Originally posted Friday, September 28, 2018 by RODNEY HOemail@example.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
“Hell’s Kitchen” season 18 not only cast two Atlantans but two Atlantans who worked for the same company: Fifth Group Restaurants.
The show, which returns Friday, September 28 at 9 p.m., does not waste any time in the opening moments of season 18’s debut to ensure both Gizzy Barton and Scotley Innis are known as immediate rivals.
Barton gleefully told Gordon Ramsay that Innis took her job at South City Kitchen in Midtown as a sous chef. (This was taped about 18 months ago.) “From what I heard,” she noted to the cameras, “people missed me.”
“Interesting,” Ramsay said with an arched eyebrow.
Both chefs also graduated from Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Atlanta, though not at the same time.
This cycle of “Hell’s Kitchen” features eight “rookies” and eight “veterans” who had previously competed on the show, including former Lilburn resident and season 14 runner up Torrece “T” Gregoire.
The winner will get $250,000 and a chance to run a new Hell’s Kitchen restaurant at Caesar’s in Las Vegas.
Here are capsules of the two “rookie” Atlanta contestants, with quotes from the show and from interviews with each person:
Current gig: executive chef at 5Church at Colony Square in Midtown
Previously worked at: Ormsby’s, South City Kitchen, Au Pied De Cochon, Craft Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center
Why do “Hell’s Kitchen”: “You’re cooking in front of a god in Gordon Ramsay. He puts you under pressure. You have to impress him if you want to be a well-known chef. I want to be recognized in a bigger broader way.”
On winning the big prize: “Vegas is sex, money and food, right up my alley. I’m going to win this competition.”
Why he could win: “I work best under pressure. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. When it comes down to the nitty gritty, I’ll buckle down and take control. In order to be a great leader, you have to be able to manage that.”
His style: “They call me the curry chef because my background is Jamaican,” he said in the first episode. His signature dish is a pan-seared snapper with jasmine rice.
What he learned from the show: “Even as a leader, you can always ask for help. You need to communicate to run a kitchen well. Teamwork is key. It also taught me to be a little more organized.”
Previously worked at: Kevin Rathbun’s, Bellina Alimentari, Ecco Midtown
Her next move: sous chef at a new Ecco in Buckhead. “I kind of like being a sous chef. I’m not good at being in the spotlight. I’m really good at supporting the spotlight and doing the behind-the-scenes grunt work. The executive chef should have all the answers. I don’t have all the answers yet.”
Her comfort cuisine: “Modern European pulling from Italian, French, Spanish, Greek and mashing them together.”
Her signature dish round one: seared scallops with a cucumber gazpacho.
How she picked up on “Hell’s Kitchen”: Substitute teachers at her culinary school would air old episodes. “It was fascinating to us to see how a kitchen operates, brigade style” she said.
Tougher than she thought: “I was so naive going in. I figured, ‘Gordon Ramsay won’t yell at me! I’m a great cook!’” And when he did yell? “It was surreal. I had seen it on TV. Now it’s happening to me!”
Making friends? “I came out of it liking more people than I thought I was going to. I’m innately introverted. It was really really hard for me to open up and be myself.”
Tears don’t run dry: “I cry at everything. They make fun of me at work. They’ll sit down with me for a review. They tell me good things and I start crying. It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative.”
“Hell’s Kitchen,” 9 p.m Fridays, Fox, season 18 starting on September 28, 2018.
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