Exclusive Interview: Julia Williams, from 'Hell's Kitchen'
Exclusive Interview: Julia Williams, from 'Hell's Kitchen'
Julia Williams came into this competition without any formal culinary training. But what she lacked in terms of training and experience, she made up for with her passion and natural talent. Unfortunately, her hopes of winning Hell’s Kitchen were cut short last week as Chef Ramsay was forced to send her home. Julia was kind enough to sit down with BuddyTV the other day to talk about her experience on the show and what she’s hoping to accomplish as a cook in the very near future.

Read the full interview transcript and listen to the mp3 audio below.

This is Royce from Buddy TV, and I’m here with Julia Williams from Hell’s Kitchen. How’s it going, Julia?

Going good.

Good, thank you for taking the time to talk to us.

Well, thank you for talking to me!

Definitely. So Julia, maybe you could start off by giving us a little bit of background about yourself, and how you found yourself on the show Hell’s Kitchen.

Well, I have been cooking ever since I can remember. I don’t have any formal culinary training, I worked at Waffle House for about the past nine years. That’s where I learned how to work under pressure, and just work with just about what we serve at Waffle House, which was just basic stuff like eggs and waffles. But I’ve always loved to cook, and I have a true passion for cooking. I was a big fan of Hell’s Kitchen last year, and I always wanted to go on, so when they came to Atlanta for a casting call, I just decided to try out for it.

What kind of expectations, if any, did you have going into the competition?

Going into the competition… my expectations, I think, were just about what everybody else’s were. I went in, I really wanted to win. As far as running a fine dining restaurant, I’ve always wanted my own restaurant but I’ve always wanted a barbecue restaurant, or a soul food, something along those lines. I just really knew that if I won, that would be a great start for my career. And being lucky enough to run one of these restaurants, and from then on branch out and do what I really want to do.

On Monday’s episode, you got a chance to cook for a group of “trendsetters,” which turned out to be a group of high school students. On that challenge you ended up winning 51% of the vote. Why do you think so many kids loved your cooking?

Because it was really, it was just like basic food. Although I didn’t know that I was cooking for kids, when I was a teenager and even today, that’s just the kind of stuff that people like to eat. So that’s why I really think they liked it, it was nothing really sophisticated. It was just grilled chicken and cheese sandwich and onion rings, but you know, that’s just stuff we like to eat, fattening stuff. Stuff that makes you fat.

Well, your reward was a nice, fun trip to Vegas with Ramsay and Jen. How was Vegas?

Vegas was very nice, it’s most definitely one of the funnest things I’ve ever done, once-in-a lifetime things. Even when I was there, it would feel all kinda…it happened so fast. It was so really fun!

Well, on Monday’s episode, when they came down to the end, Ramsay was put in a really tough position, having to choose between you and Rock. He prefaced his elimination by telling you how sorry he was to have to do this. What was going through your mind during this time period?

I guess a word that could sum it all up for me was kind of like, ‘devastation.’ Because I had made it so far, and though I got the chance to show the world what I could really do, I just felt like I had so much more in me to show. I just really felt like I was just cut short, I was pretty sad. Of course I snapped back into reality, but it was really sad for me.

Although you were sent home, Ramsay offers to send you to culinary school. How did that make you feel?

That made me feel really good. It just let me know that he’s seeing potential in me, and I’m just happy that somebody did actually see that I had potential. Especially after coming back home and watching the show, and seeing what everybody was, what they had to say. “She’s just a little walfle house cook,” and “fine dining this, and fine dining that.” I was really just happy that somebody’s actually saying that I actually did have a pretty good idea of what I’m doing.

Well, after coming home and being able to watch the episodes on TV, were there certain moments that you wished they showed about you on TV, that maybe they didn’t?

Thankfully, I got a lot of compliments from Chef Ramsay. They didn’t show them all, I’m happy that they showed the ones that they did show, but I’m also happy that there were times that I cried that they didn’t show. So that was good too, cuz I didn’t wanna be made out, you know, like, “Oh, she’s just a big cry baby.” Because that’s not the case at all! I’m just really passionate about what I do, just like Chef Ramsay, and I take my job very seriously. I don’t like messing up, I don’t like being embarrassed. I’m one of the kind of people who always want stuff to be right. When it’s not right, it just bothers me, sometimes maybe a little bit too much.

Well, it’s definitely sad to see you go, but what are your plans now Julia? What’s in store for you?

What’s in store for me is still continuing on my dream, trying to get my own restaurant. Right now, luckily, I’m running my own kitchen called Ocean 66 in College Park. So they go in there and create my own menu, and I just pay the guy that owns the club for the kitchen part. So I’m getting a lot of the experience I needed actually before I went on the show, so that’s been real fun, and its going okay. That’s what I’m doing right now, hopefully use that to be able to go on from there and get my own little place, and then a bigger place and a bigger place, I’m not going to give up on my ultimate goal, which is having my own restaurant, whether it be fine dining or barbecue or soul food. That’s what I want to do.

Any final words for the fans about your experience on the show in general?

Yeah, I know that I got a lot of fans cuz I’ve been reading on the internet too. I just want to thank everybody for their support for me, and continuing to support me and if ever in Atlanta, Georgia, come by my little restaurant and see me!

Awesome. Well, thanks again Julia for your time, and from all of us at Buddy TV certainly wish you the best of luck and continued success.!

(Interview conducted by Royce Yuen)