Hell's Kitchen Season 21 Is Already Changing Lives

If you've ever watched "Hell's Kitchen," you may be familiar with Gordon Ramsay throwing overcooked food in disgust or yelling at contestants. You've probably watched in suspense as teams race against the clock, panic in their eyes and sweat on their brow, and the thought may have crossed your mind: "There's no way I could handle that stress."

Yet, there's another side to "Hell's Kitchen" that we don't often see. Many have said that Ramsay isn't the way you see him on the shows. Quora users who identified themselves as former show contestants, workers, or fans who've met him in person described Ramsay as a nice guy and very funny. Some have said the TV persona is just an act. During an interview with Mashed, Season 10 winner Christina Wilson said that she told the celebrity chef, "Everybody thinks you're such a badass, and I'm going to tell them what a cream puff you really are." Perhaps, she got that chance as she joined the cast as sous chef for the 2022 "Hell's Kitchen" season.

Season 21 premiered on Fox on Thursday night showcasing 18 contestants in a "Battle of the Ages" – young chefs vs older chefs. One of those chefs, Mindy Shea (aka Mindy Livengood), spoke with Butler County's Journal News to talk about her experience while filming.

Gordon Ramsay isn't the only nice part of the show

Chef Mindy Shea may be remembered from the Season 21 premiere of "Hell's Kitchen" for the "strong 4" she scored for her spinach and tortellini soup or for saying, "Chef Ramsay is hotter in person, so I may have peed a little." She remembered Ramsay in her interview with the Journal News as "passionate and determined" and said he "wants you to succeed." She felt chefs Jason Santos and Christina Wilson were also supportive.

Although Shea always loved cooking, she pursued a different career because she believed being a chef was unlikely to achieve her financial goals. However, she found her passion for it again during the pandemic and later took a position as chef de cuisine at Cozy's restaurant in Liberty Township, Ohio. Upon seeing an advertisement for "Hell's Kitchen" in 2021, she sent in a video application. "Right before Christmas they asked me to be on the show and I was to pack up within a week and head to Los Angeles," Shea said.

Shea further explained, "I think I came home a different person. I am so much more confident now and I feel like you can throw anything in front of me." Contestant Alex Belew also shared how "Hell's Kitchen" impacted him, telling Dickson County Source, "Just making it on to this show was an accomplishment. ... It was possibly the single most invigorating event in my life." He views the other contestants as family.