With a PCI alumnus competing in the new season of Hell's Kitchen, I spent some time catching up on the old episodes of the show. While watching the show, I have been thinking about what it would be like to eat at this iconic eatery. I ended up arriving at the conclusion that I would not like to eat there. Here are my top 12 reasons why.
1) "Would you like some earplugs with your meal?" When Gordon Ramsay isn't yelling at the cooks, the cooks are yelling at each other. I have been to restaurants where I have heard yelling coming from the kitchen, it made the dining experience uncomfortable and weird. I used to think that the insults pouring from Ramsay were creative and amusing, but after watching most of the series, it's just repetitive. Women are cows, men are donkeys, and everything is the wrong temperature. Shut it down!!
2) Meat with a side of seafood garnished with meat. There is a lack of vegetarian options on the menu. All of the entrees are either seafood or meat, and even the seemingly vegetarian risotto is made with chicken stock (admittedly, this is pretty standard). Every once and a while, a vegetarian does go into Hell's Kitchen, but I doubt they leave feeling very satisfied.
3) This food is made with blood, sweat, and tears... literally. I understand that some bodily fluids might end up in my food - these are real people making real food - but virtually every episode has somebody dripping some fluid into a saucepan. I like to live my life in denial; I know that it happens, but I don't want to see it happen. Also, don't they require hair restraints (baseball caps, skull caps, or hair nets) in California? I'm surprised that more food doesn't come back after being garnished with hair. Yes, the heat will kill most germs, but still, ew....
4) That handwashing rule is optional, right? When I briefly worked in the industry, and when I got my ServSafe certification, I learned that when you walk into the kitchen, you're supposed to wash your hands before touching anything. I have never seen a contestant wash their hands. I'm not even sure there are handwashing sinks in the kitchen.
5) You're also supposed to wash your hands after touching your face, nose, mouth, or hair.... Seriously, this happens in nearly every episode. Watch carefully.
6) Double dipping. Tasting the food is a great idea before it is sent out to the customer. In fact, it's recommended, but when the spoon goes into the pan, into the mouth, and then back into the pan, it's a bit disgusting. Ramsay is as guilty of this as any of the contestants, but usually he just taps the excess from the spoon into the pan before placing it into its basin.
7) Raw food. Most of my meals consist of raw food. In fact, nothing that I ate today was cooked, but I'm a vegetarian and eat tons of raw veggies. Raw chicken, pork, and lamb are not appetizing.
8) A towel is a towel is a towel. How many of the contestants have been caught wiping their face with their side towel before wiping down a cutting board or pan? Now consider how many haven't been caught. Yeah...
9) I thought cross-contamination was a bad thing. I might be getting a little nit-picky here, but I thought that you weren't supposed to use the same cutting board for meats and vegetables.
10) If service starts at 6:00 and there's only one seating, shouldn't everyone be served before 10:00? I'm a pretty patient person. If the food is good, I have no problem waiting, but sometimes guests wait hours to get their appetizers.
11) The pizza shop down the street must be raking in the cash. Sometimes the chefs do so badly that Chef Ramsay closes down the kitchen before his guests are served. I understand having standards, but after waiting three hours, I would hope that I would get something aside from bread.
12) I probably couldn't get an invitation anyway. *sigh*