Exclusive Interview: Dominic of 'Hell's Kitchen'
Exclusive Interview: Dominic of 'Hell's Kitchen'
It can't be easy to be the first person booted from a reality show, but when chef Gordon Ramsay took away Dominic's jacket at the end of last night's Hell's Kitchen, the stay-at-home dad handled his exit with class.  I fully expected Bobby to get sent home for his poor leadership skills and brash attitude, but Ramsay made the surprising choice to give him another shot.  Instead, Dominic had to go back home to his wife and children a bit earlier than expected.

We had the chance to sit down with Dominic today to talk about Ramsay's disguise, the stress level in the kitchen, and what happened with all those trashed scallops.  Read on for the mp3 and complete transcript of the interview.

Hi, this is Don from BuddyTV, and today I'm talking to Dominic from Hell's Kitchen.  To start us off, I was wondering if you could give us some of your background in cooking and explain how you got on the show.

Okay.  My background goes back a decade ago.  Back in 1996, I graduated from the Florida Culinary Institute, top of my class, and went right to work in the banquet kitchens at PGA National Spas and Resorts in Palm Beach County.  I was doing quite a bit of work with top-notch sports figures and big parties, and I did it for about a year and three months, and my wife got a job opportunity to move to South Carolina.  I made the decision that I would stop, move up to South Carolina, and we got pregnant with our first child.  I said, "You know what, I'm going to put my career on hold.  I'll stay home.  You've got a great job and good insurance." And I started raising kids ten years ago.

What made you decide to try out for Hell's Kitchen?

Trying out for Hell's Kitchen wasn't my idea.  Honestly enough, I've never seen the show.  I had a couple friends saying, "Did you know they're coming with casting calls for that TV show Hell's Kitchen in Charlotte?" And I said, "No, I didn't hear about it."  They said, "Yeah, yeah.  You oughta get on there.  You've got a great personality, you cook great."  And I'm like oh, okay.  My wife printed out an application for me, I filled it out, and it came the day of casting call, it was 4:30, and I was just getting home from dance class for my middle daughter, Sophia.  I got home, and casting call closed at 6:00 that day.  I said to myself, I don't think I want to run three kids up to Charlotte, sit in line for the casting call, and I'd made up my mind that I just wasn't going to do it.  Well, my wife walks in the door within three minutes after I got home making up my mind that I wasn't going, and says, "Get in the car, grab that application, I'm driving the family up, you are going."  Just like that, with that little push, the process started and the ball started rolling.

What was your reaction when you got off the bus and you found out that Chef Ramsay had been on the bus with you guys the entire time?

I think I reacted probably like everyone else: I do not believe this.  When you heard him doing his imitation, I'm like wow, this guy must have watched a lot of the shows, because he sounded just like him.  Then all of a sudden to find out it was really him?  Luckily, when I was on the bus I didn't say anything that I'd regret, so I had to laugh at some of the things I heard being said.

When you were eliminated, Chef Ramsay said that he felt you didn't have enough creativity in the kitchen. Do you think that was fair or do you think you should have had more time to prove yourself?

I don't know if he didn't think my creativity was there, because my signature dish really was well seasoned, it was put together nicely, and obviously he didn't get sick by it.  He didn't end up throwing it in the trash like several others before me.  I think what he said was, I could have done a lot better.  And yes, I agree, I could have done a lot better.  I was still getting acclimated to being in the kitchen environment after being out for over a decade.  My timing was a little off on my dishes.  A couple times I made some scallops that were overcooked that he wasn't happy with, and other times I made perfect scallops, but the other dishes weren't timed properly, so they got thrown back in the trash.  If I had made it through that first night, who knows how far I could have gone.

I was going to ask about those scallops.  There was something like 35 of them that you went through?

Obviously Chef was keeping an eye on me, because he counted 25, and I said, "No, actually there were 30, Chef."  I was keeping track of them too.  You have to figure you're putting five scallops on a plate, and the plates get turned back either for one reason or another.  Either they were overcooked, or they were cooked perfectly and other dishes weren't timed to go out.  The dishes just didn't go out.

On television, the kitchen looks like it's pretty volatile and tense.  Is it as bad as it looks on TV, or is it a little less stressful?

The kitchen environment in Hell's Kitchen is just that.  What a baptism by fire for me.  I was thrown into Hell.  I have it rough having three kids, ages 10 to four, hollering at me that they didn't like what I cooked tonight, or "I'm not eating that!  That's too spicy!"  It was nothing compared to what Chef Ramsay puts you through.

- Interview conducted by Don Williams
(Image courtesy of FOX)