Chef Gordon Ramsey begins Season 17
Surprise appearance by Chef Wolfgang Puck
San Antonio area chef Benjamin Knack scored a 5 out 5 in the final round of episode one of Hell’s Kitchen All-Stars by Gordon Ramsay placing the men’s Blue Team ahead at 28-27 against women’s Red Team Friday night. Benjamin is the executive chef at Fair Oaks Ranch Golf & Country Club, just north of the Alamo City.
The kick-off episode, entitled “All-Stars Arrive,” introduced 16 competitors back to the kitchen for another chance to prove their chef abilities. After Chef Ramsay presented the all-stars, one from each of the previous seasons, he threw a curve into what is commonly called the Signature Dish Challenge.
The competing chefs thought they were called in to prepare their signature dishes, but were thrown off base when they lifted their domes to find wasn’t their ingredients. Each chef had only 45 minutes to come up with a spectacular dish using the ingredients provided. But there was another catch. They had to use the same ingredients in a face off against a member of the opposing team.
Each dish was judged on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the best. The winner of this season’s competition will be receiving the biggest prize ever in Hell’s Kitchen: to be a head chef at Ramsay’s first ever Hell’s Kitchen restaurant opening at Caesars Palace Las Vegas this winter. Not only will this be a momentous location on the Vegas strip, but the salary is quite the jackpot, at $250,000.
Sous chefs for the women’s team is Christina Wilson and men’s sous chef is James “Jocky” Petrie.
Before Robyn and Benjamin were judged, the score was 26 to 23, with the women in the lead. Chef Ramsay said he loved Benjamin’s spice and that his salmon was beautiful earning him a perfect score. With the score at 28 to 26, it was up to Robyn to push the women back in first place. Ramsay commented that her flavor was important, but the skin wasn’t crispy. She cooked it aside of the fish when it came off as she placed it in a plan that wasn’t hot enough. The Chef said it was over salty and that he would be generous in his scoring of her dish. He labeled it “disgusting” and awarded her one point. The men won 28-27.
The men of the Blue Team were awarded for their win with a limousine trip for champagne and a sky slide at a 70-story downtown Los Angeles skyscraper, followed with dining at Wolfgang Puck restaurant. During dinner, Chef Ramsay welcomed the men to WP24 restaurant and announced a special guest would be joining them. It was Chef Wolfgang Puck. The Blue Team enjoyed the meal with two of the most famous chefs in the world.
The women stayed behind to clean the large mess, break down the bleachers, secure the red carpet away, and pick up all of the confetti. Conflict and harsh words broke out between Robyn and others on the team, including Barbie and Elise. The red team also prepped both kitchens for the upcoming dinner service.
Benjamin Knack is primed for a second helping of Ramsey’s fiery competition program. When he won third place seven years ago for Season 7, Ramsey praised him for his strong leadership skills and encouraged him to “never give up.”
“The first time I appeared I had never seen or heard of the show before,” Benjamin recalled. “There was real drama, with obstacles and curves thrown in throughout the filming.”
“I’m healthy and ready to go,” Benjamin said about this competition. “Obviously, I’m quicker and smarter than I was seven years ago. My experience has helped me. For two years I worked as chef of one of the top 50 restaurants in the country. This time I know what to expect and am looking forward to it because I think I can win.”
The next day, Ramsay gathered the chefs in the newly redesigned dining room for a huge announcement left them stunned. Every year his restaurants turn away thousands of guests, but this year they will be opening a bar menu to accommodate more people. Each contestant will, for the first time, be up for an individual challenge. Who among them is capable of distinguishing themselves by creating the best bar menu item? The winner will be safe from elimination at that night’s dinner service.