Season 9 of Hell’s Kitchen premiered last night and it left me bored and frustrated. It started off predictably. The contestants were lead to a backstage area by James (where’s JP? I thought he was going to be back this season.) where they stood in front of a curtain. A crowd could be heard cheering, pulses were racing, the curtain lifted, and…the only one in the auditorium was Gordon Ramsay. Shocked? Not so much. When it came to preparing their signature dishes, Ramsay surprisingly liked a good majority of them, which gave me hope. However, that hope faltered during dinner service when contestant Jason Zepaltas fell ill and had to be rushed away in an ambulance. Sound familiar? I didn’t even raise an eyebrow when Ramsay announced Jason wouldn’t be returning. It makes me wonder if these injuries are planned, in order to add a small element of drama right off the bat. I almost wondered if something was up when Jason received praise for his signature dish, which was pork tacos. Now, I like tacos as much as the next blogger, but these didn’t look all that special and I can’t see Ramsay giving him a point for it. Can it really be coincidence that there is an injury removal the very first episode two seasons in a row? The dinner service itself left me wanting more. I admit I chuckled a little when contestant Chino Chang was punished by sitting at a table peeling a giant bowl of garlic.
When all was said and done, Steven Paluba, a chef from New York, was the one who said hasta la vista, and there wasn’t even a good reason for it. He did end up at the table with Chino at one point (which looked like a time-out corner by the end of dinner service), but I could think of others who should have left first. The highlight of the episode was the brief 30 seconds we saw season 8 winner, Nona Sivley, where the Blue Team met with her after they won the signature dish challenge.
I’m hoping the show redeems itself tonight, with its second episode of the week. At this point, I only want to watch Ramsay in MasterChef and Kitchen Nightmares and I don’t like feeling that way, since I love Hell’s Kitchen.
What did you think of the episode? Do you think Hell’s Kitchen can redeem itself or has the show run its course?