Gordon Ramsay has a tip for anyone hoping to survive in “Hell’s Kitchen”: keep it simple.
“If someone just served me a nice New York strip with braised collard greens and the most amazing potatoes, I would be like a pig in sh*t,” he says. “(Most chefs) over-complicate it because they get too worked up. They get over-ambitious. They tell themselves that the more you fiddle and piss around with food, the better the customer’s experience. And we know that is wrong.”
Ramsay is back on the hunt for America’s next culinary hero when Season 9 of his hit Fox series kicks off July 18. But before the first dinner service even begins one contestant ends up being rushed to the hospital, he teases.
Preview Season 9:
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The 18 hopefuls are put through a series of tasks which this season include creating recipes using different varieties of beer and preparing a “mommy and me” meal for a group of parents and pre-schoolers.
The winner will be awarded a one year position as “head chef” at Manhattan’s BLT Steak – a prize which has recently been questioned in the New York media.
“This season, the chefs have over-studied the tapes,” Ramsay told reporters in a conference call Friday, adding that Pittsburgh line cook Elise Wims is one contestant to keep a close eye on: “She is a unique, rare chef. Watch out for her. You are not going to tire of hearing her name. Her confidence is extraordinary. And I can say she can back it up with the talent.”
THREE QUESTIONS FOR GORDON RAMSAY
1. What is the one meal you would love a chef to cook for you?
I am a big lover of fish. Cooking fish is so much more difficult than cooking protein meats. Because there is no temperatures: medium rare, well done… So I am always putting the chefs to the test. Cook me some fish, please.
2. Is it difficult for you to dine out now?
I love eating out. I don’t deny that. But I don’t want 12 or 15 courses because the chef wants me to taste this or taste that. I just want to sit and indulge. I want the light to be low. I want the server to be attentive. I don’t want a 15 minute dialogue of the days specials. I always say to the chef, “Stop promoting the specials because your menu should be special.”
3. What is the biggest mistake that some of these chefs make on the show?
They take it for granted. They don’t listen to one another. They have to get a strategy in terms of being a good team player. While I want them to shine as individuals, shining as a team and being a great leader is far more important. I like that inner calmness in individuals that can, I suppose, motivate a team. And when the chips are down, never, never start blaming. When chefs start pointing fingers, it is always the beginning of the end for me.