Gordon Ramsay admits some Hell’s Kitchen chefs not cast for their talent

Gordon Ramsay has discussed what is obvious and not at all surprising to viewers of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen: the show is stocked with cannon fodder, contestants placed there just for their personalities, there to be torn to shreds by Ramsay.

In an Emmy magazine profile, Ramsay refers to “the muppets I have to work with. I mean, there’s 50 percent cast for character, and there’s 50 percent cast for talent. … When things go wrong, I go crazy. When things go right, I get really excited. I’m not going to change for anybody because so far it’s working.”

I haven’t watched Hell’s Kitchen in years, because I grew tired of seeing the exact same show season after season, but I think 50 percent is probably generous. I’d have guessed it was more like 85 percent character, 15 percent talent.

Later in the piece, he refers to a libel lawsuit over a claim made by a UK newspaper that producers were guilty of “planting a box of moldy strawberries into the fridge before I got there. It was such bullshit. We had to sue….It would be the end of me on television if I was ever that stupid to play those kind of games.”

He doesn’t talk about other kinds of games the Fox version of Kitchen Nightmares plays, like out-of-context editing and just being an altogether terrible show versus the original UK version.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.