Chef Gordon Ramsay returns to Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen for the two-hour Season 11 premiere of the popular culinary competition this Tuesday, March 12.
For the first time in Hell’s Kitchen history, twenty aspiring restaurateurs head to Las Vegas to present their signature dishes before Chef Ramsay and a live audience. Once the Las Vegas festivities are over, however, it’s back to Los Angeles where the chefs will compete in the traditional Hell’s Kitchen for a shot at culinary stardom.
So, how does Gordon Ramsay see the evolution of chefs on Hell’s Kitchen as compared to the show’s first season?
“I think the chefs are generally better,” Ramsay admitted to The Deadbolt ahead of the season 11 premiere. “I think any job offering $125,000 as a salary is huge. So you can imagine the excitement when they’ve got a potential salary for a year of $250,000. That’s a life-changer.”
When Hell’s Kitchen returns, Gordon Ramsay will split the contestants into the usual red and blue teams to prove they have what it takes to win a life-changing grand prize of a head chef position working under Executive Chef Jeremy Berlin at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace.
Back in 2005 when Hell’s Kitchen first premiered in the United States, the new food revolution was just getting underway. It was a different time for chefs within reality television.
“I see them as more focused,” Ramsay added about Hell’s Kitchen chefs today.
“I also think they’re more well-rounded. And there’s a level of humbleness this year that I haven’t seen in two or three years because of the economic downturn. The chefs have changed because of the climate has changed. But I think they’ve become more hungrier because there are less opportunities out there. I think that’s why the continued success of Hell’s Kitchen is so apparent, because of that level of determination. It’s life changing.”
With the economy in the trash can, so to speak, Ramsay was quick to point out how Hell’s Kitchen handles the amount of food being thrown away at a time when people are trying to make ends meet. As we’ve seen in previous seasons, new chefs often burn through scallops and Beef Wellingtons like they’re going out of style when learning on the fly.
“We have some amazing challenges this year with waste,” said Gordon Ramsay about what fans can expect from the show in terms of waste management. “I highlighted that from day one. This is despicable, you cannot do that to food. And secondly, if you were running your own business, you’d be shut down in the first three weeks if you operated like that. We always get complaints like, ‘Hey, what happens to the food? How can you throw so many Wellingtons away?’ Well, we don’t. We have to become a little bit more creative.”
After a season that saw Philadelphia chef Christina Wilson land a winning head job at Gordon Ramsay’s Steakhouse at Paris in Las Vegas, Hell’s Kitchen is still a rewarding experience for the most popular chef on television.
“I look at all of the previous winners,” said Ramsay about the show’s successful chefs, “this year we had them all back. The highlight for me was Christina in Las Vegas because she is a phenomenon. When you discover a talent like that, it makes it all worthwhile.”
Hell’s Kitchen returns to Fox in a two-hour premiere on Tuesday, March 12 at 8pm.
How do you see the evolution of the chefs on Hell’s Kitchen?