Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 1 recap: Feeling lucky?

HELL'S KITCHEN: L-R: Host / Chef Gordon Ramsay and constants Syann Williams and Cody Candelario in the "18 Chefs Compete” episode of HELL'S KITCHEN airing Thursday, Jan 7. (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Scott Kirkland / FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC.
HELL'S KITCHEN: L-R: Host / Chef Gordon Ramsay and constants Syann Williams and Cody Candelario in the "18 Chefs Compete” episode of HELL'S KITCHEN airing Thursday, Jan 7. (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Scott Kirkland / FOX. © 2021 FOX MEDIA LLC. /

In the Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 1, chefs learned Las Vegas is unpredictable.

From the moment that the Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 1 began, the excitement built to the moment when the chefs would get into that infamous Hell’s Kitchen. Although everyone thought that they had an inkling as to what to expect, the tables were turned, yet again. Would these chefs have lady luck on their side?

After much anticipation, the Hell’s Kitchen premiere played into the new location, Las Vegas. As many people expected, Las Vegas will play a major role in the season.

While the chefs stood in front of the Caesar Palace location of the restaurant Hell’s Kitchen, everyone seemed to get a better understanding of what is at stake. Of course, everyone wants to win. But, this culinary competition is a job audition. If you want to stand at the pass, you need to impress Gordon Ramsay.

Of course, there were staged moments. Seeing Ramsay on a helicopter was a nice touch. The fake hanger wasn’t really necessary, but it tried to set the scene. Truthfully, most people were just waiting for the chefs to get into Hell’s Kitchen and cook.

As Ramsay shared in the recent interview, Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 1 was not going to have the typical signature dish challenge. All the chefs had come to expect it. In some ways, that signature dish has become a bland and boring part of the competition.

While that challenge has become a way for Ramsay to gain some insight into the chefs’ palates and their approach to cooking, it has become rehearsed. Having a signature dish is important, but these chefs need to show more than just a dish that has been rehearsed over and over.

For the first challenge, the chefs would go in a head to head battle using the same three ingredients. As the chefs spun the wheel, some were lucky and others were very lucky. When one chef received an ingredient that was similar to her signature dish, Ramsay commented she might want to stay in Las Vegas. Sometimes it pays to be lucky.

Overall, the ingredients that the chefs had to use were quite approachable. Given the 45 minute time frame, any of these accomplished chefs should be able to present a thoughtful, creative and delicious dish with these ingredients.

Although, no one should finish early. Everyone knew that was a huge mis-step.

As Ramsay scored the dishes on a 1 to 5 scale, a few items were notable. The personalities of some chefs were clear. Of course, the chefs with the big egos were on display. Even though Hell’s Kitchen is a culinary competition, there needs to be entertainment value. Certain chefs are beginning to get their personas.

More importantly, some of the mistakes were surprising. From under seasoned food to undercooked rice, those simple mistakes should not have been on the plate. What chef forgets to season a dish? Even in a pressure filled situation, these chefs should know better.


Since the first challenge is the introduction to the chefs, everyone could tell that it was a way for Ramsay to have insight on a chef’s palate. Even the most inexperienced chef can have a great palate. In some ways, that trait is more important than experience.

Although it is hard to gauge a front-runner in Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 1, there were some dishes that Ramsay loved and others that were a disaster. It was nice to see Declan, the Irishman, get the first perfect score. The Blue team (the men’s team) had two 5s. Although this situation, does not necessarily mean that that men will always win.

Overall, the dishes were mediocre. No one really seemed to push the envelope with flavor. Of course, there was some element of cookery in the first challenge (don’t scorch the chicken), but it would have been nice to see more creativity on the plate.

In the end, the competition came down to the final plate. With the blue team behind, Ramsay gave out his second 5 ranking and the men won.

Although the men won, their dishes seemed to have more lower scores than high. From the poorly cooked chicken to the under-seasoned pasta, the mistakes were many.

Additionally, the women’s dishes seemed to impress Ramsay with their flavors. Although some of the cooking techniques had mistakes, the flavors were on point.


As the women went to their punishment, cleaning the Caesars fountains, the men had dinner with Ramsay at Gordon Ramsay Steak. During the dinner, the kinder, gentler Ramsay was on display.

While he told the chefs about his inspiration to be a chef, this moment is the other side of the celebrated chef that people tend to forget. All that yelling isn’t just being mean, it is a passion for a craft that he has honed over the years.

In the end, Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 1 was a bold start. Even though people will speculate which chef could make it to the finale, many of the chefs deserve a spot in that kitchen. Only a few will be able to handle the pressure under fire.

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What did you think of the Hell’s Kitchen Season 19 episode 1? Do you have a favorite chef yet?