I recently started watching Season 10 of Hell's Kitchen on Hulu. I actually love watching cooking shows and competitions and, I'm a little ashamed to admit, I really like this show. Why am I ashamed? Well, because it's crass.
The basic premise of this reality show is that a group of chefs compete to become the head chef at an exclusive restaurant. This season, it's the Borgata. They go through grueling tests of their cooking skills and endurance.
Except most of the time the real test is how much bullshit they can take from Chef Gordon Ramsey.
(The hubby and I laugh because our joke is that if you want to add legitimacy/an air of seriousness to any reality tv show, all you have to do is add a Brit! The accents are killer and Ramsey's is no exception.)
Anyway, Chef Ramsey spends most of his time hollering at the contestants. I mean, really hollering. He screams constantly and hurls insults every 15 seconds. He calls folks all kinds of names like "Fat Cow" and "Stupid Bitch" literally in their face while spitting and frothing at the mouth. And the contestants just have to take it.
What's even more hilarious (and ridiculous) to me is that he's doing all this while the chefs are trying to cook. Of course, this frazzles the chefs and makes them lose focus. Then he yells some more at them for being frazzled and losing focus. Often he asks, "What are you doing?" And the chefs respond, "I don't know Chef!" Which sends him kicking and screaming and spitting and telling them to "Piss off". Most of the chefs are novices--far from professionals. But even the most professional and experienced chefs probably wouldn't be able to perform with this dude yelling constantly at them in this extremely distracting and disconcerting way. But what's very interesting is that many of the contestants say that they are learning a lot on the show and I'm curious as to what they possibly could be learning while constantly being yelled at and insulted. Ramsey doesn't seem to teach anything to them (except maybe once or twice) and basically spends most of the time telling them how awful they're doing or complaining about how they are trying to make him look "styoopid". I mean, he's rude for the sake of being rude and that is probably what pulls in the ratings. People like to see him just acting totally inappropriately.
Still, I like the show. I like how the chefs handle having to work on teams but knowing that there will only be one winner. I love trying to figure out who Ramsey will kick off the show. I like the tenacity of the chefs. I love the creativity of the dishes (when they are allowed to make their own dishes). I like the drive I see. I love the cooking.
There's a look-alike show that comes on NBC I think. The host is supposed to be a kinder, gentler sort of fellow (complete with a British accent). Maybe I'll see how that one goes.