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Behind the Scenes in Hell's Kitchen


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#1

TWoP Nikita

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Posted Sep 24, 2010 @ 11:39 AM

Have you been a customer at Hell's Kitchen? Do you have questions about what restaurant positions the winners have actually be given as their prize? Do you have other information or questions about what goes on behind the scenes on the show? Post about it here.

#2

HiredSword

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Posted Sep 24, 2010 @ 2:23 PM

I had the opportunity to eat at Hell's Kitchen during the taping of an episode for this season, and...

So was the food any good?


To be frank, no. It was edible and no one got sick - although diners sign a release that they won't sue if they get sick - and we did get served everything we ordered (and pretty quickly, to boot), but the food was nothing special. Our group was careful to each order something different and share, so that we were able to try everything, but all in all, the food was fine but nothing special. We were particularly interested in trying the pea risotto that comes into play during so many episodes, and a friend summed it up best when he said, "It tastes like... peas."

I'm sure that the food Chef Ramsay serves at his actual restaurants is of far better quality than that which is served in Hell's Kitchen. On the other hand, had I been asked to pay for the food in Hell's Kitchen (diners don't pay anything for food or alcohol, which is unlimited and free - and the production company offers to pay for a cab home and return the next day for anyone who has over-imbibed), I would not have been happy and definitely would not have returned. But for free? And as part of the filming of a TV episode? It was a ton of fun.

#3

Holliday

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Posted Sep 24, 2010 @ 9:52 PM

Thanks for your post HiredSword. You answered one of my main questions - prices. Glad to hear it's free. A couple of others:

  • Does Ramsey engage with the diners at all?
  • Is the beef wellington good?
  • Is there a dress code?


#4

HiredSword

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Posted Sep 25, 2010 @ 12:36 PM

Does Ramsey engage with the diners at all?


No. I suppose if a diner went up to the kitchen pass to smart off to Chef Ramsay, as we have seen in some episodes, he may interact. But eating in Hell's Kitchen was just like eating in a regular restaurant in that the Chef does not interact with the diners and is focused on getting the contestants, in this case, to deliver the meals.

Is the beef wellington good?


We were sure to order the beef wellington and then share it since it features so prominently in Hell's Kitchen, and since it's not a very common item one sees on restaurant menus. It was fine, but nothing special. Ours was cooked appropriately and delivered promptly, but it wasn't anything special. The food in Hell's Kitchen wasn't particularly memorable; the experience was.

Is there a dress code?


We ate in Hell's Kitchen as part of the 100th dinner service black-tie dinner, so there was a specific dress code for that evening. The pre-taping communcation from the producers asked that patrons wear "tuxes for men, and evening gowns for women." We followed that directive, but there were some people wearing dark suits, etc. Everyone did look very nice for the 100th dinner service episode, which was also noted at the time of taping by some media outlets covering a PR appearance of Chef Ramsay with a 100th dinner service cake, as I remember.

Incidentally, the pre-taping communication from the producers included boilerplate dress code instructions that were superseded by the black tie requirement. Those included: no logos or artwork, no all-white outfits, no bare midriffs or overly-revealing outfits, and no jeans. Presumably those instructions are for a regular taping night.

Additionally, the upstairs seating area seen occasionally during a Hell's Kitchen is sort of an auxiliary seating area, apparently booked for people (who are served food) in case downstairs parties don't show so that Hell's Kitchen's downstairs area is always completely full - no empty seats on camera. I suppose that people who are not dressed appropriately are either turned away or asked to sit upstairs, and their downstairs seats are replaced with people previously assigned upstairs seating.

#5

Lead Magnet

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Posted Sep 25, 2010 @ 5:27 PM

Were there any special dishes on the menu during your visit, or was it not far enough along in the season for that? These would be the things like team/individually-created dishes that Grr finds particularly interesting, or the ones that are selected after challenges.

If the standard menu is decent but boring, I'd be curious to know if any of these occasional extra items do show any particular flair, or if everything seems dulled down for mass production.

(I'm also thinking that specifically naming a unique dish might run afoul of the NDA, so "Yes" or "No" would probably suffice.)

Edited by Lead Magnet, Sep 25, 2010 @ 5:40 PM.


#6

HiredSword

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Posted Sep 25, 2010 @ 6:22 PM

Were there any special dishes on the menu during your visit, or was it not far enough along in the season for that?


If any of the menu items were "special" - as in part of some on-camera storyline, as you described - we weren't told of such. The menu was presented as a standard high-end restaurant menu, and we weren't told of anything special, just asked to order one from each area.

#7

Hansey

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Posted Sep 26, 2010 @ 12:55 AM

Can I ask how you came to get tickets / an invitation in the first place? I was curious because we're going to be in L.A. next month and thought it would be cool to try to attend a taping (though I honestly have no idea if they're currently filming the next season or not), but I couldn't find any details anywhere about how one gets to be a guest in the first place. I read that a lot of the diners are just friends of people working on the show, saw another page that said you could go to the show's official page to get tickets, but I couldn't find anything there either.

Even if they are currently taping, I doubt any of the people I'm going with would be interested... but I'm curious just the same. :)

#8

HiredSword

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Posted Sep 26, 2010 @ 6:48 PM

Can I ask how you came to get tickets / an invitation in the first place?


Sure. We had the proverbial "friend of a friend" who was working for the production company. I believe that everyone, or nearly everyone, who is a diner in Hell's Kitchen is either an acquaintance of a staff member or recruited by the production company to fill certain roles (ie. when they have firefighters, cheerleaders, etc.)

#9

skeb

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Posted Sep 26, 2010 @ 7:04 PM

Great idea, this thread. Thanks for the info, HiredSword
When you were finished with your meals, did you get up and leave so another party could be seated, or did you have to stay until taping was finished, or GR "shut it down?" Also, do you know at what point in the season did you eat there? How many chefs were left? I realize you can't give away specific details about who was still there.

#10

HiredSword

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Posted Sep 26, 2010 @ 8:26 PM

When you were finished with your meals, did you get up and leave so another party could be seated, or did you have to stay until taping was finished, or GR "shut it down?"


I believe there is only one seating, so there was no one waiting for our table or anything. Whenever you wanted, you could leave, and we were served our food, so we just hung around a little while after we were finished (remember, free wine) and then left when there weren't a ton of people waiting for their cars. Every car is valet parked, so there could be a line. Also, on our taping date, it was a relatively early dinner time (for Los Angeles), so we actually went out after eating dinner at Hell's Kitchen.

Also, do you know at what point in the season did you eat there? How many chefs were left?


We were there for the 100th dinner service episode, which coincided with some media coverage of the taping - as I understand, 100 episodes is a major milestone in television as it represents greater money for syndication or something. I remember some media at the time showing Chef Ramsay and a "100th episode" cake or some such. It was about halfway through the season, although I don't know exactly how many chefs were on each team - maybe 5 or 6 each.

I realize you can't give away specific details about who was still there.


I couldn't give any interesting specific details about who was still there even if I wanted to. When you eat at Hell's Kitchen, it's just like any other restaurant, albeit one with an open kitchen. You see the chefs working, and you see and hear Chef Ramsay, but you don't hear the kitchen conversations (unless Chef Ramsay is screaming and making a scene - and when that happens the dining room gets quiet and everyone turns to see). You have no clue who the chefs are, no clue what their names are, no clue what their history is, no clue what any of the behind-the-scenes drama is, and no clue who gets eliminated. This was taped so long ago that there has been an ENTIRE season aired since the taping date, and I couldn't remember who the contestants were if I wanted. Even though I was there when it was taped, I'll be watching along with everyone else to see what the drama is and who gets eliminated.

#11

Lead Magnet

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Posted Oct 14, 2010 @ 10:48 AM

Have you had a chance to see the episode yet, now that it's aired? From what you've said, you only get a general impression of the kitchen drama, but a couple of notable things did happen in the episode that probably would have been seen by all.

Edited by Lead Magnet, Oct 14, 2010 @ 10:53 AM.


#12

KAT from LA

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Posted Oct 14, 2010 @ 6:04 PM

Can I ask how you came to get tickets


Yes you can get tickets but they only offer them a month or so prior to taping and they are free. Go here to find out more: http://reality-tv.lovetoknow.com/Tickets_t...l's_Kitchen

Don't click on the link next to the ticket but scroll down to where it says "How to get tickets for Hell's Kitchen."

I was trying to get tickets last year but they sent me an e-mail with certain rules and it stated that you cannot dine in Hell's Kitchen if you have ANY food allergies. I had to be honest with them as I'm allergic to avocados. Also, if you have any type of problem which makes it difficult for you to go for a few hours without food (blood sugar problems??) they discourage you from dining there. They will also ask you to send pics of all the people in your party.

I recall that the date we chose to go was sometime last February and that was when the current season was taped.

I hope this helps.

#13

babykin

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Posted Jul 11, 2012 @ 11:02 AM

I work at a large financial firm in NY and happened to see one of the contestants from this current season outside having a smoke. I started talking to him (of course) and asking a million questions. He works in our executive dining room. He was booted off fairly early and said he hated GRR. (Disclaimer: I absolutely love Gordon)

He claims the contestants this year were really nice and it's all editing that makes them look so bad. I told him they look and act like a chain gang and that I would never eat anything they made, except for maybe Justin or Dana. He agreed that they come across terribly.

He will not tell me who wins, no matter how much I beg, but he did say
Spoiler


He explained that the winner is not the "executive chef" at STEAK, but just a head chef of a station.

He also said that
Spoiler


Also - Guy opened a restaurant here last week:
Guy's Restaurant

I smoke too, so I've seen this guy many times now and always end up chatting. He seems pretty nice, but bitter about his experience. He is still in touch with almost everyone that was on.

#14

akaf67

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Posted Jul 15, 2012 @ 2:40 AM

If one of the original terrible three "hatred is our motto" Red team member actually wins this thing then I have lost all faith in Gordon Ramsey and his shows. As for the contestants getting along; I don't believe it. There is so much hatred shown during the edits that I can't believe anyone would get past it. I never could.

#15

Divaah46

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Posted Jul 17, 2012 @ 3:31 PM

Last night was the Palate Test competition, and one thing I wonder: Are the chefs screened for food allergies? My mother has life-threatening nut and peanut allergies, and a friend of mine is allergic to seafood, macadamia nuts, sesame, and the "moldy" cheeses. How can Gordon be sure that he won't cause a fatal reaction?

#16

Grimes

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Posted Jul 17, 2012 @ 11:42 PM

Last night was the Palate Test competition, and one thing I wonder: Are the chefs screened for food allergies? My mother has life-threatening nut and peanut allergies, and a friend of mine is allergic to seafood, macadamia nuts, sesame, and the "moldy" cheeses. How can Gordon be sure that he won't cause a fatal reaction?


Even the dinner guests are asked if they have food allergies. So I'm sure the chefs are as well.

#17

whatchootalking

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Posted Jul 26, 2012 @ 8:10 AM

Craziest thing? Apparently Kimmie and Barbie have become friendly since filming. Kimmie actually stayed with Barbie's family on Barbie's farm and said that Barbie's family was really nice. I didn't see that one coming.

#18

ZoloftBlob

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Posted Jul 26, 2012 @ 8:54 AM

I could. I don't think Kimmie, by herself, is that terrible of a person. She struck me as someone who doesn't handle stress well and in a situation where she's not under pressure, could be a lot of fun. Likewise Barbie seems like she could be fun if she is letting herself be friendly and isn't in a competition.

#19

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Posted Aug 13, 2012 @ 2:09 PM

Kimmie struck me as insecure and not very - let's be generous and say insightful about people - and I think Tiffany and Robyn played her hard. Remember, Kimmie-as-bully started after Tiffany's little blackout drunk gossip session about some unnamed person talking trash about her, and Robyn effectively isolated her from the rest of the contestants in the guise of being her most bestest friend (something I get the impression Kimmie doesn't have a lot of experience with).

As godawful a piece of reeling trash as Tiffany was, though, the Elise of this season is definitely Robyn (although Elise always gave me the impression that she thought she was gaining some kind of strategic advantage by being the camera's Survivor-style bitch darling, and Robyn strikes me as someone who sharpens her hypodermics on a brick).

Edited by jmhm, Aug 13, 2012 @ 2:27 PM.


#20

firedragon76

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Posted Aug 16, 2012 @ 9:18 AM

Last night was the Palate Test competition, and one thing I wonder: Are the chefs screened for food allergies? My mother has life-threatening nut and peanut allergies, and a friend of mine is allergic to seafood, macadamia nuts, sesame, and the "moldy" cheeses. How can Gordon be sure that he won't cause a fatal reaction?


You're not going far as a chef if you have food allergies. I went to culinary school but I could never work in a kitchen because I have food intolerances and that already makes it impossible. If I can't taste a red wine sauce, how am I supposed to send it out to a customer? I also can't touch fish or seafood without getting a physical reaction, so how would I prepare that? I was the queen of boef bourginion, beef wellington and apfelstrudel in school, but that doesn't help if someone orders tuna ;-)

#21

ProfCrash

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Posted Aug 16, 2012 @ 11:12 AM

There are ways to be a professional chef with food allergies. Chopped had contestants with food allergies who have won, even cooking the food that they are allergic to. One contestant got two types of shell fish and cooked great dishes. He used gloves so he never touched the product and trusted his training on how to prepare the food. I am sure there are some allergies that would be impossible to get past, like a nut allergy were inhaling nut dust is enough to trigger a reaction, but most allergies can be worked around.

#22

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Posted Aug 19, 2012 @ 12:59 PM

There was also a contestant on Top Chef Canada recently who had an allergy to either fish or seafood and he did well anyway. He wore gloves when preparing it and relied on experience instead of tasting. It seemed to work for him.

#23

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Posted Aug 21, 2012 @ 2:59 PM

And, oddly enough, at least one former "Chopped" contestant with heavy duty allergies, maybe the one being referred to up above, was an HK contestant, too, and his allergies were never mentioned there. Maybe named Will/Bill?

#24

NitroFishBlue

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Posted Aug 23, 2012 @ 11:00 AM

The allergic chef was Will. He appeared on Chopped before Hell's Kitchen. He was supposedly allergic to shellfish and some sort of fruit.

#25

vexer6

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Posted Aug 30, 2012 @ 4:17 PM

Babykin-It sounds like that guy just hates GR because he dosen't want to admit to his mistakes(i'm guessing it was Chris or Guy you were talking to, since they're both from NY) and I find it very hard to believe that people like Tiffany are actually nice in real life, so i'm not convinced that editing was the issue.


Spoiler


Spoiler


Spoiler

Edited by vexer6, Sep 3, 2012 @ 10:18 PM.


#26

ReiMehari

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Posted Sep 27, 2012 @ 11:12 AM

He will not tell me who wins, no matter how much I beg, but he did say no one thought this person would win and that the contestant everyone thought deserved to win, did not. He said the one that won is connected to someone in production and Gordon.


Huh. I thought Christina was a strong contender, and the other chefs thought so too.