Exclusive Interview: Melissa Firpo, Hell's Kitchen 3
Exclusive Interview: Melissa Firpo, Hell's Kitchen 3
The writing was on the wall for Melissa Firpo.  She didn't want go home, didn't think she deserved to go home, but Gordon Ramsay had other ideas.  The Line Cook from New York (who ran her very own gourmet catering and deli service) has been in the culinary industry for over ten years, and her experience showed on Hell's Kitchen.  Melissa took some time out of her day this morning to speak with us about her time on the FOX reality show.

Below you will find both the written transcript and full mp3 audio of the interview. 

For anyone who doesn't know can you give us a little background  on your culinary history?

I've been doing this for 10 years, I owned my own gourmet catering and deli for about four and a half years, sold it, and I've worked in the restaurants from then on.

What made you want to be a contestant on Hell's Kitchen, had you been a fan of the show beforehand?

Actually, my mother's a big fan and I was applying on Craigslist for London/NYC, it was Gordon Ramsay's new restaurant in Manhattan at the time and right underneath it, it said apply to Hell's Kitchen.  So, I kind of was sending out mass resumes and I sent this one and never thought in a million years I would get picked.

When you got cast for the show and you came in for the first time and you saw the cast, what were your first impressions?  Did you think you had a pretty good chance to win it all?

When I first saw the cast I was, you know...you go through different steps to get cast for the show.  I was more on “Oh my god, that one made it and I remember that one.”  So, it was more like when we first arrived there, you didn't know what anybody was capable of or their background or what they did or anything.

Preparing to go and be under the tutelage of Gordon Ramsay, what were your expectations and how was the experience compared to what you had expected?

I think going there with Gordon Ramsay I was not really overwhelmed because I...this is what I do everyday, 6 days a week 130 hours a week.  So, that really didn't...with him yelling and getting the food out, at first that wasn't my worry.  My main worry was how it was going to be getting out food and doing service with all different people from all different backgrounds and all different restaurants, that was my first main concern.  Then when I got there and we started doing the show, it was definitely a little bit different than I had expected.

How would you say it was different?

It was different because I think, for me personally, when you take a whole bunch of people...well, the first thing actually that was really different for me that I hadn't expected is in the real world if a chef doesn't like the way you're cooking something, whether it's wrong or whatever is wrong with it, they'll come over and show you how they want it done, because it's food costs, you're wasting a ton of food, so they'll come over and show you exactly how they want it done and then they'll walk away and the good will get out.  So this wasn't the case here, the case here was if you didn't get the food out, shame on you.

What would you say you learned the most from Ramsay?

I think I learned that, I think the great experience of being on Hell's Kitchen and working with Ramsay, first it was an honor to talk to him and pick his brain, but what I did learn is what it's like to work with all different people with all different skills from all different places and I think that humbles you.

Looking back and watching the show from home, was there anything that was edited out of the show that you wish FOX had shown?

There's a ton edited out.

Like what?

I can't talk about it.

Alright.  Moving to last night, were you surprised at how all that played out and were you surprised to be eliminated? What would you have done differently if you had the chance?

I think I would, you know everybody, we're all tough contestants, we're all there, we all wanna win the prize.  I think I was...Gordon Ramsay said he'd give me one last chance, and I had a bad night, I had a bad night, everybody has bad nights, all 12 contestants will have bad nights. But, it's his decision.  It's just a matter of what he wants in his restaurant and he should have what he wants on his restaurant, I truly believe that.  So, what I would have done different is, I did the best I could, I did the best to my ability under the circumstances that we were all in, the sleep, stress, everybody looks at this as weeks, but for us it's days.  Really, I tried the hardest I possibly could and I really don't have regrets.

Alright.  Melissa, what does the future hold for you?

You know, I'm hoping this experience will open up the culinary world for me a little bit more, be it Food Network, cooking demos, just something, recipe books, just something out of the kitchen a little bit, I would love to happen.

Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl
(Image Courtesy of FOX)