Re­al­ity TV served blue with salty lan­guage

Hell’s Kitchen USA 8.30pm, LifeStyle Food

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

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.

Scott Coomber

What the devil: Gor­don Ram­say dishes up curry to the con­tes­tants

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