Exclusive Interview: Shayna of 'Hell's Kitchen'
Exclusive Interview: Shayna of 'Hell's Kitchen'
Last night's episode of Hell's Kitchen featured an elimination that I never saw coming.  Despite the fact that Rosann and Matt failed miserably during the dinner service, Chef Gordon Ramsay decided that Shayna should go home.  He felt that the caterer's heart simply wasn't in the competition, and he was also concerned with how slowly she moved in the kitchen.  These things hardly seemed worthy of elimination, but on Hell's Kitchen, Ramsay is the boss.

Today we had the opportunity to sit down with Shayna to discuss her future plans, Matt's chances on the women's team, and why some of her competitors may regret their nasty on-air attitudes.

Hi, this is Don from BuddyTV, and today I'm talking to Shayna from Hell's Kitchen.  What experience did you have prior to going on the show, and what made you want to try out for Hell's Kitchen?

Well, I graduated from Buffalo State College with a hospitality in Food and Beverage Administration, and I have been running a catering business since 2003.  More than that, I've basically been working in restaurants since I was 16 and got my working papers.  What made me want to be on Hell's Kitchen?  Well, the first episode of the first season.  That's basically it.  I've always kind of had an affection and a respect for Gordon Ramsay, and the work that he had done that I had seen on the BBC up until that point.  Seeing him now on American TV, I was just enthralled, so I started to see what I could do to get on the show.  The third season was casting, I was really pursuing it, and I found out I was pregnant, so I put everything on pause. Then I got involved again trying to get on the fourth season, and I say if you want some badly enough you get it.

On television, the atmosphere in the kitchen looks pretty insane.  Is it as bad as it looks in there?

I think it's a very accurate description of what's going on at the moment.  What it should be is controlled chaos.  Sometimes it got out of control.

I was personally pretty shocked that you got eliminated.

Me too!

I thought Rosann was doomed after Ramsay had to take over the meat station.

I know, I know.

Did you think it was fair that you got eliminated that night?

No, I don't really think it was fair that I got eliminated.  I think, given the other two people that were standing up there with me, I had never had a very bad dinner service.  In fact, up until that night I think the only comment that Chef had ever made to me during my dinner service was that my Lamb Wellington was undercooked, and then the second time I brought it up to him he said it was beautifully done.  Even when he did have something to say to me last night, it certainly wasn't a full on attack.  So, you know, considering that I was up against those two -- Matt constantly had food being sent back, and Rosann, for three services in a row, was getting yelled at -- I was shocked.  I really was shocked, but maybe at the end of the day chef thought I needed to be home with my newborn.

Do you think that was the reasoning behind it, or did he just feel that you were too slow?

Quite possibly.  I will admit that I am slower at prep than all the other contestants that were there, but I was brought up in a more relaxed working environment.  I'm a happy hippie, and that kind of permeates all aspects of my life.  When I do a job for my catering business, I know how long it's going to take me to get it done and I plan accordingly.  But my services and my food quality, he didn't have anything negative to say.

It seemed like on the show we didn't get to know you as well as the other contestants.  Was there anything edited out that you thought should have been in there?

Well, I'm a fantastic singer, and they didn't really show that I sang all the time.  They didn't really show a lot of that.  But more than that, I think the reason that I really wasn't in the spotlight is because I'm not a person who creates drama.  In my everyday life, I do unto others as I would have them do to me.  That's not to say that if somebody starts the drama with me that I won't finish it, but I don't actively seek it out.  When you do a show like this, the truth is that it can be edited in any way that the person in charge sees fit, but my goal going in there was to stay true to myself, to keep my nose to the grindstone, and to do the work that was asked of me and to do it well.  I feel that I succeeded in all of those things.  There was a lot of pressure to be backstabbing, there was a lot of pressure to be conniving and underhanded, and I never succumbed to that.  The truth is, while you're there, it's a nanosecond of your entire life, and you still have to live with who you are.  What you're doing there is going to be portrayed in a national arena, so somebody like Corey will now have to go through the rest of her life with people spotting her and saying, "What a bitch."  Somebody like Jason will now have to go through the rest of his life with people spotting him and saying, "What a sexist pig."  When people see me they're gonna say, "Good cook, maybe a little slow at prep, but she maintained her dignity and carried herself very well."

What was the atmosphere like living with the girls?  Was there a lot of drama in the loft?

There really wasn't. I have to say, the camaraderie on the girls' team was very refreshing.  The guys could not get it together though.  They were constantly bickering.  Whatever problems the girls had when it came to eliminations or when it came to personalities, that always got pushed aside during challenges and service.  The same cannot be said for the guys.

From what you know of Matt and from what you know of the women's team, how do you think he'll do when he works with them next week?

I think maybe he'll do a bit better.  He did have a problem asserting himself with all the guys, so maybe he'll find it a little easier to find his voice with the ladies.  I'm not really sure, but I do know that with these ladies, any missteps and they'll chew him up and spit him out.

Out of the other contestants that you've worked with, is there anyone in particular who you think might make it to the finals?

I don't know who might make it, but I would love to see Bobby go.  He's from my hometown, and I'd like to see at least one of us do great.

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

Well, I'm going to continue to run my catering business, and on May 20 I'm opening the doors to my cafe, which is in an amazing art gallery in a very happening area of Buffalo.  I'll be doing brunches, lunches, dinners there, as well as my catering business.  Just kind of living, working, and maybe having another child down the road.

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