Reality TV served blue with salty language
Hell’s Kitchen USA 8.30pm, LifeStyle Food
BY now most of you would have an opinion on Gordon Ramsay. If you like your viewing spiced with salty language and temper tantrums, or extract pleasure from watching the meek quiver and burst into tears, then he would be your pin- up.
But what’s this? In the opening gambit of his new series of Hell’s Kitchen , the camera zooms in, Ramsay is seated at a mood- lit dining table looking oddly angelic while a piano tinkles away.
‘‘ In the past, sometimes I’ve been known to lose my temper,’’ he says, somehow suppressing the rottweiler within. ‘‘ But this time around things are going to be a lot different.
‘‘ The competing chefs will not make idiotic mistakes. And most importantly, I will not scream, I will not swear . . . Oh come on, who am I trying to kid here?’’ And off he goes.
‘‘ He makes me want to pee my pants because he’s so scary,’’ says Bonnie, one of the competitors in this cook- off- meets- Survivor reality show complete with over- egged soundtrack and voice- over.
There’s the usual effing this and effing that from Ramsay and pans crashing about the place, but Hell’s Kitchen opens in earnest with a particularly uncomfortable scene in terms of intimate wear.
The 12 sods who are competing for the chance to run their own restaurant, with a fat salary thrown in, are asked to prepare their signature dish.
‘‘ This is you on a plate,’’ Ramsay tells them as he stands behind the covered dishes.
The contestants visibly blanch. He then tastes each dish and makes a typically colourful critique of their efforts. He flips off a lid and exclaims: ‘‘ Oh, f . . k me, whose is this?’’ It’s too much for pastry chef Jen, she buckles, moans and struggles to keep her feet.
‘‘ The pressure mounted, I just started feeling weak and flushed,’’ she explains in those side interviews that are the hallmark of the genre.
But this is not the only blood sport: the contestants must face their first night of service in Hell’s Kitchen.
Watch Aaron, who has a penchant for western gear and as such was greeted by the remark ‘‘ I’ve never met an Asian cowboy’’, completely dissolve in the pressure cooker atmos- phere. See short- order waffle house cook Julia implode when she is snubbed by her snooty teammates. Gawp at Tiffany melting down trying to fry the quail egg entree.
Two hours later, not one dish has made it to the table, quail egg stocks are running dangerously low and Aaron is a puddle in the coolroom.
Not expecting to be invited to a hunger strike in a restaurant, the diners leave.
And unless Gordon ices your cake, it’s suggested you do the same.
What the devil: Gordon Ramsay dishes up curry to the contestants