If there’s one positive thing you can say about Lacey D’Angelo this season on Hell’s Kitchen, it’s that she certainly got our attention. Unfortunately for her–it hasn’t been the most positive impression. From the beginning, Lacey was admittedly in way over her head, and her competitors had little to no sympathy for the 24-year-old corporate buffet cook from Charlotte, NC. But despite being quick to anger and frustration as she struggled to keep her head above water, D’Angelo was still able to stick around for eight dinner services with Chef Gordon Ramsay. Most viewers were relieved to see her go, but there’s one thing for sure: she kept things interesting.

Exclusive Interview: Lacey D'Angelo of 'Hell's Kitchen'

I had a chance to talk to Lacey about her controversial role on Hell’s Kitchen this season, what it’s like to see herself through the harsh lense of reality TV, and how she handles all the criticism coming her way.

Read on for the full transcript.

This is Meghan with BuddyTV, and I’m on the line with Lacey from Hell’s Kitchen. How’s it going today?

Oh, it’s good. How are you?

I’m doing well. So, you were clearly made out as a sort of villain this season on Hell’s Kitchen. I’m just wondering about your perspective about the way you were portrayed on air.

Like I said before, there is always that one person that everybody hates. You know, if nothing else, I can say that I’m definitely the most talked about person on this season. You know, that’s fine. You that old saying, “all press is good press,” kind of thing. It doesn’t really bother me. The way I was shown on TV, I did whine and complain a lot. Everyone always asks me, well, they ask other people, “Is she really that whiny?” But at the end of the day, it’s a TV show. So you can either take it for what it’s worth, or you can act like you know me. And none of the other contestants really knew me. And when you’re in that situation, the pressure’s there, it’s competitive, people were ruthless. So, if I was a villain, then I was a villain, and at least people will remember me. Because some of the other contestants, I think, are kind of forgettable. So, if nothing else, I can definitely say that I will be remembered.

Have you ever gotten recognized? Have there been any surprising reactions from people?

You know, actually today, I must have gotten recognized like four times. I don’t know if it’s the hometown girl thing, but everyone that I’ve talked to in person has been really cool, and I’ve gotten a lot of messages on Facebook, and they were like, “Oh, we were rooting for you. You’re hilarious. We loved watching you.” So I actually didn’t expect to get that much of a positive response, which is really nice. Now, there’s been a couple hate emails I’ve gotten, and you know, if you go online and you Google me, it’s all “We hate Lacey, We hate Lacey.” But the local response has been really cool.

So, what is it like to see yourself on TV that way? Does it bring to light anything you didn’t know about yourself?

You know, I realized how much I do complain. But in a normal, everyday situation, it’s not like that. I think I even said on one of the shows, “This isn’t me.” I think the competition definitely brings out things in people, and unfortunately, it brought out the ruthlessness in everybody else, which just wore me down. But you know, you watch it on TV, I know it’s a TV show, so I’m not worried about it. If I really cared what people thought about me, I wouldn’t have done it in the first place. Because you go into it, and you know that whether they edit you to look a certain way or not, you know that at the end of the day, you know who you are. It doesn’t bother me. A lot of people ask me if it does, but it doesn’t.

Well, it definitely wasn’t an everyday-type situation. What was your cooking background before coming onto the show? Why did you even want to go onto it?

I had been to culinary school, and I had a job doing corporate dining. It’s one of those things where we had casting in Charlotte, and I was like, “Ehh, what the hell?” It’s one of those things where you don’t think if they’re actually going to call you back, and they kept calling back, and I was like, “Oh! OK!’ And they were like, “Well, we want you on the show,” and I was like, “I might be in a little over my head here but it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the way it ended up, I don’t have any regrets and I’m really glad that I did it. Because, I mean, how many people can say that they’ve had that experience, to actually be there in front of this world renowned chef. Even if I didn’t do so well, I still appreciated the opportunity.

You seemed almost inconsistent in the sense that sometimes Ramsay would come down on you so hard, or your other teammates would, but then sometimes, you’d be in dinner service, and it seemed like you were doing perfectly fine. Do you think that it was kind of an attitude thing that was the biggest problem for you, or was it an actual experience issue?

I think, given different circumstances, I could have done really well, and the fact that I learn fairly well and fairly quickly. I think if my teammates were more willing to help rather than just kind of let me do my own thing that I would have done a little better. Very quickly after I got there, I realized that this is going to be tough. Am I really going to win? These chefs are really good. But as far as the experience versus the attitude, I think my attitude was my downfall. I was very negative about it, just because I had 15 other people harping on me all day long about, “Why are you here? You don’t have the experience. You’ve never worked on a line.” I think under different circumstances, it would have turned out a little better.

Going back to your elimination, in the middle of the dinner service, you were having trouble with the meat. Do you stand by the fact that you think you just can’t cook meat?

Yeah, in the sense that it was more of a sarcasm thing. He was like, “What’s wrong with you?” I was like, “Well, obviously, I can’t cook meat because I’m not doing too hot here.” But I’ve made Beef Wellington before, but when I’ve made it, I’ve used a thermometer, and you’re not trying to get it out in five minutes. You’re not under a time constraint and you don’t have this British guy yelling in your ear. The meat station, I think everybody has flopped on that one. I’m not that upset with the way that turned just because, if I was on something maybe a little easier and got kicked out, then I might have felt a little worse about it. Someone asked me this morning, if you’re at home, and you throw a burger on the grill, you can’t cook it? Well, yeah, obviously, I can cook at home for me, and I can cook meat. It’s just, never being on a line where you have to time everything and do it like that, obviously, I can’t do that. But the one thing I’ve always said is, I never went in there cocky. You see Ben and Andrea and Carol, like, “I can cook better than you and I’m the best chef here” and all this stuff. I never said that, and I was not ever going to be cocky about it. At least I stay true to myself, and at least I didn’t lie about anything. On this past week, he was like, “Well, how long?” and I was like, “I don’t know. What, am I going to lie?” That never worked that well for anybody.

Speaking of your competitors, is there anybody that you were hoping will win it? I’m guessing not Robert.

[laughs] I call Robert my biggest fan. I don’t wish anybody to not win it. Do I have a favorite? Not exactly. I mean, there’s people that I think that are really good. I think Paula’s really good because she never got really reamed out on the line. Ben’s good. Everybody that’s left, I think has a chance to win. It shouldn’t be about personal feelings. Whoever wins, I wish them the best. I wish everyone the best. And although a lot of people are expecting me to do these interviews and say, “Oh, I hate all of them and I wish no one would win,” but like I said, it’s a competition. People are going to act ruthless and they’re going to be in it for themselves. I don’t wish anyone ill. I think whoever wins definitely deserves to win.

What’s in the future for you now?

I’m just home, decorating cakes, living my life. I don’t have anything great lined up, but I cake-decorate right now. I’m at the opposite end, so I don’t have to worry about the temperature of my cake. They’re done or it’s not done. There’s no medium-well cakes that have to go out. Yeah, I’m on the opposite side of things now. So I always say, if Gordon wants to do Hell’s Bakery, I’m in for that.

Well, thank you so much for talking with me. You definitely got everyone’s attention, so I wish you the best of luck.

Oh, thank you.


-Meghan Carlson, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of FOX)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.