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Wednesday April 2, 2008 3:00 pm

Tuesday Night Treats: Hell’s Kitchen Premiere

Gordon Ramsay

As Idol ended and began, I realized that Tuesday night just became my favorite evening for TV. Two saucy Brits, two great hours of entertainment. With Gordon Ramsay now following Simon Cowell, we have just been treated to one of the better programming ploys FOX has ever tried. But was the Hell’s Kitchen premiere worth all the hype?

promised viewers, during another American Idol commercial break, that the first ten minutes of Hell’s Kitchen would be a can’t-miss event. I think that might have been a little strong, considering much of the first few minutes of the show were swamped by clips of Gordon Ramsay screaming at contestants from last season and this upcoming season. Don’t get me wrong - I love listening to Ramsay scream, but you’re not going to blow my mind with two minutes of edited promo footage. Finally, it was time to get to the meat of the premiere.

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FOX.com

BobbyRamsay put on prosthetic make-up and rode in the bus with his own contestants, listening to them mouth off about winning the show. Craig, the contestant with the tall white chef hat, likes to feel a bit taller in the kitchen. Bobby, the executive chef who thinks he’s the greatest thing in the kitchen since the invention of the double-burner, stated “I’m the black Gordon Ramsay,” within the first five minutes.

Next, the contestants gave their own impressions for Jean-Philippe, possibly the most famous maitre d’ in the world. Gordon Ramsay, with his black wig and all, then stepped forward to give his own impression. The world-class chef revealed himself as the contestants around him freaked out, and he quickly sent them into the kitchen to cook.

Gordon then sampled a dish from each one, hating almost everything. He asked one poor guy if he smoked. “Cigarettes?” The competitor asked. “No.” Ramsay flatly answered. He got sick from one dish and told the cook to “piss off,” though he did like the soup New Yorker Rosann put in front of him. One guy offered a hen in a pumpkin, and Ramsay was not impressed. Vanessa’s dish was the “tastiest thing I’ve had all day.” Bobby, the executive chef, did not receive such rave reviews. Ramsay told him it’s “embarrassingly lazy to deep-fry the fish.”

Next, the prize was revealed to the contestants - a job at Ramsay’s own London L.A. The position is worth $250,000, not at all bad for TV. In a new twist for the new season, Ramsay told the men and women to each elect a captain to lead them to victory.

Vanessa The women chose Vanessa, as she had the most success tempting Ramsay’s palate earlier that day. With this decision made, the gals spent the rest of the night studying the menu. The men tried to nominate a caption for quite a while, spending very little time studying. Finally Bobby was elected, mostly because he was so vocal about it. And then, it was on to the dinner service.

Gordon quizzed Bobby right away about the menu, asking him what the entrées were. Bobby couldn’t name a one, so Ramsay started going down the line and asking his team. Ramsay grew more infuriated as more could not come up with a single entrée. Finally he gave up and asked Christina, who rattled off the dishes quickly.

Thus, the service began. Jason wandered off near the beginning of dinner to smoke a cigarette and randomly play with his toes. Later, he was lambasted by Gordon for failing to produce his appetizers.

Gordon RamsayAs both teams struggled in their respective kitchens, Ramsay grew fed up. He took the captain’s position from Vanessa and passed it off to loud-mouthed Rosann instead. Meanwhile, captain Bobby refused to step forward and help his struggling teammates (despite having promised to do so when he elected himself to the position). Ramsay took the honor of captain from Bobby as well, passing it off to Louross. At this point, Jason finally got his act together and began to create edible food, but it was to no avail. Most of the patrons had already left the restaurant, no doubt driven by sheer starvation. The kitchens were summarily shut down.

Gordon declared the men the losing team, with Louross the “best of the very worst.” This dubious honor meant that Louross had to nominate two from his team to go home. He chose stay-at-home dad Dominic and chef (self-claimed “four-star general”) Bobby, whom I wanted to leave the show immediately already. But surprisingly, Ramsay picked Dominic and not Bobby to pack his bags, and that was that. Bobby’s attitude is a real pain, but it’s probably better for ratings. I’m just hoping Gordon will soon grow too sick of him to keep his hopes alive.

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Forum Discussion

I wish they'd have chefs of equal ability on the show. It's their greatest fault, and the reason why Top Chef is so much better.

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