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Why Hell’s Kitchen winners don’t become executive chefs in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants

Why Hell’s Kitchen winners don’t become executive chefs in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants
Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen is the only prime-time reality series Fox will in the fall 2016. (Photo by Tyler Golden/FOX)

Reality TV competitions have a long history of not actually awarding their announced prize to the winner.

The reasons vary from post-show taxes (no Survivor winner ends up being a millionaire, unless they don’t pay their taxes) to misleading promises qualified by fine print (America’s Got Talent gives its $1 million over 40 years).

For The Daily Beast, I examined what 20 reality shows actually give as their prizes versus what they say they’ll give.

Some offer what they say they will. Others don’t. Some, like The Bachelor, thrive even though their prize is a joke.

Gordon Ramsay: why Hell’s Kitchen winners don’t become executive chefs

Hell's Kitchen Gordon Ramsay yelling
Gordon Ramsay yells, as usual, during an episode of Hell’s KItchen. (Photo by Greg Gayne/FOX)

Hell’s Kitchen has a history of failing to give out is prizes and, for the story, I asked Gordon Ramsay a few questions via e-mail (through Fox) including whether or not his expectations for the chefs change when he’s hiring someone to work in one of his own restaurants; this season, the winner will get a job at his Savoy Grill in London.

“No of course not, my reputation is on the line when choosing a Hell’s Kitchen winner, so either way they need to be bloody good,” Ramsay said.

Ramsay told me that this season’s “winner will be in the kitchen during its opening months working alongside Head Chef Andy Cook,” and said that having the winner be mentored—i.e. not automatically elevated to executive chef—is to be expected.

“[Y]ou can’t take someone and put them in an unfamiliar restaurant and expect them to exceed [sic], they need to have a mentor and work alongside an executive chef. The executive chefs at our prize restaurants are always amazing and the winner has an amazing opportunity to learn from the best,” he wrote.

Reality TV Prizes [The Daily Beast]

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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