Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series)
|Created by||Gordon Ramsay|
|Narrated by||Jason Thompson|
|Opening theme||"Fire" by the Ohio Players|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||14|
|No. of episodes||215 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Original release||May 30, 2005– present|
|Related shows||Hell's Kitchen (UK TV series)|
Hell's Kitchen is an American reality television cooking competition (based on the British series of the same name) broadcast on Fox. It is hosted by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Fox had announced that Hell's Kitchen was renewed for a 13th season which premiered on Wednesday, September 10, 2014. The show has officially been renewed for a 14th season that began on March 3, 2015. At the end of the 13th season, it was announced that it was renewed for three more seasons through season 16. For the first time since season 10, Hell's Kitchen will have a 9 ET/8 CT timeslot starting Tuesday, May 26, due to the revival of the series Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader taking its spot at 8/7c.
The U.S. version of Hell's Kitchen follows the format of the UK version though the show is recorded and not performed live, nor is there audience participation in the elimination of chefs. Each season brings twelve to twenty aspiring chefs to Hell's Kitchen, a modified warehouse in Los Angeles that includes the restaurant, dual kitchen facilities and a dormitory where the chefs reside while on the show. Gordon Ramsay breaks the chefs into two teams most often based on gender, with women on the red team and men on the blue and are given a chef's jacket with labels of that color. The chefs compete in these teams, barring any reassignments by Ramsay, until only five or six chefs are left, which they are brought into a single common team wearing black-labelled jackets, though they now compete individually to be one of the final two.
Each episode typically includes one challenge and one dinner service, following which a chef is eliminated from the game. In challenges, the teams or individual chefs are tasked with a cooking challenge by Ramsay. The type of challenges are varied, ranging from ingredient preparation, meal preparation, taste tests and other challenges. The first challenge of each season is a signature dish cook-off, giving the chefs the opportunity to show Ramsay their cooking. Each season typically includes one or more challenges that allows teams to construct several dishes either for a banquet to be held the next dinner service or as part of designing their own menus. Other challenges typically include a "taste it, make it" task where chefs must try to recreate a dish Ramsay has prepared by taste only and a taste-test challenge where chefs identify ingredients without sight or sound. The winner of the challenge is either determined by a scoring system set for that challenge, or based on Ramsay's and/or guest judges' opinions. The winning team or chef is typically rewarded with a recreational activity away from Hell's Kitchen and other potential prizes, while the losing team or chefs are forced to do a menial task, such as cleaning the kitchens, preparing a specific ingredient for the dinner's meal or having to prepare the food for both kitchens.
For dinner services, the chefs are expected to work their station (such as meat, fish, or garnish) on the kitchen line to prepare food in coordination with their teammates and to Ramsay's high standards for quality and presentation during a dinner service for about 100 guests (volunteers for the show), with each diner expecting to receive an appetizer, an entree, and a dessert. The chefs are given menus and recipe books by Ramsay to study and memorize, which include some of Ramsay's more difficult plates including risotto and Beef Wellington and are given a few hours before each service to prep their ingredients. They are also given silverware sets that they get to keep, regardless of their progress. Ramsay demands that all orders for one course for a table go out together, and will send back entire orders if one item is improperly prepared, such as being over- or undercooked or not seasoned correctly. While the chefs are in two teams, Ramsay is assisted by two of his trusted sous-chefs, each monitoring one of the kitchens who will also demand the same standards. One such service will involve both teams creating their own menus, but still preparing the food to Ramsay's standards. The sous-chefs shift to helping to fill available positions once the chefs are on a single black team. One such service in this time period allows each chef to run the pass as part of a quality-control test (i.e. spotting mistakes that are sent up by either Ramsay or one of his sous-chefs). Ramsay desires to complete every dinner service, but poor kitchen performance by one or both teams will cause him to close one or both sides of the kitchen early and send the team(s) back to the dorms. Once the dinner service is complete, Ramsay determines which team (if not both) is the losing team and informs them to come up with chefs to be nominated for elimination (Although there have been joint-winning teams in the past (twice in seasons 4 and 7, once in seasons 8, 11 and 13)). This may be a task assigned to the "best of the worst" on the team or may be a group consensus.
Ramsay regroups the teams and hears out the nominations from the losing team(s) in the dining hall. After giving these nominees the chance to defend themselves, Ramsay selects one to hand over their jacket and "leave Hell's Kitchen," later symbolically placing that jacket on an empty sharp hook below a picture of that chef, in a row in his office; the hook pokes a hole in the jacket and ignites that chef's picture signalling their departure. Ramsay is free to ignore these elimination rules if he sees fit. He has frequently eliminated chefs during the middle of the service if their performance is abysmal or may override the provided nominations with his own selection (as was the case in season 12). If an eliminated chef has performed exceptionally well, he may allow that chef to keep their jacket as a token of their success up to that point, if he sees fit. At the end of each episode, as he is seen heading back to his office to hang up the eliminated chef's jacket, there is a voice-over of him explaining his reasons for eliminating that chef. There have been times where chefs were taken out of the competition for medical reasons or they may leave on their own free will, as was the case with Simone in season 12 and Aaron in season 13; though the latter is not encouraged, their wishes are ultimately honored.
Once two chefs remain, they are each given the opportunity to develop their own menu and lead a brigade of former competitors through a full dinner service on their own. In the first five seasons, this included the opportunity to decorate half of the Hell's Kitchen restaurant to their liking. Ramsay will assure that all menu items meet his standards for high cuisine, and will oversee the service to make sure the high quality standards he expects are retained but otherwise does not get involved, allowing the two remaining chefs to demonstrate their ability to run the line to him. Ramsay will use his observations, those from the diners, and other sources to make a decision on who is the winning chef. This process is announced by having the two chefs stand at two different doors from his office, and telling them to turn the door handle and open it; only the door of the winning chef is unlocked. The winning chef receives two prizes including the opportunity to work as the head chef or executive chef at a restaurant of Ramsay's choosing, as well as a cash prize of $250,000.
Gordon Ramsay is the head chef. Jason Thompson is the narrator. Jean-Philippe Susilovic, a Belgian maître d'hôtel, comes from Petrus, one of Ramsay's London restaurants and appeared in the first seven seasons and later returned for season 11. He left after season 12 and was replaced by Marino Monferrato for season 13. Susilovic was also the maître d' for the first series of the original British version. James Lukanik replaced Susilovic for seasons 8–10. Each team also has the services of one of two sous-chefs. The sous-chefs are Andrea "Andi" Van Willigan (since season 7) and James Avery (since season 11). Previous sous-chefs were Mary Ann Salcedo, Gloria Felix, season 2 winner Heather West and Scott Leibfried.
For the show's first two seasons, the Hell's Kitchen restaurant set itself was housed in the former studios of Los Angeles television station KCOP at 915 North La Brea Avenue, in Hollywood, which at one time hosted production of game shows Tic Tac Dough and The Joker's Wild. KCOP was acquired by News Corporation in 2001 and its studios were integrated with those of Fox affiliate KTTV in 2003, leaving the La Brea facility vacant. Originally the studio was put up for sale, but in the end they were retooled for the production of Hell's Kitchen. The dining room area was the location of the former KCOP news studios, and living quarters for the contestants were built behind the restaurant. Before season three, the Hell's Kitchen facility was moved to Century Studios at 3322 La Cienega Place in Los Angeles. Since the fourth season, Hell's Kitchen's venue has been located at 8660 Hayden Place in Culver City. According to Arthur Perkins, the soundstage is only open for audience members when taping is taking place. The studio sits on the former location of the famous RKO Forty Acres backlot, which was used in movies such as Gone With The Wind and television series such as The Andy Griffith Show and The Adventures of Superman. The studio building sits on the location of the military camp seen in the television series Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C..
Accusations of staging
The series has drawn numerous online and editorial accusations of staging and dramatic license, mostly due to editing techniques of the producers which splice together several hours of footage from a dinner service, in order to make certain contestants appear as poor performers, later justifying their elimination. This was most obvious when one episode featured clips showing an already eliminated contestant in the background, still cooking.
One of the most controversial accusations of staging on Hell's Kitchen relates to an incident with contestant Joseph Tinnelly, who, during one elimination round, angrily confronted Ramsay, challenging him to fight, and was then escorted off the set. The incident drew immediate fire from critics as an overplayed and possibly faked scene, conducted to cause action and tension on the show in order to spark viewer interest.
In a 2013 interview, Ramsay admitted that the vast majority of his anger towards contestants was acting and that when off camera he treated all contestants with friendliness and respect. Ramsay further stated he would often meet with eliminated contestants after their departure from the show, offering positive criticism and advice. Staff and production members further affirmed that in real life Ramsay was a sociable and friendly person, and most of the on-camera drama is played out for the benefit of the audience.
|Season||Original run||Winner||Runner-up||Reason for winning||Contestants||Winner's prize|
|01||May 30 – August 1, 2005||Michael Wray||Ralph Pagano||High standards||12||Tatou in Los Angeles[a]|
|02||June 12 – August 14, 2006||Heather West||Virginia Dalbeck||Determination||12||Terra Rossa at Red Rock Resort Spa and Casino in Las Vegas|
|03||June 4 – August 13, 2007||Rahman "Rock" Harper||Bonnie Muirhead||Leadership||12||Terra Verde at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson|
|04||April 1 – July 8, 2008||Christina Machamer||Louis Petrozza||Potential||15||London West Hollywood in Los Angeles|
|05||January 29 – May 14, 2009||Daniel "Danny" Veltri||Paula da Silva||Maturity||16||Fornelletto at the Borgata in Atlantic City|
|06||July 21 – October 13, 2009||David "Dave" Levey||Kevin Cottle||Ability||17||Araxi Restaurant and Bar in Whistler|
|07||June 1 – August 10, 2010||Holli Ugalde||Jason "Jay" Santos||Confidence||16||Savoy Grill at Savoy Hotel in London[b]|
|08||September 22 – December 15, 2010||Nona Sivley||Russell Kook II||Palate||16||LA Market at JW Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles|
|09||July 18 – September 19, 2011||Paul Niedermann||William "Will" Lustberg||Enthusiasm||18||BLT Steak in New York City|
|10||June 4 – September 10, 2012||Christina Wilson||Justin Antiorio||Passion||18||Gordon Ramsay Steak in the Paris Las Vegas|
|11||March 12 – July 25, 2013||Ja'Nel Witt||Mary Poehnelt||Composure||20||Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace[c]|
|12||March 13 – July 24, 2014||Scott Commings||Jason Zepaltas||Artistry||20|
|13||September 10 – December 17, 2014||La Tasha McCutchen||Bryant Gallaher||Determination||18||Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Atlantic City|
|14||March 3 – June 9, 2015||TBA||TBA||TBA||18||A restaurant at Caesars Atlantic City|
- Season 1 winner Michael was offered the alternative choice of working at Gordon Ramsay in London, which he initially accepted, but subsequently reverted to the original prize due to not wanting to be separated from his family.
- Season 7 winner Holli was refused a UK work permit, and so was awarded the cash prize in lieu of the job at the Savoy Grill.
- Season 11 winner Ja'Nel's job offer was withdrawn after she failed a drug test, but she kept the cash prize. Due to a commitment on Ja'Nel's job withdrawal, season 12 winner Scott later won the job offer after winning in the next season.
Awards and nominations
Hell's Kitchen has been nominated for three Primetime Emmy Awards in the Outstanding Art Direction for Variety, Music or Nonfiction Programming category in 2007, 2008, and 2009. It has also been nominated for two Art Directors Guild Awards in the Television — Awards Show, Variety, Music or Non-Fiction Program category in 2007 and 2008, winning one in 2008. It has also been nominated for a Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer Series.
In 2009, Gordon Ramsay won an Astra Award for Favourite International Personality or Actor.
At the 2011 People's Choice Awards, Hell's Kitchen was nominated for Favorite Reality Show and Gordon Ramsay was nominated for Favorite TV Chef.
Visual Entertainment has released the first eleven seasons of Hell's Kitchen in Region 1. Season 11 was released on April 15, 2014. It is currently unknown when Season 12 & 13 will be released.
|DVD title||No. of
|Region 1 (CAN)||Region 1 (US)||Region 4|
|Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 1: Raw and Uncut||10||April 8, 2008||December 1, 2008|
|Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 2: Raw and Uncut||10||October 27, 2009||May 11, 2010||February 2, 2009|
|Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 3: Raw and Uncut||11||August 10, 2010||September 21, 2010||February 2, 2009|
|Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 4: Raw and Uncut||15||November 16, 2010||November 9, 2010||April 1, 2009|
|Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 5: Raw and Uncut||15||August 30, 2011||November 27, 2009|
|Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 6: Raw and Uncut||15||November 1, 2011||April 10, 2012||March 9, 2011|
|Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 7: Raw and Uncut||15||June 5, 2012||May 11, 2011|
|Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 8: Raw and Uncut||15||December 4, 2012||May 11, 2011|
|Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 9: Raw and Uncut||16||August 27, 2013||September 10, 2013||TBA|
|Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 10: Raw and Uncut||20||October 8, 2013||October 1, 2013||TBA|
|Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 11: Raw and Uncut||22||April 15, 2014||TBA|
|Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 12: Raw and Uncut||20||TBA||TBA|
|Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 13: Raw and Uncut||16||TBA||TBA|
Hell's Kitchen: The Game
|Hell's Kitchen: The Game|
|Release date(s)||September 11, 2008|
On September 11, 2008, Ubisoft released Hell's Kitchen: The Game for the Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows, and iOS which features the likeness of Ramsay, and the many important tasks shown in the U.S. version of the show.
|Hell's Kitchen on Facebook|
|Developer(s)||Ludia / Social2u|
|Release date(s)||April 2, 2009|
On April 2, 2009, Ludia and Social2u released the official Facebook version of the Hell's Kitchen game.
- Perkins, Jr. 2011, p. 7.
- Perkins, Jr. 2011, p. 5.
- "James Lukanik – Hell's Kitchen on FOX". FOX Broadcasting Company.
- Reality TV Calendar. June 3, 2007. "Hell's Kitchen — Everything You Want To Know".
- Latzman, Darrell. Los Angeles Business Journal. June 30, 2003. "KCOP studio sale is latest chapter in duopoly shifting. (Up Front).(Fox Broadcasting puts television studio facility up for sale)".
- Kaplan, Don. New York Post. June 29, 2005 (TV Wednesday section). "DRESSED TO GRILL ; 'HELL' ISN'T A REAL RESTAURANT".
- Perkins, Jr. 2011, p. 3.
- Hayden, David (July 12, 2011). "hell’s kitchen fake". Foodie Knowledge. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- "Is Hell's Kitchen too fake, even for a reality show?". Aoltv.com. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- Just Hungry. "Why Hell's Kitchen is not a real food show". Just Hungry. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- "Joseph Just a Ploy on 'Hell's Kitchen'?". Buddytv.com. July 30, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- Boucher, G. (June 2013). Gordon Ramsay's Bark Worse Than His Bite, Entertainment Weekly
- Perkins, Jr. 2011, p. 264.
- March 28, 2012 2:29 pm Updated: March 28, 2012 2:34 pm (March 28, 2012). "'So You Think You Can Dance,' 'Hell's Kitchen' And More: Fox Announces Summer Premiere Dates". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- Huth, Kelly (May 18, 2012). "Phillipsburg chef to compete on new season of 'Hell's Kitchen'". The Express Times. Retrieved May 19, 2012.
- "Hell's Kitchen winner Ja'Nel Witt loses Las Vegas head chef job after 'failing drug test' (but keeps $250k salary)". Daily Mail. August 24, 2013. Retrieved September 21, 2013./
- Kondolojy, Amanda (May 20, 2015). "'Hell's Kitchen' Moves to Tuesday 9PM Timeslot Beginning Next Week". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
- IMDB "Astra Awards (2009)"
- "People's Choice Awards 2011 Nominees". PeoplesChoice.com. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- "Hell's Kitchen on DVD, Release Info, News at". Tvshowsondvd.com. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- EzyDVD Search – Hell's Kitchen
- "Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 6: Raw & Uncut (4 Disc Set)". Ezydvd.com.au. March 9, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- "Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 7: Raw & Uncut (4 Disc Set)". Ezydvd.com.au. May 11, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- "Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 8: Raw & Uncut (4 Disc Set)". Ezydvd.com.au. May 11, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- "Hell's Kitchen: The Game". Hellskitchenvideogame.com. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
- "Hell's Kitchen on Facebook". Apps.facebook.com. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
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