Out of the three contestants remaining on last night’s episode of Hell’s Kitchen, Corey was the last one I expected to go home. While the Missouri native hadn’t won many challenges and had been up for elimination a few times, I thought she’d surely make it to the finals due to Christina’s inexperience and Petrozza’s messiness. However, her inability to successfully step up as a leader in the kitchen forced Gordon Ramsay to send her packing before the finals.
Today we had a chance to sit down with Corey to discuss the incident with the Beef Wellington sauce, her thoughts on what it takes to run a kitchen, and what it was like to work with Matt and Jen. Read on for the mp3 and complete transcript of the interview.
Hi, this is Don from BuddyTV, and today I’m talking to Corey from Hell’s Kitchen. I’m wondering what experience you had prior to going on the show and what made you decide to try out?
I was actually traveling in Asia last year before I got put on the show. I moved to Australia by myself, then I went from there to Thailand and Cambodia, and I ended up staying in Vietnam as a chef and worked there for about six months. About a week after I got back to the states I auditioned for the show and got put on it. I think my experience before that kind of set me apart from the rest of the contestants.
What was the toughest thing about being on the show for you? Was it dealing with Ramsay or was it living with the other contestants?
Yeah, it was definitely living with the other contestants, and having to see them every second of the day. The other part is you get no privacy. There was no time for you to just sit and read a book or unwind, it was just 24/7. They have you in the confessionals, then they have you in the kitchen, then they have you lining up for challenges. It’s just non-stop, so it definitely wears down your spirit and your soul a little bit.
When I was watching the show last night you were actually the last person I expected to get eliminated. Why do you think Ramsay chose you over Christina?
I think he was looking at the total package. I think Chef knows that I have the talent, but my heart might not have necessarily been in the right place as far as wanting to go after that and work for his restaurant for a year. He knew my experiences, he knew where I had worked at in the past, and I’m just not one to settle and stay in one place for awhile.
It was kind of interesting that neither you or Christina chose Petrozza for elimination, but you each chose each other. Why do you think that was?
She put me up because, like she said, she knows that I have more in me and it just wasn’t coming out, my potential for leading the team and stuff like that. I think we both put each other up for the right reasons.
During the recreate a dish challenge, you picked the wrong meat but got the sauce correct. Were the venison and buffalo pretty similar to each other?
No, they’re definitely different meats, different animals, but they do have a gamy taste, like a wild taste. I just wasn’t thinking about it. I went in there and I worried more about the other components of the dish, like the sauce. I knew that the sauce had something else in there, and I knew that the other two weren’t going to even come close to it. I got the wrong meat, but at least I had something else that the other contestants didn’t pick.
During the dinner service, you caught that the sauce for the Beef Wellington was wrong right after you poured it. What tipped you off to that? Was it the look, or did you taste it?
I tasted it with my finger, and then I just had a gut feeling. I looked at it, and I was like, oh sh*t, what did I just do? I did catch it, but obviously it’s too late. But yeah, I’d say it was the color and the taste.
Earlier in the competition you said that you were more interested in winning than making friends. Do you feel like you made any friends throughout the competition?
I definitely made friends, but when I got cast on the show it wasn’t like oh, I can’t wait to go meet new people. It was like I can’t wait to go have this experience, and if I meet some people along the way that’s awesome. I keep in touch with Louross, I talk to Christina on the computer a bit, but there’s no one on the show where I went in there like oh, that’s my new best friend. But I made a few new friends, and it was definitely a good experience.
Ramsay kind of criticized you for not being comfortable yelling and screaming while you were leading the kitchen. Do you think that’s necessary, or are there other ways to run a kitchen?
That’s a big reason that I hate working kitchens, is because I hate going into work scared and nervous. Especially most of the restaurants in New York, all the chefs are like that. You walk in and they just want you to be intimidated. Me yelling back at Chef Ramsay is not something I was comfortable with, and I should have thought about it like, okay, this is for Hell’s Kitchen, this is for the prize, but it’s just not something that I like. I really am sensitive to sound. Him screaming at me all the time on Hell’s Kitchen, that’s what you sign up for, so I was fine with that. But in my career and the future, do I want to work in the kitchen with someone like Chef Ramsay? Definitely not. If I were to run my own kitchen and own a restaurant, that’s not how I’m going to conduct myself. I have people that are in the kitchen who are like that, but that’s just not my style. That’s not something that I want to have around me in the future.
Out of all the challenges on the show, which did you think was the toughest and which did you like the best?
The one that I liked the best was the cooking school, where we had to teach the women. I used to work at a cooking school, and I just felt like I had a one up on everybody. The toughest one, probably the last one I guess, the one where we had to make the dish from scratch after eating with our families. Christina was so good, she stopped for a second and she was like alright, there’s something behind this challenge, but I didn’t. I sat with my mom, and I hadn’t seen her for about a year and a half until I saw her on the show, so when he said okay, now create this dish, I wasn’t even paying attention to it. I could go back in my mind and think about what I just ate, but when you’re surprised like that it was definitely a tough challenge.
You had a chance to work with both Jen and Matt on the women’s team, both of whom were criticized for not being team players. Did you feel that either of them fit in very well?
No, definitely not. Jen, the reason we wanted her off when she had a chance to go to the boys’ team was just because she was so fake as far as putting out that, “Oh yeah, let’s work together!” And you just can’t trust her. You don’t ever leave your stuff around her, you’re always watching her with one eye because that’s just the kind of person she was on the show. She’s just not trustworthy. Matt was another case where he was just a little bit loopy. He was a little crazy, and I didn’t feel safe around him. If I was in a corner with him by myself I always kind of backed up, because he was just a little kooky.
Now that you’re done with the show, what’s in the future for you?
My future, I’m just trying right now working as a freelance chef in the city, doing parties and stuff. I’m trying to save as much money as possible so that I can keep traveling and hopefully make something of that. No plans on really sticking around anywhere. I just got married, so my husband and I are trying to save some money and get things rolling. He’s from Colombia, so we’re going to go spend some time there and just keep seeing the world.
– Interview conducted by Don Williams
(Image courtesy of FOX)