Hell in the kitchen

The spud­niks cook up their own char­ac­ter teams for a chal­lenge in the kitchen with Gor­don ram­say.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV - By S. INDRAMALAR and ANN MARIE CHANDY en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

AMER­I­CAN re­al­ity cook­ing com­pe­ti­tion Hell’s Kitchen (star­ring Bri­tish celebrity chef Gor­don Ram­say), based on the Bri­tish se­ries of the same name, is truly like no other cook­ing show we’ve watched on TV. Rather than be­ing a gas­tro­nomic ad­ven­ture, this se­ries is more a hor­rific peek at what could go on in the kitchens of the restau­rants you visit – where the chefs don’t re­ally know what they are do­ing and the head chef screams, yells and dis­re­spect­fully throws food in the bin that he deems isn’t suit­ably pre­pared.

Frankly, you ei­ther love it (the show is in its 10th sea­son so ob­vi­ously many view­ers like it) or you hate it (cel­e­brated Bri­tish baker Mary Berry has said that she “hates” Gor­don Ram­say’s shows for be­ing vi­o­lent and cruel).

We think we could chal­lenge Ram­say by se­lect­ing a team of TV char­ac­ters who could test his met­tle and show him who’s the boss.

In­dra says:

Most cook­ing shows on TV make me feel happy. Hell’s Kitchen makes me an­gry. First of all, I think Ram­say is a big bully. I’m not averse to ex­ert­ing dis­ci­pline in the kitchen – af­ter all, hy­giene in food prepa­ra­tion is no laugh­ing mat­ter and pre­par­ing high qual­ity food for pay­ing cus­tomers is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary. But, so is treat­ing peo­ple with re­spect.

Ram­say is just vul­gar, spew­ing more ob­scen­i­ties in one minute that I’m ac­cus­tomed to hear­ing in a week (and that’s say­ing a lot, given the in­dus­try I’m in!). Ram­say treats his teams of chefs like in­com­pe­tent im­be­ciles – granted, most of them seem to be im­be­ciles (we se­ri­ously won­der how can they be chefs when some of them can’t even de­vein a shrimp or dress a salad) but So, which team do you think will win? Write to us at en­ter­tain­ment @thes­tar.com.my and tell us which TV char­ac­ters you’d like to see in Sofa Spud­niks’ edi­tion of … hey, he picked them so he kinda asked for the in­com­pe­tence he gets.

My con­clu­sion is that the show isn’t re­ally about the cook­ing – it’s about drama. And it’s all man­u­fac­tured. The chefs are char­ac­ters who play into the drama and Ram­say (de­spite his 16 Miche­lin stars) comes across as a to­tal whack job. Well, I have a team who can not only cook, but have fab­u­lous knife skills and can stand up to Ram­say’s bul­ly­ing with­out bat­ting an eye­lid. In fact, I hope that one day, this show down will hap­pen. Here is my team:

Dr Han­ni­bal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) from TV se­ries Han­ni­bal.

Have you seen the man cook? Sure, he’s cook­ing some­body’s in­nards (which is gross, gross, gross) but the skill in which he preps and

Ex­ec­u­tive Chef:

cooks his meal and presents them to his guests is ad­mirable. And he’s di­a­bol­i­cal. There is no doubt in my mind he can whip Ram­say into sub­mis­sion. Oh yes! Score.

Norma Bates (Vera Farmiga) from the Bates Mo­tel.

As a sin­gle (mur­der­ous) mother, Norma has learnt to sur­vive in a some­times bru­tal world. Hell’s Kitchen will not be a prob­lem at all. And though she’s of­ten left wait­ing im­pa­tiently at the din­ner ta­ble for son Nor­man (Fred­die High­more) or his older step-brother Dy­lan (Max Thieriot) to come home, I’m sure she’s a bet­ter cook than the con­tes­tants on this show.

Raj Koothrap­pali (Ku­nal Na­yar) from The Big Bang The­ory.

He may suf­fer from “se­lec­tive mutism” when faced with the fairer sex but give him a whisk, wooden spoon and an apron and this In­dian as­tro­physi­cist sim­ply comes alive. And, given that he’s had to deal with Shel­don for years, his tol­er­ance level must be ex­tremely high - putting up with Ram­say’s ego­cen­tric be­hav­iour will just be a walk in the park.

Sous Chef:

Pas­try Chef:

Ann Marie says:

I love cook­ing shows – they make ev­ery­thing seem so easy, and I can re­ally say that even my cook­ing has im­proved by leaps and bounds now that there is so much culi­nary in­for­ma­tion and ed­u­ca­tion read­ily avail­able on TV. But like In­dra, I do feel Hell’s Kitchen is a bit of a set-up. I mean all that drama can only mean one thing – it was made for TV.

And hence this week we’d like to ham it up all the more by throw­ing in TV char­ac­ters into the mix. Which team do you think will win? Well, for all you know In­dra’s Ex­ec­u­tive Chef will prob­a­bly have us all for din­ner.

I had thought of in­clud­ing in my team the likes of Claire Huxtable from The Cosby Show and Mrs Cun­ning­ham from Happy Days – re­mem­ber she would spike the orange juice with val­ium? – but I keep get­ting yelled at for writ­ing about shows from the last cen­tury. So I’m keep­ing it as cur­rent as I can (and still not get­ting things right! Agggh!)

Ex­ec­u­tive Chef:

Marie Barone (Doris Roberts) from Every­body Loves Ray­mond.

Now ev­ery­one knows Marie can not only whip up a world class meal for an en­tire fam­ily or two, she can also do so while shat­ter­ing the com­pe­ti­tion with her bit­ing sar­casm. She’s great at boss­ing ev­ery­one around, and I bet she’ll even be able to put dear ol’ Ram­say in his proper place. And I kid you not, do you know that Marie’s recipes are online?

Go to ev­ery­bodyloves­ray.com/ games_and_­good­ies/recipes.php; Doris Roberts, IRL, even has a mem­oir called Are You Hun­gry, Dear?: Life, Laughs, and Lasagna. In Sea­son 2, Episode 15, Marie’s Meat­balls, Marie of­fers to teach her daugh­ter-in-law De­bra how to make her fa­mous meat­balls but sab­o­tages the recipe to make De­bra look bad. Now that’s the kind of com­pet­i­tive spirit we need. It is Hell’s Kitchen af­ter all.

Monica Geller’s (Court­ney Cox) my girl.

She can chop, cut, juli­enne, grind, wash, knead, bake, saute and dance with a tur­key on her head all at the same time. You need a sous chef with big dreams, who is will­ing to do what­ever it takes to get to the top and Monica’s ob­ses­sive-com­pul­sive per­son­al­ity and com­pet­i­tive na­ture is sec­ond to none of her Friends.

Hav­ing worked at sev­eral restau­rants as well as hav­ing her own cater­ing com­pany, she knows how to han­dle the heat in the kitchen.

And here’s a bit of trivia: Did you know that there’s a google play app fea­tur­ing Monica’s recipes. Go to play.google.com/store/apps/ de­tails?id=com.recipe.mon­i­cas­_recipes and learn to make cup­cakes, tur­key, sal­ads and spaghet­tis, all à la Monica.

As for Ram­say’s F bombs, no prob for this New Yorker. She’s got a net­work of great friends, some of the best tele­vi­sion has ever known, to take care of her if Ram­say ever takes it upon him­self to crush her ego.

Sous Chef:

Pas­try Chef:

Bree Van de Kamp (Mar­cia Cross) may be a Des­per­ate Housewive, but she al­ways knew how get things run just right in the kitchen.

In fact, ev­ery­thing was pic­ture per­fect. Don’t for­get that apart from be­ing a reg­u­lar Martha Stewart, Bree has also had firearm train­ing (she owns four guns) and so the other team bet­ter keep their dis­tance.

She’s con­stantly sur­rounded by mur­der any may­hem on Wis­te­ria Lane, and yet man­ages to look like a god­dess, com­plete with exquisitely ap­plied lip­stick and well coiffed hair.

Which means she’s go­ing to look ab­so­lutely fab­u­lous in the kitchen, and keep Ram­say more than a lit­tle dis­tracted.

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