'Hell's Kitchen' and 'MasterChef' insult-a-thon recap: 'What kind of sex are you into?'
As we kick off Ramsay-palooza -- you'll get four hours of chef Gordon Ramsay each Monday and Tuesday this summer with back-to-back episodes of "MasterChef" and the new season of "Hell's Kitchen" -- let's take a look at what just might be a new low for the Don Rickles of the kitchen.
The Michelin-starred Ramsay says he's unmatched in the culinary world, and knows more about food than anyone. I'm not sure how we test that. But if they handed out stars for insults, he'd no doubt have a boatload for all the times he called someone a donut, a donkey or a [bleep].
But Ramsay is nothing if not creative with his unique way of insulting and humiliating his underlings, and that started minutes into the new season of "Hell's Kitchen" when the 18 competitors were brought into a theater in downtown Los Angeles and prepped in hair and makeup for what they thought was their first appearance in front of a cheering crowd.
Excited, with stars in their eyes, the competitors held hands and then raised them high as the curtain was raised -- only to find an empty theater, a speaker piping in crowd noise, and a disdainful Ramsay.
"Seriously?" he said in response to the shocked looks on their faces. "What on earth did you expect?" A crowd? No way. "Right now? None of you are stars. Resumes mean nothing." He announced that the winner of this season will earn a $250,000 salary as the head chef at BLT Steak in New York City, and then dismissed the class for the traditional first challenge, preparing a signature dish. His parting shot: "Stars. My ass."
What did you think of this prank. Did it go too far? Granted, all of these competitors knew precisely what they were in for when they joined "Hell's Kitchen." But it seemed plenty callous to punk them in this manner. It's one thing to look the fool because you burned the risotto. For the 47th time. It's another to be tricked into looking like a fool. It probably goes without saying: It sure made for good TV.
If you were to put together a Top 10 list of Ramsay TV insults, I'll wager that five of them could be traced back to Monday's nights episodes, such as:
--"You're so full of [bleep] your eyes are brown," he told one competitor who dared to use canned pineapple rings as a garnish.
--Ramsay loves wordplay, and couldn't resist when faced with Krupa's poorly plated stuffed naan: "My dear Krupa, that is crap-a."
--Steven was told that his burned scallops reminded Ramsay of something. "It's like toenails. From a [bleep]-ing dinosaur."
--Later, in the first dinner service, Krupa started making a comeback and did a little victory dance when Ramsay complimented her risotto. Bad move. He pulled her up short. "Make 10 more like that, finish service, and maybe. But don't start peeing your knickers now."
--Ramsay said it was the most disappointing opening ever in "Hell's Kitchen," with zero entrees leaving the kitchen. He took two people in particular to task: "Paul, Jonathan you're sort of standing there with your pants down getting absolutely [bleep]-ed every second."
--When he eliminated the mustachioed Steven as the first to leave "Hell's Kitchen," he added: "I realized early on that Steven had as much chance of being the head chef of BLT Steak as I do winning a gold medal in figure skating." (By that argument, I'd say he could have saved us all some time and eliminated another 10 while he was at it.)
Turns out Ramsay was just warming up, because he saved his most searing insult for "MasterChef" and Adrian, who has been a front-runner so far but failed miserably when asked to prepare a sexy dish using truffles as his key ingredient. He produced a cowboy-sized steak on a pile o mashed potatoes on top of ... fig chili?
The question was begging to be asked of Adrian, and chef Graham Eliott was the one to sarcastically ask it: "What kind of sex are you into?"
Ramsay, of course, put a finer point on it: "It's like you got ahold of my grandad and turned his colostomy bag on a plate."
What do you think about all the insult humor. Did I overlook any of your favorite Ramsay jabs? And do you enjoy watching other people squirm on the end of Ramsay's sharp hook? (C'mon, just admit it.) Or do you think it's going too far?
Random thought: Any Top 10 list of Ramsay insults would have to included the "jacked-up caveman" comment. I still have no idea what it means. But it was perfect.
-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch