Hell’s Kitchen, ITV1

by | Apr 18, 2005 | All, Reviews

What to say of you liked it

Masterchefs Gary Rhodes and Jean Christophe Novelli are tossed 10 raw ingredients of culinary incompetence which they must shape and coach into banquets of gastronomic excellence over a period of 14 fascinating days.

What to say of you didn’t like it

Reaching deep down into the pot of mongrel celebrity chefs, Gary Rhodes and Jean Christophe Novelli are dragged randomly to the surface foaming at the mouth with a rabid desire for fame while 10 non-entity no-hopers are the goats, pigs and cows who will be sacrificed to satiate their squalid supercilious lust.

What was good about it?

• The usual clamour and catastrophe in the kitchen causes as much mayhem as expected with the testiest moments in the opener coming when Rhodes threw a fit

and stopped his chefs from producing any more food as he “didn’t want to put his name to it”.

• Unfriendly Geordie caterer Terry Miller’s opinion on Gary Rhodes’ books on cuisine. “I’ve bought some of his books. Some of it was crap, like.”

• Angus Deayton’s otherwise diluted script did retain some of the acid from the first series, albeit the venom was spat at the easiest targets. Peter Stringfellow was “either with his great-great-granddaughter or his fiancée” while Angus thought former Stranglers singer Hugh Cornwall “was dead”.

• Watching the frail rope of Danniella Westbrook’s celebrity fray as she haunts Hell’s Kitchen to keep up her ethereal public profile, and then enjoying observing it snap in a few days when some of the chefs become more famous than her and her nose combined.

What was bad about it?

• The cheerful warning of “strong language” before the show started. While the cold message was one to ward off the easily offended, the cheery tone of the caution suggested that it was more of an invite of the vicarious pleasure of bad tempered people swearing.

• The artificial polarity wrought between the personalities of Jean Christophe Novelli and Gary Rhodes. Where Novelli is passionate, impulsive and garrulous, Rhodes is clinical, pragmatic and taciturn. Rhodes seems to be acting more than Novelli, and even appears to relish the opportunity to be nasty to his charges. And we’re amazed that he was able to retain a straight face when he claimed: “This is like the biggest heavyweight boxing fight of all time.”

• Whereas in the original Hell’s Kitchen the script of Angus Deayton was the highlight, with the introduction of 10 nobodies, the acerbic remarks are somewhat stilted and blunted. This will continue to be the case until the viewers become more familiar with the mob – but for camp waiter Simon (Big Brother Marco’s chubby older brother) and posh student Henry (or Onreeee as Novelli calls him) they might not get the chance as they went up for the first eviction vote.

• The typically appalling question to win a meal at Hell’s Kitchen. What is the French word for water? A) Ah B) Eau C) Ooh La La.

• Ditzy personal assistant Aby’s burgeoning adoration of her mentor Novelli. “There’s a male perfume I really like, and he was wearing it!”

• The cipher of human vomit already running along the gutter of desperate exposure and into Hell’s Kitchen, which has been disgorged from the unsettled, overstuffed stomach of celebrity. We observed Games contestant Princess So Utterly Non-Famous When You Die Your Gravestone Won’t Even Be Marked And Will Instead Be Used As A Burial Trove For 19th Century Cowboys To Stash A Fortune In Stolen Gold of Wherever She Feels Will Snatch Her The Most Publicity.

There was also that old judge from Strictly Come Dancing (showing stupidity when he ignored the dishes on Novelli’s list because the descriptions were “all over two lines; some are even three!”). Plus Peter Stringfellow, Rebecca Loos, Carol Decker, hungry Lowri Turner, Bobby Davro, Helen Lederer, Tony Slattery and Shane Lynch.

• When Gary Rhodes lambasted Simon for not knowing what a spatula was, it brought back nightmares of out humiliation in Home Economics when the teacher asked us to get a fish knife from the drawer. Knives should look like knives and not fly swatters.

Luke Knowles

Luke Knowles


Editor of the website and host of the podcast. A general TV obsessive. I've been running the site since 2008 and you can usually find me in front of the TV. My Favourite show of all time is Breaking Bad with Cracker coming a close second. I feel so passionately that television can change the world and I'm doing my little bit by running this site. You're Welcome!


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