Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series)

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This article is about the American television show. For other uses, see Hell's Kitchen (disambiguation).
Hell's Kitchen
Hells Kitchen title.png
Genre Reality television
Created by Gordon Ramsay
Directed by
  • Tony Croll (season 1)
  • Brad Kreisberg (seasons 2–5)
  • Sharon Trojan Hollinger (seasons 6-)
Starring Gordon Ramsay
Narrated by Jason Thompson (seasons 1–12 & 15-)
Opening theme "Fire" by the Ohio Players
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 15
No. of episodes 222 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
Running time 42 minutes
Production company(s)
Original network Fox
Picture format
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original release May 30, 2005 (2005-05-30) – present (present)
Related shows Hell's Kitchen (UK TV series)
External links

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.[1] The show was officially 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 two more seasons through season 16.[2] For the first time since season 10, Hell's Kitchen had a 9 ET/8 CT timeslot starting Tuesday, May 26, 2015, due to the revival of the series Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? taking its spot at 8/7c.[3] Season 15 premiered on January 15, 2016;[4] initially broadcasting Friday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT, Hell's Kitchen moved to Wednesdays starting January 27, 2016, also at 9 p.m. ET/PT, in a swap with Second Chance, a drama that was experiencing poor ratings in its Wednesday time slot.[5]


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. They are also given knife sets that they get to keep, regardless of their progress.[6]

Gordon Ramsay breaks the chefs into two teams. Most often this is based on gender, with women on the red team and men on the blue; each is given a chef's jacket with panels of that color on the shoulders. The chefs compete in these teams, barring any reassignments by Ramsay, until only five or six chefs are left, when they are brought into a single common team wearing black-panelled jackets. They compete individually to be one of the final two.

Each episode typically includes a challenge and a dinner service, following which a chef is eliminated. In challenges, the teams or individual chefs are tasked with a cooking challenge by Ramsay. The type of challenges are varied, including ingredient preparation, meal preparation and taste tests. 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 attempt to recreate a dish Ramsay has prepared after tasting it only, and a taste-test challenge where chefs identify ingredients while blindfolded and wearing sound-blocking earcovers.

The winner of the challenge is determined by either a scoring system set for that challenge or by 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. Dinner service is 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 spend a few hours before each service prepping their ingredients.

Menus may be customized for a specific dinner service, such as ethnic-themed dishes or plates that resulted from the earlier challenge. One service allows for the teams to develop their own menus, which are reviewed by Ramsay for quality and presentation before the service. Dinner services may include additional challenges. A chef from each team may be asked to serve a table-side meal for their team, or may be asked to act as a server for the evening, taking and fulfilling orders. After the chefs are on a single black team, Ramsay will use one dinner service to ask each chef to run the pass to test their quality control, including deliberate mistakes made by the sous chefs or Ramsay himself.

During a service, Ramsay demands that all orders for each 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 trusted sous-chefs, each monitoring one of the kitchens, demanding the same standards and alerting Ramsay to any issues. Ramsay's goal is to complete every dinner service, but exceptionally 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. Ramsay may also evict individual chefs from the kitchen based on repeated poor performances during a service, and on rare occasion, may eliminate a chef on the spot.

Once the dinner service is complete, Ramsay determines which team (occasionally it's both) is the losing team and informs them to come up with two (unless otherwise stated) chefs to be nominated for elimination. In some cases, Ramsay has declared both teams as winners, but still requires both teams to nominate someone for elimination. This is usually a group consensus, but Ramsay may occasionally name a chef "best of the worst" on their team and instruct them to choose the nominees.

Ramsay reassembles the teams in the dining hall and hears out the nominations from the losing team(s). Ramsay may also nominate other chefs for elimination if he believes it appropriate. After giving these nominees the chance to defend themselves, Ramsay selects one to hand over their jacket and "leave Hell's Kitchen"; OR, he may choose to eliminate an unnominated chef instead, even a chef on a winning team, if he feels they were the worst performer of the service.

The eliminated chef is shown leaving the restaurant, providing some last thoughts on the experience; Ramsay is shown going to his office to symbolically place their jacket on an empty sharp hook below their picture in a row with the others; the hook pokes a hole in the jacket and ignites that chef's picture, signalling their departure. During this, Ramsay will have a voiceover to explain his reasons for eliminating the chef. If an eliminated chef has performed exceptionally well, Ramsay may allow that chef to keep their jacket as a token of their success up to that point, if he sees fit.

Chefs may be eliminated from the competition due to medical reasons, both voluntarily and involuntarily. Chefs that also violate the competition's rules will be immediately eliminated. Chefs may also exit the competition voluntarily for any other reason; though this is not encouraged, their wishes are ultimately granted.

In the finale, the two remaining chefs 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 ensure 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 uses his observations, those from the diners, and other sources to make a decision on who is the winning chef. He has the two chefs stand at two different doors from his office, and tells them to turn the handle to 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.[7] In a similar manner at eliminations, Ramsay will have a voiceover to explain his reasons for choosing that chef as the winner.


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'hôtel for the first series of the original British version. James Lukanik replaced Susilovic for seasons 8–10.[8] Each team also has the services of one of two sous-chefs. The sous-chefs are season 10 winner Christina Wilson (since season 15) and Aaron Mitrano (since season 15). Previous sous-chefs were Mary Ann Salcedo, Gloria Felix, season 2 winner Heather West, Andrea "Andi" Van Willigan, Scott Leibfried and James Avery



The theme song is Fire by the Ohio Players. When the U.S. version is broadcast in the U.K., Italy, Portugal and some countries (shown on the table below), it features only the instrumental version.


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.[10] 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.[11] 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.[12] 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.[citation needed] According to Arthur Perkins, the soundstage is only open for audience members when taping is taking place.[13] 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[edit]

The series has drawn numerous online and editorial accusations of staging and dramatic license,[14] 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.[15]

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.[16]

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.[17]


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[18] 12 United States Tatou in Los Angeles[a]
02 June 12 – August 14, 2006 Heather West Virginia Dalbeck Determination[18] United States Terra Rossa at Red Rock Resort Spa and Casino in Las Vegas
03 June 4 – August 13, 2007 Rahman "Rock" Harper Bonnie Muirhead Leadership United States Terra Verde at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson
04 April 1 – July 8, 2008 Christina Machamer Louis Petrozza Potential 15 United States London West Hollywood in Los Angeles
05 January 29 – May 14, 2009 Daniel "Danny" Veltri Paula da Silva Maturity[18] 16 United States Fornelletto at the Borgata in Atlantic City
06 July 21 – October 13, 2009 David "Dave" Levey Kevin Cottle Ability[18] 17 Canada Araxi Restaurant and Bar in Whistler
07 June 1 – August 10, 2010 Holli Ugalde Jason "Jay" Santos Confidence[18] 16 United Kingdom Savoy Grill at Savoy Hotel in London[b]
08 September 22 – December 15, 2010 Nona Sivley Russell Kook II Palate[18] United States LA Market at JW Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles
09 July 18 – September 19, 2011 Paul Niedermann William "Will" Lustberg Enthusiasm 18 United States BLT Steak in New York City
10 June 4[19] – September 10, 2012[20] Christina Wilson Justin Antiorio Passion United States Gordon Ramsay Steak in the Paris Las Vegas[21]
11 March 12 – July 25, 2013 Ja'Nel Witt Mary Poehnelt Composure 20 United States Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace[22][c]
12 March 13 – July 24, 2014 Scott Commings Jason Zepaltas Artistry
13 September 10 – December 17, 2014 La Tasha McCutchen Bryant Gallaher Determination 18[23] United States Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Atlantic City[24][d]
14 March 3 – June 9, 2015[25] Meghan Gill Torrece "T" Gregoire Natural Leadership
15 January 15, 2016[26] TBA TBA TBA United States BLT Steak at Bally's Las Vegas[27]
  1. ^ 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.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Season 13 winner La Tasha McCutchen, and Season 14 winner Meghan Gill to share head chef duties at Caesars Atlantic City.

Awards and nominations[edit]

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.[28]

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.[29]

At the 2014 Reality TV Awards ceremony, Hell's Kitchen won an award for best new cast.[30] In 2015, Hell's Kitchen won awards for best overall show and guilty pleasure at the 2015 Reality TV Awards.[31]

Other media[edit]

DVD and Blu-ray releases[edit]

Visual Entertainment has released the first thirteen seasons of Hell's Kitchen in Region 1.[32] Season 14 is set to be released on March 15, 2016, and the series will come to the Blu-ray format for the first time.[33]

In Region 4, Shock Entertainment has released seasons 1–8 on DVD in Australia.[34]

DVD/BD title No. of
Release dates
Region 1 (CAN) Region 1 (US) Region 4 (AUS)
Hell's Kitchen – Season 1: Raw and Uncensored 10 April 8, 2008 December 1, 2008
Hell's Kitchen – Season 2: Raw and Uncensored 10 October 27, 2009 May 11, 2010 February 2, 2009
Hell's Kitchen – Season 3: Raw and Uncensored 11 August 10, 2010 September 21, 2010 February 2, 2009
Hell's Kitchen – Season 4: Raw and Uncensored 15 November 16, 2010 November 9, 2010 April 1, 2009
Hell's Kitchen – Season 5: Raw and Uncensored 15 August 30, 2011 November 27, 2009
Hell's Kitchen – Season 6: Raw and Uncensored 15 November 1, 2011 April 10, 2012 March 9, 2011[35]
Hell's Kitchen – Season 7: Raw and Uncensored 15 June 5, 2012 May 11, 2011[36]
Hell's Kitchen – Season 8: Raw and Uncensored 15 December 4, 2012 May 11, 2011[37]
Hell's Kitchen – Season 9: Raw and Uncensored 16 August 27, 2013 September 10, 2013 TBA
Hell's Kitchen – Season 10: Raw and Uncensored 20 October 8, 2013[38] October 1, 2013 TBA
Hell's Kitchen – Season 11: Raw and Uncensored 22 April 15, 2014 TBA
Hell's Kitchen – Season 12: Raw and Uncensored 20 September 1, 2015 TBA
Hell's Kitchen – Season 13: Raw and Uncensored 16 November 24, 2015 TBA
Hell's Kitchen – Season 14: Raw and Uncensored 16 March 15, 2016 TBA

Hell's Kitchen: The Game[edit]

Hell's Kitchen: The Game
Developer(s) Ludia
Publisher(s) Ubisoft
Platform(s) Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows and iPhone OS
Release date(s) September 11, 2008
Genre(s) Sim

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.[39]

Hell's Kitchen on Facebook
Developer(s) Ludia / Social2u
Platform(s) Facebook
Release date(s) April 2, 2009
Genre(s) Sim

On April 2, 2009, Ludia and Social2u released the official Facebook version of the Hell's Kitchen game.[40]


  1. ^ https://www.facebook.com/notes/fox/fox-announces-fall-premiere-dates-for-the-2014-2015-season/10154342036545557
  2. ^ http://tvimpulse.com/fox-renews-hells-kitchen-through-season-16=28139
  3. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (May 20, 2015). "'Hell's Kitchen' Moves to Tuesday 9PM Timeslot Beginning Next Week". TV By the Numbers. Retrieved June 23, 2015. 
  4. ^ "FOX ANNOUNCES WINTER PREMIERE DATES". FOX.com. Fox Broadcasting Company. Retrieved November 10, 2015. 
  5. ^ Littleton, Cynthia. "Fox Shuffles ‘Second Chance,’ ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Time Slots". Variety. Littleton, Cynthia. Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  6. ^ Perkins, Jr. 2011, p. 7.
  7. ^ Perkins, Jr. 2011, p. 5.
  8. ^ "James Lukanik – Hell's Kitchen on FOX". FOX Broadcasting Company. 
  9. ^ a b "HELL'S KITCHEN / Location, Location, Location from "18 Chefs Compete" / FOX BROADCASTING". YouTube. January 4, 2016. Retrieved January 4, 2016. 
  10. ^ Reality TV Calendar. June 3, 2007. "Hell's Kitchen — Everything You Want To Know".[1]
  11. ^ 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)".[2]
  12. ^ Kaplan, Don. New York Post. June 29, 2005 (TV Wednesday section). "DRESSED TO GRILL ; 'HELL' ISN'T A REAL RESTAURANT".[3]
  13. ^ Perkins, Jr. 2011, p. 3.
  14. ^ "Is Hell's Kitchen too fake, even for a reality show?". Aoltv.com. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  15. ^ http://www.realityblurred.com/realitytv/archives/hells_kitchen_6/2009_Sep_02_tek_back
  16. ^ "Joseph Just a Ploy on 'Hell's Kitchen'?". Buddytv.com. July 30, 2009. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  17. ^ Boucher, G. (June 2013). Gordon Ramsay's Bark Worse Than His Bite, Entertainment Weekly
  18. ^ a b c d e f Perkins, Jr. 2011, p. 264.
  19. ^ "'So You Think You Can Dance,' 'Hell's Kitchen' And More: Fox Announces Summer Premiere Dates". Huffingtonpost.com. March 28, 2012. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  20. ^ http://thefutoncritic.com/news/2012/06/18/exclusive-fox-sets-finales-for-masterchef-hells-kitchen-so-you-think-you-can-dance-142313/9834/
  21. ^ Huth, Kelly (May 18, 2012). "Phillipsburg chef to compete on new season of 'Hell's Kitchen'". The Express Times. Retrieved May 19, 2012. 
  22. ^ "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. /
  23. ^ "About Hell's Kitchen". Facebook. Retrieved December 15, 2015. 
  24. ^ http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/life/meghan-gill-wins-hell-s-kitchen-to-head-gordon-ramsay/article_e0224dfc-0ec2-11e5-986f-ffdc9f28d554.html
  25. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (May 20, 2015). "'Hell's Kitchen' Moves to Tuesday 9PM Timeslot Beginning Next Week". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 20, 2015. 
  26. ^ "FOX ANNOUNCES WINTER PREMIERE DATES". Fox Broadcasting. November 10, 2015. Retrieved November 10, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Watch Preview Of New Season Of 'Hell's Kitchen' Friday, Jan. 15". RedCarpetCrash. RedCarpetCrash. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
  28. ^ IMDB "Astra Awards (2009)"
  29. ^ "People's Choice Awards 2011 Nominees". PeoplesChoice.com. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  30. ^ "2014 Winners – Reality TV Awards". Reality TV Awards. Retrieved November 13, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Winners – Reality TV Awards". Reality TV Awards. Retrieved November 13, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Hell's Kitchen on DVD, Release Info, News at". Tvshowsondvd.com. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  33. ^ "Hell's Kitchen – Date for 'Season 14: Raw and Uncensored' on DVD...AND on Blu-ray!". TVShowsOnDVD. Lambert, Dave. Retrieved January 14, 2016. 
  34. ^ EzyDVD Search – Hell's Kitchen
  35. ^ "Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 6: Raw & Uncut (4 Disc Set)". Ezydvd.com.au. March 9, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  36. ^ "Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 7: Raw & Uncut (4 Disc Set)". Ezydvd.com.au. May 11, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  37. ^ "Hell's Kitchen USA – Season 8: Raw & Uncut (4 Disc Set)". Ezydvd.com.au. May 11, 2011. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  38. ^ http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Hells-Kitchen-Seasons-9-and-10/18870
  39. ^ "Hell's Kitchen: The Game". Hellskitchenvideogame.com. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 
  40. ^ "Hell's Kitchen on Facebook". Apps.facebook.com. Retrieved April 24, 2012. 

External links[edit]