Exclusive Interview: Ben of 'Hell's Kitchen'
Exclusive Interview: Ben of 'Hell's Kitchen'
According to Chef Gordon Ramsay, the rivalry between Matt and Ben is the sort of thing that legends are made of.  The two Hell's Kitchen contestants repeatedly butted heads during the competition, and as the show went on it became a race to see which of them would be sent packing first.  Though things were looking rather dire for Matt in last week's episode, he actually stepped up his game last night, presenting Ramsay with a risotto that was one of the best he had tasted.  Ben, however, didn't fare so well.  Ramsay finally sent the chef home after he struggled on the meat station all evening, leaving Matt to smirk with delight.

Today we had a chance to sit down with Ben to discuss the rivalry with his fellow chef, what it was like to work with Ramsay, and who deserves to win the competition.  Read on for the mp3 and complete transcript of the interview.

Hi, this is Don from BuddyTV, and today I'm talking to Ben from Hell's Kitchen.  I was wondering what experience you had prior to going on the show, and what made you decide to try out for Hell's Kitchen?

I had been an executive chef for six or seven years before trying out.  Then I got married, had a couple kids, and the hours in a restaurant just weren't working for the family life, so I had to get out.  My dad owns an electrical contracting company, so I got into the family business.  So here I am.  Trying out for Hell's Kitchen, basically I got dared.  Everybody I'm working with said, "Oh Ben, you used to be a chef, now you're doing this.  You probably want to go try out for it."  So I went to the tryouts, and three weeks later I was sitting in L.A.

Was it tough to adjust to the atmosphere in there after being out of the kitchen for a couple of years?

No.  It's like one of those things, once you're back in it you never forget how to cook.  I always cook at the house, cook at nights, cook lunch and stuff like that.  Cooking at the house, you never lose your skill.  Plus I've been to culinary school, so I've had some pretty intense training.  It's something that you never forget.

Would you say that the atmosphere in Hell's Kitchen is crazier than it is at your past restaurants?

You know, I can't say that, because I've worked with some pretty hard-ass chefs when I was younger.  Ones that would scream at you.  Gordon is a little more intense than that, but I have had the screaming chef that will cuss you out, and will send you kicking cans at the end of the night.

It seemed like on the show that Ramsay had it out for you for at least a couple of weeks now.  Did you think it was fair that you went home last night?

I personally don't think it's fair, just for the mere fact that Matty has made an absolute ass of himself the entire show, and has done numerous things wrong.  I slip up one good time, and boom, I'm gone.  Rosann screwed up, everybody has screwed up on more than one occasion, and is still on.  So yeah, I guess he had it out for me.  Maybe he just didn't like my personality, but I didn't like his, so maybe we just butted heads.

As far as Matt's performance last night, do you think he just got lucky on the women's team, or do you think that the men were actually bringing him down a little bit?

No.  I think that when they edited it they made him look better than he really is, to be perfectly honest with you.  You really have to be there on the set to see what a tool this guy is.

About your rivalry with Matt, did you guys really not get along as much as it seemed, or did they play that up a bit in the editing?

Oh no, we didn't get along, hands down.  They didn't really edit that too much.  We did not get along at all. Matt didn't get along with anybody, and you can see that every week.  Nobody likes him, nobody wants him on his team.  He's a loner, he's an outcast, he's an idiot.

Which challenge on the show did you think was the toughest, and which did you think you did the best at?

I'd say the taste challenge was probably the toughest, and I did good at that, I didn't miss anything.  The fish portioning thing wasn't all that tough, so I'd probably say the taste challenge.

Out of the other contestants that you worked with, who do you think has what it takes to make it to the end of the show?

My boy Bobby.

Now that you're done with the show, what's in the future for you?

Future for me, I'm gonna keep kicking it with the electrical thing.  I've had some offers to open up restaurants, and to go work with some other people as an executive chef again, but I really don't know if that's the route my life wants to take me.  If something were to come along in the entertainment industry aspect of it, TV-wise, TV personality, something of that nature, then that's the route that I would go.  But just going and running Joe Schmo's restaurant for him, I don't think I'm gonna do it.

Do you think you would have enjoyed it if you had won and had a chance to be Ramsay's executive chef?  Or do you think you would have butted heads with him?

I think I would have enjoyed the money. That's all I'm gonna say.

- Interview conducted by Don Williams

(Image courtesy of FOX)