Ranch & Coast Magazine

September 2022

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Page 67 of 115

Each season, a fresh roster of professional chefs and talented home cooks report for duty at a live-in culinary underdome. For weeks, their days consist of outlandish challenges, laborious prep work, and soul-crushing punishments, followed by sweaty, high-pressure dinner services under Ramsay's watchful eye, iron fist, and forked, expletive-slinging tongue. e post-service reward for the "lucky" contestants who stave off elimination is another day or two under the most brutal, critical conditions imaginable, all for the chance to head up one of Ramsay's restaurants or, in some cases, become his protégé. Hell's Kitchen follows an episodic reality-TV framework that's familiar and even predictable at times. What's made it an enduring success and kept fervent viewers tuning in year after year since 2005 is Ramsay. Yes, there's that hellfire personality for which his series is titled. Fans have memorized his mannerisms — flinging plates, smashing (raw!) salmon to smithereens, summoning a chef to certain doom with a stiffly crooked index finger. ey recite his famous phrases — move your ass, you moppet…it's stone-cold…oh, piss off…shut it down! Ramsay's outbursts and bittersweet ear candy are the addictively enticing entertainment that his fans eat up, but they and Hell's Kitchen's other sensationalist aspects aren't part of the restaurant of the same name that debuted at Harrah's Resort Southern California last month. Like its predecessors in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe, this third installation of Hell's Kitchen conveys recognizable elements of the aesthetic and cuisine of the restaurant sets at which the program has been filmed. And while the back-of-house staff don chef 's whites identical to those worn by the show's contestants in an open kitchen split into red and blue sections, they are one team working in unison. ere are no alliances, there is no ill will, and there is no prize at stake. Hell's Kitchen is a restaurant, pure and simple, built to allow fans of the show to partake in a dining experience that heretofore they've only been able to watch and wonder about from afar. e Hell's Kitchen logo stands out as a bright red beacon along Harrah's restaurant row. Visitors transition from a loud and lively, largely purple casino into bright environs that are almost contradictory to the dim-lit motif of the show's former sets. Even with that stark difference, it's a full immersion into the series' thematic from the get-go courtesy of a wall covered in framed photos of past seasons' winners, Chef Ramsay on a front-and-center big screen, oodles of merch, an Instagram-ready logo-affixed backdrop, and a host stand staffed by employees in Hell's Kitchen attire. From there, the references become more subtle, relying largely on pitchforks embroidered onto napkins and seating, included in wallpaper and elaborate trellising, and forming the basis of crisscrossing light fixtures. ose components are reinforced by numerous portraits of Ramsay as well as the diametrically opposed tilework of the aforementioned "fire" and "ice" kitchens. At the end of the day, Hell's Kitchen is best represented by the items on the restaurant's menu, which the show's devotees << @ranchandcoast ranchandcoast.com 68 SEPTEMBER 2022 RANCH & COAST MAGAZINE INTERIOR: PHOTO BY ZACH CORDNER COCKTAIL & GORDON RAMSAY: PHOTO COURTESY OF GORDON RAMSAY HELL'S KITCHEN

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