I’ll admit it: reality tv is a guilty pleasure of mine. I think it’s because of the competition. I enjoy seeing people tasked with something and trying to beat each other to solve it. And yeah, maybe some of it is scripted, but that doesn’t make me enjoy it any less! I was a huge fan of The Apprentice in its pre-celebrity days. America’s Next Top Model is also an old favorite (although I think it’s gone so far downhill that I don’t watch it anymore), as well as The Biggest Loser and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. One lazy Saturday afternoon, Andy and I somehow stumbled upon Hell’s Kitchen and got totally hooked. We watched the finale last night (spoiler alert coming up!).
First of all, I was pretty happy Holli won. I thought she was the best cook, even if Jay did seem like a better leader in the kitchen. Plus she was way less obnoxious. And I’m sorry, but in my opinion no self-respecting professional–chef or otherwise–should have blue hair.
I was really surprised to get sucked into Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Ramsay curses up a storm like nobody I’ve ever heard before. However, the cooking was so interesting to me–especially the challenges. I loved seeing what the chefs would come up with and really wish they would publish some of the recipes! I was also a sucker for the musical fanfare every time Jean-Phillipe would open Hell’s Kitchen. And I’m not going to pretend that Andy and I don’t fantasize about having dinner there someday. I think Chef Ramsay’s personality is a big part of the show’s draw too. Even though he can be a complete jerk and scream and yell at people, he also comes across as such a softie at times. When he gives someone a compliment, you know that person earned it!
As Hell’s Kitchen was winding down, I found out about another Ramsay show (no, not Kitchen Nightmares–just can’t get into that one). Have you heard of Master Chef? It’s a similar concept to Hell’s Kitchen, except that all of the chefs are amateurs who are cooking their hearts out to become a master chef (big bucks prize, plus a cookbook). Chef Ramsay isn’t quite as hard on these people, but the competition is no less grueling. This past week’s episode was just the second. For the first challenge, the cooks had to chop onions, perfectly evenly. I would’ve been dead on that one–my knife skills are practically non-existent. Someday I really need to take a knife skills class. Anyway, some of the cooks were chopping for 90 minutes straight–insanity!
Their next challenge involved preparing a dish that featured an egg, with the key component being the egg itself. It was very cool to see what various people came up with, and again I really wish you could somehow download their recipes. Some of them are so impressive.
What I really like about the show is the way the cooks are stretched and challenged. When I first heard about the concept (apparently it started in Britain), I thought, I want to be on that show! When I started watching, I realized I am nowhere near the cook to compete with those people. However, I really enjoy thinking about how I would approach the various challenges. One egg + pretty much any other ingredients you could possibly want + 1 hour = winning dish? I would probably be inclined to make something around scrambled eggs, but my dish would’ve been blown away by the others. Maybe this is a good weekend challenge for me.