Watch Hell's Kitchen

What do you get when you mix 18 chefs of suspect talent with plenty of fear, toss in a handful of impossible tasks, and liberally spice with one of the fieriest chefs on television? You get Hell's Kitchen, Chef Gordon Ramsay's perfect recipe for disaster. Hell's Kitchen, at its best, is great reality television. It's like a circus from hell with Ramsay as ringmaster. When he cracks the whip, the competitors jump, and If they don't they may end up in tears, scrubbing the floor, or even kicked out the door for good. At its worst it's a mosh pit of contrived drama where dreams are crushed. You wonder who was set up for failure, how much it was scripted, and even who might have been asked to take a dive.

Anyone who has heard of Gordon Ramsay knows he is as good a bully as he is restauranteur. Even in his other shows he comes across as hot tempered when there is no reason to be. In Hell's Kitchen he turns up the attitude, looking for weakness in the chefs and dressing them down at the top of his lungs. You kind of feel sorry for them and wonder if he treats chefs in his own restaurants this way.

But this is what makes Hell's Kitchen so addictive. Not knowing who is going to get it next, what parts are fake, and how long it will be until someone takes Ramsay out back and beats him senseless with a brick or Parmesan Reggiano stuffed into a sock.

Some of the chefs obviously shouldn't be there, but that's part of the fun. You never know when the line cook from a waffle house is going to flame out or how the nanny with no restaurant experience made it this far. There is also always one arrogant jerk who always gets further than he should. Man it's great when they go down!

After 10 seasons you would think that the audience or contestants would have grown weary of Ramsay and his act. Luckily Hell's Kitchen is still going strong and becoming more a part of reality show culture each year. The truth is, as long as the rewards are big enough there will always be people willing to embarrass themselves in front of an audience, and as long as that is true, there will always be an audience for Hell's Kitchen.

Wednesday 9:00 PM et/pt on FOX
16 Seasons, 234 Episodes - Currently Airing
May 30, 2005
Food, Reality
4.1/5
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Hell's Kitchen Full Episode Guide

  • The contestants race in the first annual Crepe Grand Prix challenge for a chance to win a luxurious dining experience on a yacht in Santa Barbara. Later, one team struggles right out of the gate during a dinner service featuring VIP guests Maureen DeWulf and Dash Mihok.

  • In the 16th season premiere, chef Gordon Ramsey welcomes the newest batch of contestants on the grounds of the U.S. Army training facility. Then, they all get to work as they face the Signature Dish challenge and their first dinner service, during which they cook for VIP guests Nolan Gould and Erica Ash.

  • The final two chefs create hot and cold appetizers and main entrees. Then after the final dinner service, the winner is announced.

  • The chefs race against the clock to create a steak dish and two sides in a timed challenge. During dinner service, the chefs take turns leading the kitchen with two chefs advancing.

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