John Walker's Electronic House

Hell’s Back!

by on Apr.02, 2008, under Television

There’s often discussion over which is the better show out of Bravo’s Top Chef, and Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen.

The former takes respectable chefs and puts them through some peculiarly low, er, fashion (to compare with Project Runway) tasks in a friendly environment. Then there’s Hell’s Kitchen’s collection of novelty humans, taking part in enormously complex challenges in the most hostile environment imaginable.

But there’s a simple way to separate the two, and that’s to describe how the fourth season of Hell’s Kitchen began last night:

We get a resume of the previous three seasons, the regular voice-over guy narrating the events as if in a horror movie. This finishes with Ramsey standing in the kitchen, lit in purples and reds, a skull flickering on and off his face, and the voiceover booms,


Right, that’s all you need really. But it gets better. The contestents gather and get onto a bus. Joining them, in prosthetic make up, is Ramsey pretending to be a contestant. Why? Because it will frighten them more when they find out.

Top Chef is obviously a nicer show, but you couldn’t trust the winner with a significant restaurant. They learn very little, and there’s rarely a sense of progress. The ones who are good at the start are good at the end. So it’s not surprising that the prizes don’t take any risks – some money, a stall at a show, etc. For the new Hell’s Kitchen the winner will be executive chef at Ramsey’s new “London” in LA. That’s a giant risk, especially with Ramsey’s restaurants having so many problems at the moment. So this will be a process of breaking them down, cracking those that will crack, and building up any who prove strong enough. The difference by the end is remarkable.

Anyway, I only brought you here today to say: He wore prosthetic make up, and they said, “AND THE DARK LORD REIGNS AGAIN”.

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