hk_01-stairs-outside_0025.rc.jpgToday’s cuppa: cappuccino

Here’s the text of a little story I did on the loudest cooking show on the air.

And BTW, I was actually in Chef Ramsay’s TV restaurant during taping of this particular season — click here for the report on that.

Bon appetit!

Airing
Tuesdays on Fox this summer, the seventh season of the competitive reality show
“Hell’s Kitchen” once again features U.K. chef Gordon Ramsay putting a
bunch of culinary competitors through their paces, with the goal of allowing
one to run a restaurant of Ramsay’s choice.

 

For the
producers of the show, the challenge is to take the same bunch of ingredients –
contestants, Ramsay, kitchen, restaurant, challenges, dinner service and lots
of yelling – and switch up the recipe to give viewers something new.

 

This
season, the added spice is added yelling, this time not just one way from
Ramsay to his teams of hopefuls.

 

“Because of
past seasons,” says executive producer Kent Weed, “they were a little bit more
confrontational with Chef Ramsay. They were a little more fearless, willing to
step up to him. That’s probably the biggest thing that stands out – the chefs.”

 

Of course,
assertiveness can get a contestant in trouble, as fans learned when contestant
Andrew decided he’d had enough of being dressed down by Ramsay, first talking
back to him and then quitting altogether in episode two.

 

Told by
another contestant that many people would be happy to be in his shoes, Andrew
ditched those as well.

 

“You can’t
write that kind of stuff,” Weed says. “These guys were just very ballsy. They
weren’t going to take it. They were going to do it under their own rules – or
they thought they were, until they got a dose of Chef Ramsay.”

 

One big
challenge of reality shows is that as seasons go on, contestants who’ve seen
earlier episodes think they have a leg up on previous competitors.

 

“It never
ceases to amaze us,” Weed says. “When we do casting, people come up, and they
have so much self-confidence, and they really think they’re going to do so much
better than all the other morons that have been on before.

 

“Then they
get into the kitchen and go, ‘Oh, my God, it’s more difficult than I ever
imagined. I didn’t expect this.’ “

 

The
producers are also continually surprised when their early handicapping goes
awry.

 

“When Scott
lef
t, in episode five or six, redhead Scott … we thought he was going to be a
barnburner,” Weed says. “We thought he was going to blow the walls off, and he
just fell apart. He never delivered.

 

“We never
lack for surprise, who does well and who doesn’t. We can’t predict it.”

 

One thing
missing in season seven was the traditional beef Wellington, replaced with lamb
Wellington. But
this fall, “Hell’s Kitchen” goes back to its pastry-wrapped roots.

 

“We brought
beef Wellington back for season eight,” Weed says. “It was a favorite, so we
had to bring it back. Look for it when the show debuts on Sept. 22.”

 

Weed says
there are more changes to come this fall, with a new kitchen, new dining room
and much tougher challenges. Also, “Hell’s Kitchen” is tossing a little more
star power into the pot.

 

“‘Hell’s
Kitchen’ has also become a very popular place for people to go to,” Weed says.
“You (see) it a little bit in season seven, with celebrities showing up. (In
season eight), it’s celebrities every night. It’s a who’s who every night.
There are always celebrities in the restaurant.”

Posted by:Kate O'Hare