How Hell's Kitchen Producers Keep Contestants On Their Toes

The only rule Hell's Kitchen follows is that there are no rules in Hell's Kitchen. Well, that and you need to know how to cook scallops and a proper beef Wellington

Contestants who want to win the coveted top spot (and the title of executive chef at Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen Las Vegas eatery) work their way through weeks of challenges and pressure from the foul-mouthed chef. Turns out there's more to the show than the challenges the viewers see, like the blind taste challenge or the leftover challenge (via Screen Rant). Of course, producers are keenly aware that tension makes for the best reality TV moments, so they work hard to make sure contestants don't get too comfortable.

How do the producers keep the contestants on their toes (and make the show so, so watchable)? Tight lips and many, many surprises. Chef Ariel Malone, a contestant on the current season of Hell's Kitchen, says that those behind the scenes are hyper-aware that chefs who apply have most likely watched the show closely, hoping for any clues as to what to expect (via Delish).

How Hell's Kitchen's producers keep contestants guessing

"If we got a little too familiar, they'd wake us up two hours early," Malone said (via Delish). Other times, the producers seemed to deliberately mislead the contestants. "We thought we were going to BLT [Steakhouse] to eat, so we're all dressed up," Malone remembered. "I had six-inch heels on, and then, surprise! We're actually cooking a dish. I didn't get to change — they gave me kitchen shoes, since that's a safety hazard, but I wound up having to tie up the hem of my dress so I wouldn't trip on it."

Malone told the outlet that Hell's Kitchen films every other day for six weeks, with Sundays remaining consistent as an off day. "I didn't have a watch, but we usually woke up around 7 a.m. at the latest and were headed back to the dorms to make dinner or whatever around 9 or 10 p.m.," Malone explained.

Gordon Ramsay's reputation as a tough chef melted when the cameras stopped rolling, Malone said. "The first time we saw him out of the kitchen, he was like, 'Call me Gordon.' We said, 'yes, Chef, [but] we're not calling you Gordon.' He's been awarded so many Michelin stars — he's earned the title chef," said Malone.