This season of Hell’s Kitchen, hosted by master chef Gordon Ramsay, promises to be the most intense, most shocking, and profanity-filled yet. At stake: a chef position at the renowned Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, and a hefty $250,000 salary to match. Not to mention the pride that comes with having survived the wrath of Ramsay, whose standards are even higher this season than ever before—which means he gets even angrier when this season’s chefs don’t live up to them.

BuddyTV got an exclusive sneak peek at the Hell’s Kitchen premiere, which airs Thursday, January 29 at 9 pm on FOX.

Read on for our first impressions of the season, and some spoilers for the premiere!

This season on Hell’s Kitchen, the competition is stiffer than ever. Thousands of hopeful chefs applied, and 300 were invited to meet Ramsay, who then chose 16 lucky (or masochistic) cooks to compete for his grand prize. Eight women will make up this season’s Red Team, and eight men will make up the Blue Team.

Don’t miss our Hell’s Kitchen: Meet the Cast of Season 5!


A few chefs immediately set themselves apart from the herd… and not necessarily in a good way. As is his tradition, Ramsay sets the group straight to work, asking them to prepare their signature dishes for his appraisal. The voice-over wants to make sure we realize how intense the Hell’s Kitchen application process was this season—we are not to forget that these chefs are the best of the best, so if last season we thought Ramsay’s expectations couldn’t get any higher, we were wrong. There’s a lot riding on these first dishes, and the tasting starts off strong, which at least three chefs in a row impressing Ramsay with their culinary skills.

But the tasting goes downhill fast. One young chef prepares a dish that assures Ramsay that all her customers must immediately vomit after eating her meals. Another presents a dish that Ramsay believes looks like diapers… and after he tastes it, he thinks he might actually need a pair of Pampers himself. For being one of the top finalists in a large pool, one experienced chef looks amateur when he can’t even cook rice correctly. One after another, the chefs fall, as Ramsay spits out their food along with biting criticism, including a ratatouille that he declares “the worst dish I have ever tasted.”

And then we learn Hell’s Kitchen Lesson One: if you’re on the receiving end of Gordon Ramsay’s fury, don’t laugh. For goodness’s sake—no, for your own sake—DON’T LAUGH! One chef who claims to know Ramsay’s life story somehow never learned this lesson, and almost makes history as the quickest exit on Hell’s Kitchen. Now I’m the one laughing.

After he puts them in their place, Ramsay ushers the chefs into the Grand Reopening challenge, which gives them a chance to assess their teammates and showcase their line skills (or lack thereof) for their new master. Once again, some fair better than others.

Ramsay picks 1 contestant from each team to be a server in the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant, and they find their job a little tougher than usual when a blackout disables the entire restaurant 20 minutes into dinner service. But that’s not even the worst that happens during the contestants’ first challenge in Hell’s Kitchen. Even when the power finally comes back on, it seems like whatever else could go wrong, does.

I found myself at a few points wondering in what world these chefs are “the best” in their field. I know on previous seasons of Hell’s Kitchen that we’ve had our suspicions that some contestants get put on the show because the producers know that they will incite the Ramsay Rage. It makes for great television, I’ll grant them that. But with all the premiere’s emphasis on the stiff competition, the basic incompetence of some contestants this season is especially astounding for Ramsay. Some could be buckling under the pressure, or just used to cooking in a different environment, but is there any excuse for a Hell’s Kitchen contestant failing at cooking spaghetti? Get ready for more than one moment when you’ll think, “Even I know how to do that!” And a lot—I mean a lot—of bleeping out Ramsay, who sees it all go down.

The consequences of all the Grand Reopening missteps are bigger than ever before, leading Ramsay to deem the entire effort an “absolute embarrassment” for everyone involved. But where these so-called experienced chefs fail, they leave in their wake one of the most entertaining Hell’s Kitchen premieres ever. Because we all know that Gordon Ramsay is at his finest when he’s most infuriated—and believe me, he has a lot to get @#%!*-ing pissed off about. In the end, one unlucky chef is put on the chopping block, but it’s hard to decide whether (s)he’s better off than the rest, who now realize that Hell’s Kitchen is not as metaphorical a name as they thought.

You won’t want to miss the premiere of Hell’s Kitchen, so tune in on Thursday at 9 pm on FOX for the beginning of the best season yet!

Can’t wait? Check out our Hell’s Kitchen 5: Season Premiere Photos!

-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.