The Most Awkward Moments On Hell's Kitchen

Let's imagine that you're a chef hoping to make it big. Suddenly, the opportunity comes up to audition for Hell's Kitchen, the popular reality show that pits you against other passionate culinary professionals for a chance to work with the world-renowned — and frighteningly intense — Michelin starred chef Gordon Ramsay. You make it through rounds of auditions and finally get word that the television network would, in fact, like you as a contestant on the upcoming season. But, this puts you in a tricky place. Your skills are in the spotlight now and you'd better perform in order to avoid that shame-filled walk out of the kitchen that so many contestants before you were forced to take.

But, it's not just the straight fear of Gordon Ramsay's grimace that courses through your veins. It's the fact he carries with him an incredible ability to make contestants feel downright awkward in front of their peers. No one wants to receive a soul-crushing lecture in front of a whole staff of kitchen workers from anyone, much less Ramsay. And, since it's a reality show, personalities can clash, unexpected things often happen in the blink of an eye, and contestants are left scrambling to get back on track after it all goes down. This is life on Hell's Kitchen and, sometimes, things get real awkward, real fast. But, you've already punched your ticket, so get ready to take the ride and see some of the most awkward moments on Hell's Kitchen.

Ramsay called one of the contestants a "plank"

Anyone who's watched footage of Ramsay on his slew of reality shows, from MasterChef to Kitchen Nightmares, must know that he's never been one to mince words. By now, every contestant surely realizes this, which is why their worst nightmare must be finding themselves on the receiving end of one of his epic reprimands. Alas, Hell's Kitchen wouldn't be as popular as it is if the host was a soft-spoken beacon of positivity who built everyone up as often as possible. No, viewers tune in to see Ramsay tear into the fearful faces of those trying to impress him. So, you'd better believe he held nothing back in the pilot episode of the series.

At one point in the episode, Ramsay stood in front of covered dishes cooked by all the contestants. One by one, he revealed each meal, called the contestant who cooked it to the table, and gave a brutally honest opinion of their work. When one contestant, an executive chef named Chris, approached the table to see how his cedar plank-cooked salmon fared, he was met with a brutal Ramsay insult almost immediately. After hearing Chris's description, the host was unimpressed. "I think you're a plank," Ramsay said. "Plank means 'an idiot.'" After tearing apart the salmon dish, Ramsay instructed Chris to "be a good plank, and get back in line." Ouch! It may have been one of the worst dishes to come out of Hell's Kitchen.

One Hell's Kitchen chef left the roe on scallops

No one can argue about how hard it is to impress a chef with a resume full of Michelin stars. But, when it does come time to step up to the plate, you have to do everything you possibly can to make sure you take a swing at that metaphorical pitch and crank it out as far into the outfield as you can. Even though it's tough to ensure every single nook and cranny is covered in a chaotic kitchen, much less on a reality show set, the basics must be done well, lest you incur the wrath of Ramsay. One contestant named Michael realized he completely missed something very basic about his scallop dish and quickly learned how awkward things could get.

Once Ramsay pulled the metal lid off the dish, Michael timidly approached the table. The host stabbed a scallop with his fork and held it up to the contestant, who almost instantly knew that he had screwed up big time. Ramsay, confused at what he was seeing, asked Michael, "What is that?" to which the contestant sheepishly responded, "The roe, sir." As anyone who likes scallops knows, the roe, or eggs, are always removed before serving. Ramsay forced Michael to take a bite of the roe. Even though the contestant told Ramsay he didn't think "it's that bad," the host swiftly told Michael that he has "the palate of a cow's backside."

Hell's Kitchen contestants argued about kitchen efficiency

When you bring a bunch of random people together on a reality television show, the casting directors know exactly who they want on set. After all, drama sells, so the personalities of the people selected will likely clash over the course of the show. Fights get ratings and, even though it's a bummer that people have to quarrel, it's kind of the point of reality television, at least if you're being honest with yourself. The contestants chosen for Hell's Kitchen are no different and so they have frequently found themselves at odds over their culinary strategy.

During one lunch table team meeting, things got heated quickly after Chris, an executive chef, tore into fellow contestant Jeff over kitchen efficiency. As Ramsay often loudly reminds everyone, efficiency is the name of the game when it comes to restaurant service. Chefs who are little more than an efficiency roadblock do not go unnoticed. Chris, clearly upset by how Ramsay felt about his team's kitchen performance, began to vent, with Jeff singled out as the source of the problem. Jeff asked Chris, "What do you have on my a** today?" He then got up from his seat in anger while Chris implored Jeff to wait while he finished his sentence. Needless to say, Jeff disagreed with the point Chris was making and stormed off, leaving the rest of the team to sit around the table in ultra-awkward silence.

Some Hell's Kitchen chefs became pasta monsters

People who have never made their own pasta have no idea how much energy it takes to produce all those strands of starchy goodness. Home chefs make the easy choice of buying the premade dry stuff because tossing a handful of fettuccine into boiling water is a heck of a lot easier to prepare. But, in order to know just how talented the show's contestants were, one Hell's Kitchen challenge involved two teams making their own pasta as quickly as possible. And the way the pasta was presented had several contestants looking pretty unusual.

The dough went flying and fistfuls of flour were hucked back and forth over the raw sheets of pasta during the challenge, but each team cranked out as much of it as they could within the allotted time limit. And, once they finally churned out the individual strands, they had to carefully drape them over the arms and head of one chosen contestant who stood carefully while the pasta was piled on top of their appendages. Once time ended, viewers saw a team of relieved contestants along with the spaghetti monsters they had just created with their carby drapings. It was an entertaining challenge to watch, but you couldn't help thinking the people holding the pasta felt like culinary coat racks.

One Hell's Kitchen contestant threw out the lobster

When you work in a fast-paced kitchen, there's no time to deal with anyone who doesn't show up with their game face on. Well, one of those aspects of a game-face requires a person to know what they can and cannot throw into the garbage. It'd be the worst thing in the world to suddenly realize you accidentally threw away something pertinent to a dinner shift, but that's exactly what happened to one contestant named Jimmy. Chef Ramsay was quick to notice and, naturally, he let the stressed contestant know exactly how he felt about the mistake.

Jimmy was frantically trying to get a lobster dinner and a halibut dish finished on the fish station he was tasked with managing. In the midst of the craziness, Jimmy took a tray of cooked lobster tails and mindlessly dumped them into the garbage, thinking it wasn't needed for the remainder of the service. Jimmy was dead wrong. Within minutes, Ramsay desperately asked the kitchen, "Where's the lobster?" Jimmy responded, "It was sitting here," but he was likely very aware that he had just screwed up big time. In an effort to keep his station clean, he had tossed the expensive crustaceans into the trash. Ramsay demanded answers and Jimmy had to cook up more, but everyone in the kitchen knew who was to blame. You couldn't help but feel terrible for the frantic contestant.

Ramsay didn't want a re-fired risotto

One of the worst moments in the flurry of kitchen chaos is when a meal is prepared long before the rest of the table meals are ready and therefore requires a re-fire. That means the entire dish needs to be remade because it's inevitably going to arrive at the table cold, and that's precious time gone. Wasted time is something a Michelin-starred chef simply does not accept, which is why Ramsay lost his cool on a team of chefs who were barely keeping their heads above water when it came to making creamy, delicious risotto. When time is of the essence, attitudes inevitably get snippy and workers need to step up their hustles.

Ramsay was in dire need of two risotto dishes that a table had been waiting on for too long. When the plates finally made it to the window, Ramsay examined them and was more than annoyed at the contestants. "That's not right. It's not a good job!" the host shouted as he dug through the pan of risotto with a fork. He pointed out that every grain of rice was visible and there wasn't enough butter. Simone, the chef in charge of the risotto, told Ramsay she was ready to re-fire the dish altogether. Ramsay screamed at her, "No! Not re-firing. Finish it!" Simone managed to get the dishes finished, at least, but she did so with her tail between her legs while her peers watched her embarrassment.

One chef stormed out of Hell's Kitchen

Mutiny among kitchen team members often can't be avoided. Different people come from different backgrounds and not everyone is imbued with the same kind of work ethic. Those varying styles often come out during the intensity of a restaurant shift and, when two very different methods clash, fireworks can occur. During one episode, a contestant named Joy gave teammate Beth a brutal tongue lashing. The other team members looked on at the exchange with disgust, but no one else wanted to find themselves in the middle of such drama.

Obviously, no one on the show worked with Beth while she was in action at her hometown job. But the tactics she employed in the kitchen on this particular day made it seem like no one would have wanted to do so. It was almost as if it was her first day around kitchen ingredients and equipment. Joy, talking loudly enough for the whole kitchen to hear, said, "How about we go service without [Beth]? I don't even care." Well, Beth heard this and did not respond well. She looked at Joy in disgust, responding, "Ya know what? I don't even care." With that, Beth marched out of the kitchen while the rest of her teammates stood around in awkward disbelief that they had to now pick up the additional slack. Beth vented to several of the other teammates in the hallway, but the damage to the dinner shift was already done.

A Hell's Kitchen contestant served Ramsay's family sub-par food

One of the perks of knowing a world-renowned chef is snagging reservations at a restaurant they run. Not only will you get assigned the most attentive servers in the place, but you're likely to have some off-the-menu specialties sent to the table directly from the chef. It's good to be the ruler of the kitchen. Plus, having the ability to impress friends and family with your culinary creations is even better. This is why when one contestant prepared dishes for a very particular family, Ramsay got extra aggressive in his dress-down.

That particular family, by the way, was Ramsay's own wife and daughters. That's right. The man who carries the reins of the entire show and decides who's next on the chopping block invited his family into the Hell's Kitchen restaurant for a nice evening out. This is why, when contestant Vinny fell behind on a risotto meant for Ramsay's family, he felt the heat of Ramsay's anger like no one before. "Vinny, I need the f***ing risotto!" the host frantically shouted as other teammates scrambled around the kitchen. The skillet Vinny handed Ramsay was old. Big mistake. As Vinny walked back to his station, Ramsay said, "Hey bozo, come here, you! Shut your fat East Coast mouth. This table you just sent me that for is my family!" Vinny managed to embarrass the last person you ever want to humiliate in a kitchen: the executive chef.

One Hell's Kitchen chef mixed up veal for filet mignon

One of the things you can expect when you look at a menu is that the options you're perusing are exactly what you'll receive should you order them. And why would that expectation fall in any other direction? It's printed on the menu, after all. One expectation no hungry patron should ever walk into an establishment feeling is the item they order through the server isn't what's written on the menu, and that's why contestant Krupa dropped the ball immensely hard when it came to her veal stew. Let's just say Ramsay couldn't "meat" her halfway.

Red team member Krupa stood alongside a blue team member to display their dishes to a panel of chefs, as well as host Ramsay. She nervously unveiled a veal stew, which one judge told her after his first bite, "Not surprisingly it tastes a hell of a lot better than it looks." This backhanded compliment was immediately countered by Ramsay, who gave Krupa one of the most embarrassing comments ever: "That, madam, is not veal. It's filet mignon." Once Ramsay called out Krupa on her massive blunder, the contestants waiting behind her dropped their jaws, and for good reason. Krupa, being a private chef, had no idea "what possessed me to grab the filet and not the veal." She claimed she was aware of the difference, but her awkward mistake said otherwise.

Hell's Kitchen saw chaos over beef Wellington

Chaos is a natural state of being when a high-profile kitchen is firing on all cylinders. Even when service is going smoothly on the floor, one look at the kitchen might convince you otherwise. Anyone who's worked in a busy restaurant knows that everyone is trying to keep the sinking ship afloat for another night and, as long as nothing absolutely insane happens, it's usually a manageable feat. However, the occasional bump in the road hits every kitchen and it can hit hard and fast, sending the whole operation into freefall. This is exactly what happened in one episode when a customer requested a rare beef Wellington. A freefall ensued, as did the immediate kitchen panic amongst contestants.

Contestant Brad, who was manning the beef Wellington station, wasn't exactly honest when it came to the temperature of the dishes. Although he assured his kitchen staff the beef would be done within two minutes, Ramsay wanted to get a visual preview of the end product. He asked Brad to turn over each piece, and lo and behold, they were charred black. Pointing to Brad, Ramsay promised him, "If you give me them [...] I'll crawl up your a** sideways!" Not exactly the sentiment you want from the man determining your future on the show. As Ramsay kicked the oven in anger, you could tell everyone around wanted to shrink into their metaphorical shells.