem

Channel Surfing: Starbuck is "Lost and Found," Paul McGann NOT headed to "Doctor Who," Hugh Laurie, and More

Good morning and welcome to your Friday morning television briefing. In her first television role since the end of Battlestar Galactica (hitting small screens in 2009), Katee Sackhoff has signed on to star in drama pilot Lost and Found for Dick Wolf at NBC. Project, from writer/executive producer Chris Levinson, revolves around NYPD detective Tessa Cooper (Sackhoff) who is forced to solve John and Jane Doe cases after she finds herself rubbing her bosses the wrong way. Sackhoff's attachment lifts the cast contingency on the project, which was ordered to pilot last month. ( Hollywood Reporter ) FOX has signed a new deal with Gordon Ramsay that will keep the chef at the network for several more years and includes an agreement to produce two more editions of Hell's Kitchen , another season of Kitchen Nightmares , and a third series (likely based on Ramsay's Channel 4 series Man Camp , about a boot camp for men worried by how feminine they're becoming) and a special in whi

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

If You Can't Stand the Heat: The "Hell's Kitchen" Season Finale

Yawn. I have to admit I didn't really care which one of them won in the end. Isn't that a rather scary thing to say about a reality series? But it's true. This season especially, Hell's Kitchen has proven itself the television equivalent of boxed macaroni and cheese, bludgeoning its viewers with endless repetitions of things we've just seen not three minutes before and striving to create false drama where there is precious little. Sure, I've stayed with the series this season but it wasn't easy and, as has already been discussed endlessly, Hell's Kitchen pales in comparison to the far superior (not to mention just better produced) Top Chef on Bravo. But enough about that. Last night's season finale presented Rock and Bonnie with the opportunity to impress Gordon Ramsay with their mastery of cooking (though they did precious little of it) and with their leadership abilities at the hot plate, expediting orders and overseeing the kitchens of their ne

Don't Feed Melissa After Midmight: The Gremlin Goes Home on "Hell's Kitchen"

Okay, question time: what the hell happened to Hell's Kitchen 's Melissa? The 29-year-old line cook from New York seemed like one of the few contenders when this season of Hell's Kitchen began, but over the course of the last few episodes she has literally devolved before our eyes into an extra from the set of ABC's new comedy Cavemen and forgotten every single cooking skill she ever had. Sure, the pressure is high in the kitchen and Gordon Ramsay certainly doesn't make it any easier for his contestants; after all, this isn't real life but a FOX reality series. But at the same time, I really do not understand what happened to Melissa, whom Ramsay not so lovingly referred to as a "gremlin" in this week's episode. After her dismal performance last week in which she turned into a messy cavewoman (complete with some sort of odd facial scar?), her wild hair in her face during cooking (and, I'm sure, dropping into the food as well), I thought for s

"Hell's Bitches": Ramsay Doesn't Like the Cut of the "Hell's Kitchen" Competitors

I'll admit that while I watch Hell's Kitchen , I'm always slightly baffled by the fact that the culinary competition series, which launched last night on FOX, rewards its participants with their very own restaurant (or at least running the kitchen in someone else's restaurant) when the series essentially tests them each week by... forcing them to work on the line? It's particularly jarring given that Bravo's own Top Chef , which is going into its third season as well, launches next week. Though it lacks the explosive personality of Gordon Ramsay, Top Chef seems more inclined to cast people with, you know, actual talent. Here on Hell's Kitchen , the producers seem much more inclined to cast "personalities" rather than competitive chefs. How else to explain the dog's dinner that the aspiring HK winners presented to Ramsay in the guise of their "signature dishes" or the fact that more than half of them seem incapable of cooking an egg

"If I Was Any Happier, I'd Need a Personal Assistant": The Searing Finale of "Hell's Kitchen"

In life, there are many apt metaphors that relate both to food and losing. That's how the cookie crumbles... No use crying over spilt milk... If you can't stand the heat, get out of the -- Okay, viewers of FOX's Hell's Kitchen get that last one better than anyone, especially after last night's performance from Virginia and Co. It was obvious from the start that Heather, even after a few gaffes, would make it to the final rounds but I am still stunned that her competitor for an executive chef gig at the "billion dollar" Red Rocks Casino in Las Vegas was the flirtatious Virginia. It came down to a battle of wills between sous chef Heather, my personal fave during the entire competition, and salad chef Virginia, whose gift-from-the-gods palate didn't quite match up to her weak kitchen skills or lack of leadership. You couldn't have chosen two more disparate individuals, as evidenced from the menus, decor, and attitude of their individual Hell's K

No K-Grease Fire in This "Kitchen"

Ah, how the once mighty have fallen. Keith, he of the too-low pants and, um, casually inventive vocabulary, went toe to toe with the Sultan of Spite and was brutally knocked down. You don't try to take on Gordon Ramsay, especially not on his home turf. Maybe in the line for Pink's (where of course there is no Gordon Ramsay hot dog). But in the fiery pits of Hell's Kitchen? Not a chance. Just a few weeks back (hell, just as recently as the beginning of last night's episode), Keith seemed like a shoo-in to make it to the final round and have a chance of becoming the executive chef at a restaurant at the "billion dollar" Red Rocks Resort in Las Vegas. I always find it amusing, first of all, that the show makes a distinction that the winner of this culinary competition will win the title of executive chef (rather than head chef) because Gordon Ramsay has always been rather upfront about the fact that he finds most executive chefs about as useful to a restaurant as

Dining with Disaster: An Insider's Perspective on the Chaos in "Hell's Kitchen"

Dining in Hell's Kitchen often seems to be an exercise in futility and a Herculean test of patience. So when I learned that two Televisionary operatives would be dining there, I did the only humane thing and told them to be sure to eat ahead of time. Did my associates ever get their food? Were they lambasted by tantrum-prone chef Gordon Ramsay? When I realized that the Hell's Kitchen episode they participated in was scheduled to air tonight on FOX, I got the scoop from "Ruth" and "Gael" (names have been changed to protect the hungry) on just how hot it got in Hell's Kitchen . Ruth and Gael happened to arrive at eatery Hell's Kitchen on Valentine's Day, traditionally one of the busiest (and most lucrative) restaurant nights of the year. Would it be romance and champagne in the Kitchen? Or heartbreak and empty stomachs? From the start, it was obvious that things were a mess. That night, the two teams had devised separate menus and it was up to di

Babysitting the Kids in "Hell's Kitchen"

If you missed the first half of last night's episode of Hell's Kitchen , I think the below video aptly sums up the chaos and confusion. "Restaurant" Hell's Kitchen held its first lunch service and opened its doors to an army of screaming, sugar-jonesing demon children who promptly trashed the place. That pretty much covers it. Well, except for the fact that Rachel confused egg wash with egg whites and begged for ice, Virginia flirted with Gordon Ramsay like a teenage coquette, and Sara acted a thousand times more immature and irritating than any one of the above children as she continued to sabotage her own team... Meanwhile, Heather had her hands full with the "kids" on her new team. The guys didn't seem to do much better than the women, though Heather's presence seemed to rein them in a little at first, but soon the team returned to its typical devices: Tom started a kitchen fire, Garrett sent out food without tasting it for seasoning, and ever

Reality Check: Chef Ramsay Turns Up the Heat in This "Kitchen"

I've been suffering from some serious Top Chef withdrawal since the Bravo reality series ended a few weeks ago and like a much needed fix, along came FOX's Hell's Kitchen --just in time to fill my quota of culinary guilty pleasure television. While the two shows aren't exactly the same beast (no robotic host in sight here), they both pick aspiring chefs of varying experience and skill to fight it out for the chance to be the Chosen One, the one girl in all the world with the strength to fight the vampires--oops, wrong show. I'm happy to see that in addition to host/chef Gordon Ramsay, the whole gang is back: sous chefs Scott and Mary Ann and French maitre d' Jean Philippe. Let the games begin... I'll say it right now: I like Gordon Ramsay, the former pro-footie (that's soccer to the Yanks in the audience) player turned celebrity chef who just so happens to own a whole fleet of five-star restaurants in London. He's abrasive, vulgar, and domineering,

The Heat is On: What I'm Watching This Summer

Growing up, the summer television season used to consist of endless reruns and maybe the burn-off for a few middling series left over after the end of the schedule. But in the last few years, networks have used the airtime as a fertile ground to launch new series (remember The OC 's original summertime run?) and many a reality juggernaut has started its run in the warmer months, including Survivor , American Idol , and The Amazing Race . While it's anyone's guess as to whether this season's offerings will reach those heights, this summer will bring couch potatoes quite a lot to snack on. While this week's Entertainment Weekly lists "67 Shows You Can't Miss," I do have a life and can't spend ALL my time in front of the telly. (Well, nearly all my time, anyway.) So, crank up the A/C, grab a mojito, sit back, and relax... Here are the fifteen series that I'll be watching this summer. monday 9 pm: Hell's Kitchen (FOX). Sadistic chef Gordon Ra