What All Successful Hell's Kitchen Contestants Have In Common

Let's be honest, Chef Gordon Ramsay can be pretty tough in the kitchen. He isn't one to hold back when letting contestants know his brutally honest opinions (and insults) when judging dishes on his FOX reality competition series, Hell's Kitchen. That said, the chefs competing need more than just hard cooking skills to get through the competition unscathed. Stamina, consistency, determination, and persistence are key qualities to maintain in order to make it through to the final round of the show.

But aside from being insanely skilled and passionate about cooking, every successful Hell's Kitchen contestant needs to have this specific quality, according to Hell's Kitchen Judge Christina Wilson, and it's just as important as being able to whip up something Gordon-Ramsay-approved. In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Judge Wilson explains that one of the most obvious ways to tell if a contestant has winner potential is to see how they react to constructive feedback.

How successful contestants shouldn't act, according to Christina Wilson

Constructive feedback is supposed to be exactly that: constructive, informative insight to learn from and take into consideration for similar situations in the future. Alas, not everyone reacts to constructive feedback the same way as others, and according to Judge Wilson, "You can size people up pretty quickly" based on their responses.

So, what shouldn't a contestant do if they want to succeed on the show? Judge Wilson reflects on the contestants that didn't perform as well as others and says many of them got "really defensive and shut down because they just don't know how to take feedback like that in the moment." Besides reacting defensively, other less successful contestants were sometimes quick to come up with excuses for why they performed poorly. "'I was going to do that' or no, 'Marisa's the one that made the eggplant today,' [they] just have to have something to say back," she adds.

A contestant who took the criticism in stride

"You have your people that'll soak [the criticism] in and, 'yes, chef, okay.' And they will apply it and move on," Judge Wilson tells Mashed. "Who I find is most successful are the ones that are, 'yes, chef,' absorb the feedback and then are able to apply it and grow significantly throughout their time on the show." Of course, that second part, being able to improve, is also important. Simply being able to take the heat doesn't mean you stay in Hell's Kitchen

A contestant that managed to keep her cool under pressure and absorb that feedback? Rosann Fama. Fama competed in season four of Hell's Kitchen, and there's no question that her ability to maintain a respectful, calm demeanor made her stand out among other more irate contestants. For example, in one episode, Ramsay dishes out some pretty harsh insults, like calling Fama "pathetic," to which she responds, "OK, my mistake, Chef" (via YouTube). Ramsay then tells her to "f*** off" because she was "confused over a vegetable." Regardless of Ramsay's harsh criticism, Fama took the criticism in stride and ended up coming in eighth place in the competition (via Reality TV World).