Hell's Kitchen

TV review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Hell's Kitchen TV Poster Image
Top chef serves up insults in tense reality show.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 17 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Due to the show's competetive nature, contestants are sometimes unsportsmanlike and conniving.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The chef uses humiliation and anger to motivate contestants. He also praises success, though much less frequently.

Violence

The chef pushes plates of food into contestants' chests. Cooks sometimes cut and burn themselves accidently.

Sex

Female contestants occasionally appear in skimpy bathing suits or dresses.

Language

The chef's insults are full of foul language, and the contestants curse often as well. All severe cursing is bleeped and mouths are fuzzed over. Words like "hell" and "damn" are frequent.

Consumerism

Gordon Ramsay is himself a commodity, and sometimes the show plays this up. Shots of his magazine covers and restaurants appear occasionally.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Contestants drink and smoke when they're off kitchen duty.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this competitive reality show features a foul-mouthed chef who regularly insults and humiliates the contestants. Those who remain calm under pressure and work through the pain of insults, cuts, and burns are rewarded with an occasional compliment from the raging chef. When out of the kitchen, the contestants drink, smoke, and linger in the hot tub wearing revealing attire.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Written byAnonymous August 18, 2012

Hell's Kitchen U.S. Shines!

9 out of 10! Ramsay's best show!
Parent of a 17 year old Written byThemaxieriddle March 4, 2011
Teen, 14 years old Written byjazzyjammrz April 9, 2008

OK people...

I love this show! it's hilarious, though not for little little kids who reapeat every word they hear. Ramsay's nicer outside the kitchen. Like Simo... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byCommon sense LST June 16, 2017

This is actually a reality TV show, not a cooking show.

This is something that you should definitely not watch with your young children. Teens and up can handle it, but people under 14 should not watch this show. The... Continue reading

What's the story?

In HELL'S KITCHEN, 12 aspiring chefs on two teams compete against each other in a restaurant kitchen while top chef Gordon Ramsay hurls vitriolic insults at them. The winning contestant will become the executive chef at a very upscale restaurant, so the stakes are high. After each evening of service, Ramsay chooses one of the two teams as the loser, and one person from that team must select two teammates for possible elimination. Ramsay then chooses which of those two unlucky nominees goes home -- a step obviously designed to provoke tension and resentment among the contestants, who live together in dorms connected to the kitchen.

Is it any good?

Ramsay's British restaurants are top-tier, and he has expectations to match -- outside of the kitchen he's a nice guy, but inside he's brutal. Those who've worked in professional kitchens know that his intense demeanor isn't unusual for chefs under stress, but he surely plays it up for the cameras. Ramsay rages at every mistake, calls the cooks names, and sends back plate after plate of attempted dishes. Some nights the kitchen turns out zero entrees, despite being open for hours.

But if you can handle Ramsay's rudeness and the annoying reality-show elements (constant replaying of key moments, odd editing, and overly dramatic music), the action is nail-bitingly delicious. Many of the competitors have professional cooking experience, with a few exceptions, but even the tenured folks have a hard time acclimating to such intense circumstances -- tears of frustration, explosions of temper, thrown plates, and more emotional moments season the action. The contestants work as hard as they possibly can to impress the chef and turn out edible food, but in order to succeed, they must work together, stay calm, and avoid the wrath of Ramsay -- never an easy task. By watching Hell's Kitchen, teens with any illusions about celebrity chefdom will get a glimpse into the harsh realities of the professional kitchen.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about work environments. What makes a good or bad boss? What drives employees to succeed -- gentle support or the desire to impress an exacting leader?

  • How would teens react to a boss like Ramsay? How have adults managed a difficult employer? Do different working environments call for different types of leadership?

  • What parallels can teens draw between tough bosses and tough teachers?

  • Does the world of professional cooking appeal to teens or parents?

TV details

For kids who love cooking and food

Our editors recommend

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