OCD TV: “Hell’s Kitchen”

My own private hell would, in fact, be in a kitchen. I don’t like to cook, I am not good at cooking and I really hate the mess in the kitchen when you have actually made the effort to cook. It’s like punishment for making that effort. The problem is, I have fairly sophisticated taste when it comes to food. I blame this on my mother. My mom is by far the best cook I know. Everything she makes could be served in a five-star restaurant. Even her macaroni and cheese is super-fancy with four different cheeses from around the world and finely chopped peppers and onions simmering perfectly over exactly the right level flame. I think back to growing up and I don’t know how she did it. We never had the same meal twice in a month and everything was fresh and made from scratch. And all this after working a full day at work. My mind can’t even begin to comprehend how she did it. Nor does it really want to.

I know that being a good cook is fairly simple. You have to be able to follow directions and just have some basic food and kitchen knowledge. Being a great chef is a whole different thing. Great chefs are artists, using food as a form of expression rather than such things as painting or playing music. Often times, with great artists comes great eccentric behavior and Gordon Ramsay does not disappoint. You might think it’s an act, or played up for TV with all his swearing, yelling, and just general temper tantrums, but this guy has been around on British television for years and has always been the same. What the American version of his program doesn’t show however, is the incredibly smart, funny and brilliant businessman that the original British version “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares” portrayed. Gordon Ramsay has built a food empire, from dozens of high-end restaurants, to cookbooks and TV shows. Everything he does, he does well and his high standards are maintained throughout.

More of OCD TV’s voracious appetite for “Hell’s Kitchen” after the jump…

I can’t even being to imagine the stress of being in a kitchen, cooking with Gordon Ramsay. It’s a stressful job to begin with and then you have him breathing fire down the neck of every chef, hurling abuse and throwing food around when it’s not up to par. I would much rather just get take-out. I think it’s definitely a test of strength for a lot of the contestants, not to just walk out. In most normal working environments, no one would put up with being spoken to the way Ramsay speaks to his chefs, even on a good day, but it’s all part and parcel of proving themselves to be able to handle anything. The prize is Head Chef of a new fine dining restaurant at the Green Valley Ranch Resort and Spa in Las Vegas, and the salary starts at $250,000 a year. That’s almost enough to make me want to start learning to cook. Almost.

One of my favorite parts of Hell’s Kitchen are the little visuals of the pitchfork and fire before they go to commercial break. They are all so creative! I always wait to fast forward my Tivo just enough to catch them, and that’s saying a lot because I am a fast forward Nazi when it comes to commercials. I consider it a personal failure when I don’t manage to cut out every single commercial perfectly. I don’t even want to hear the beginning words or music of one. Notta one!

“Hell’s Kitchen” may be overly dramatic and edited to make Gordon Ramsay look like Satan himself, but it is a hell of a lot of fun. Some shows really stretch to fill an hour and I am often left feeling a bit cheated and dissatisfied. An hour of “Hell’s Kitchen” leaves me feeling like I went to the restaurant and really got my money’s worth. Any longer, and all that ranting and raving might give me heartburn and high blood pressure, afflictions with which I’m guessing Mr. Ramsay himself is probably very familiar.

Hell’s Kitchen” is on Monday nights, 9/8c on FOX. Feel free to check out the “Hell’s Kitchen” recaps on Recapist as well.