‘Hell’s Kitchen’ was a creation of English chef Gordon Ramsay who was renowned for the quality of his food, his obsession with detail and his ferocious temper. A former professional soccer player who had become a culinary star in London, Ramsay brought a fiery demeanor to this competition among prospective chefs. Although he could give compliments for a job well done, most of the time he was extremely critical, demanding and even abusive, spitting out food, throwing dishes into the trash and yelling at contestants (“That was pathetic!”, “It looks like a dehydrated camel’s turd!”). Whenever any of the participants failed to meet his standards in the kitchen and they did often, Ramsey’s wrath made Donald Trump’s tirades on ‘The Apprentice’ look tame by comparison.
Hells Kitchen – U.K. (2004 – 2009)
Series 1 (2004) - Host: Angus Deayton
• Jennifer Ellison (winner) and James Dreyfus (runner up)
• Eliminated - Matt Goss, Edwina Currie, Al Murray, Abi Titmuss and Belinda Carlisle
• Quit - Amanda Barrie, Tommy Vance, Dwain Chambers and Roger Cook
Series 2 (2005) - Host: Angus Deayton
Celebrity chefs Gary Rhodes and Jean-Christophe Novelli each had a team with the members competing for a prize of ₤250,000. There were a total of 10 contestants.
Chef Jean- Christophe Novelli’s team consisted of: Henry Filloux-Bennett, Aby King, Gary Tomlin, Kellie Cresswell and Stien Smart
Chef Gary Rhodes’s team consisted of: Terry Miller (winner), Simon Gross, Aaron Siwoku, Caroline Garvey and Sam Raplin
Series 3 (2007) - Host: Angus Deayton
After a break the show came back with the following celebrities:
• Barry McGuigan (winner - former boxer), Adele Silva (runner-up), Brian Dowling, Paul Young, Anneka Rice, Abigail Clancy, Jim Davidson (removed due to homophobic behavior), Kelly LeBrock, Rosie Boycott and Lee Ryan who quit.
Series 4 (2009) - Host: Claudia Winkleman
The celebrity chef format continued in series 4 with head chef / teacher Marco Pierre White overseeing one kitchen with 8 contestants:
• Linda Evans, Adriane Edmondson, Danielle Lineker (neé Bux), Niomi McLean-Daley “Ms. Dynamite”, Anthea Turner, Bruce Grobbelaar (quit on day 10), Grant Bovey and Jody Latham.
Head Chef Marco chose the first 4 contestants to leave the show and the public voted for the 4 remaining contests with Linda Evans being declared the winner and Adrian Edmondson the runner-up.
Hells’ Kitchen – U.S. (2005 – 2009)
Host: Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay / Narrator: Jason Thompson
‘Hell’s Kitchen’ was taped in Los Angeles where the 12 aspiring chefs, with varying amounts of professional cooking experience, attempted to impress Ramsay and win the opportunity to run their own restaurant. Many of them had egos and tempers too and they were very critical of one another. Each episode centered around a challenge – preparing a five-course meal, making and serving a completely Italian-themed meal, creating their own menu to impress Ramsay with their personal signature dishes, etc. At the end of each episode one of the more successful hopefuls nominated two of the others for elimination and Ramsay made the final choice. When it got down to the two finalists the challenge was to design everything from the menu to the décor as if it was their own restaurant.
Jean-Phillipe who was the maître d' for the first UK series of Hell's Kitchen took on the position of maître d’ for the U. S. version. Two teams competed against each other with eliminations taking place at the end of each show. When half the contestants were eliminated one team was formed and each member competed individually.
• Michael Wray (2005) - A 27-year-old executive chef at Tatou in Los Angeles, California who was from Fort Collins, Colorado. At first he accepted Ramsay’s offer to work at his world-famous London restaurant, but his new wife didn’t want to move to England so he changed his mind, stayed at home and started a knife company instead.
• Heather West (2006) - A 25-year-old sous chef from Port Jefferson, New York. The prize was the position of executive chef at the brand-new Red Rock Casino Resort Spa in Las Vegas, along with an undisclosed amount of cash. She became the sous chef for Hell's Kitchen for the start of season 6.
• Rahman “Rock” Harper (2007) - Head chef of Green Valley Ranch's Terra Verde; served as the executive chef at Ben's Next Door in Washington D.C. in early 2009.
• Christina Machamer (2008) - Senior sous chef under Gordon Ramsay at the London, West Hollywood, California with a $250,000 salary.
• Danny Veltri (2009) - Chef at the Italian restaurant Fornelletto in the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey with a $250,000 prize.
• Dave Levey (2009) – Won the position of Head Chef under Executive Chef James Walt at the Araxi Restaurant in Whistler, B. C.
The show was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards in Outstanding Art Direction for the Variety, Music or Nonfiction Programming category in 2007 and 2008. It has also been nominated for two Art Directors Guild Awards in the Television - Awards Show, Variety, Music or Non-Fiction Program category in 2007 and again in 2008 where they won the award. It was also nominated for a Teen Choice Award for Choice Summer Series.
Trivia: The living quarters for the contestants were built on behind the restaurant.