Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen, and Gordon Ramsay

Earlier I posted that a chef that appeared on Kitchen Nightmares has committed suicide. This is the second time this has happened that a contestant that appeared on a Gordon Ramsay show has committed suicide. The first was Rachel Brown, who appeared on Hell’s Kitchen.

A lot of people are going to jump to the conclusion that this has something to do with Gordon Ramsay’s tactics on these shows. I think that’s completely false. The people who have been shown on Kitchen Nightmares have run restaurants that are failing. The emotional upheaval this must cause for people has to be tremendous. They’re at their wits end, and have asked for frank advice about how to turn things around. And frank advice is what Ramsay gives…both barrels, holding nothing back. Some of these restaurants have gone on to close, some of them remain open. Ramsay tries to help these people turn things around in a short time by trying to be brutally honest with them. It’s very sad that some people think the only way out of situations like this is to commit suicide.

Hell’s Kitchen…. Humpf. I do continue to watch this show, but I have to say, they take a very “American Idol First Few Weeks” approach to picking contestants. Some of the contestants are genuinely good. Some of them are NOT good AT ALL. The last few seasons it seems as though they’ve been picking people that have not been prepared to deal with the sort of stress and anxiety that show causes. Some of these people are completely delusional about their abilities, and I find it extremely difficult to believe that Ramsay considers them to be in the running for the restaurant prize, at all.

There are many, many cooking competitions on TV: “The Next Iron Chef”, “Top Chef”, Ramsay even just finished a third: “Master Chef”.

If they’re truly looking for a person to run a restaurant, why not get chefs of the quality they get on Top Chef? It’s all about the train wreck, that’s why. This must leave some of the contestants, who never, ever had a chance, despite getting on the show, emotionally devastated.

I will say that I have no idea what the circumstances were around Rachel Brown’s death, and I’m not blaming the show. She made it through five shows, which is a lot better than most. The problem that got her voted off was that she just had a bad dinner service.

I really do think though, that particularly for shows like “Hell’s Kitchen”, it would be a lot better for everyone, all the way around, if they had contestants that did stand a chance to win everything from the get go.