Hell's Kitchen - A Question

I’ve seen scattered episodes of this show in the last two years. I always wish they would go into a little more detail about the techiques of preparing dishes. But, that’s reality TV for you. My questions are for those of you have have some resturant kitchen experience: Is it really as hard as they make it look? Why, even after several episodes, do some contestants have complete meltdowns at their stations?

I would expect that, once your assigned to a spot, you do your prep work and get your ingredients together for the dishes that you are responsible for, and then when a order comes in, you get busy.

I could understand the occasional bad outcome: overdone, underdone, etc. But, some of the contestants fuss about for many minutes and never produce a dish. And most of them have some cooking experience.

What are the challenges to this type of work in real life?

I assume that the show contestants have everything working against them, including many things they wouldn’t have to deal with in a real-life restaurant:

–Extremely little professional experience amongst the entire group.
–No kitchen “chemistry” to begin with. They haven’t worked together for long.
–Competition against one another for the “big prize.”
–All the orders coming in at basically the same time.
–A madman screaming at them over less-than-perfect risotto and throwing out entire tables’ orders over said risotto every two minutes.

Actually…the last one’s probably the biggest factor. :slight_smile:

In addition to the screaming madman, they’ve got the equipment gremlins. They’ve had stoves and ovens be unlit at least twice so far. Normally, turning on the ovens and lighting the cooktop pilots (if you bother to turn them off in the first place) is pretty much the second or third thing you do after unlocking the door in the morning.

All the orders coming in at one time? Welcome to life in the big, fancy city, where restaurants have pre-scheduled “seatings” rather than letting customers wander in at any random time. A notable example of that locally is Chez Panisse. Their first seating is at 6:00 - 6:30, and second seating is at 8:30 - 9:00. Tough nuts if you want to go there at 7:30. What it comes down to is the kitchen get slammed with 60 orders in a half-hour time slot. Prix Fixe or not, 60 covers at once has got to be a challenge.