Since first debuting in 2005, Hell’s Kitchen has been entertaining audiences with fast cooking, intense challenges, and riveting drama. Regardless of the show’s revolving door of contestants that provides endless entertainment value, there is one clear star of the show that has skyrocketed it to fame: Chef Gordon Ramsay. Ramsay’s quick tongue, impressive skills, and natural camera chemistry have created a show that continues to delight 15 years later. Although the show is best known for Ramsay’s harsh critiques of the aspiring chefs work, there are several instances throughout the show’s history where the competitors have been able to impress Gordon himself. When it comes to five star dining, nothing beats a steak, and so this list is counting down the Top 10 Times Gordon Ramsay Loved a Steak on Hell’s Kitchen.
10. Ari Rosensen: Ramsay’s Perfection
One of the instances in which Ramsay can be found absolutely loving a streak was in a challenge designed to impress Ari Rosensen. Rosensen is best known as head chef of the restaurant Cut, in Beverly Hills, cooking some of the best steaks in the world. The chefs were challenged to impress not only Chef Ramsay, but steak guru Ari Rosensen himself. This alone is sure to leave any aspiring chef completely shaken, but considering other elements like a major time crunch, it’s amazing that Chef Ashley, the first one up to the task, was able to pull off such an incredibly well-cooked steak. Both Ramsay and Rosensen comment on the impressive cook on the steak, with Ramsay even using the word perfection! Say what Gordon?!?! Unfortunately, the steak was surrounded by a side dish of an under cooked pepper that lacked in the juicy flavor presented by the steak. However this failure allowed the steak to remain the star of the plate and helped Ashley win over two incredibly knowledgeable judges on the first attempt.
9. Ari Rosensen: Fun and Flavorful
After sampling one incredible steak, another competing chef was able to stun the judges. Immediately after first contender Ashley impressed judges Chef Rosensen and Ramsay with her steak, it was up to Ariel to see if she could live up to the high standard. Not only did she succeed in delivering a phenomenal steak, but it arguably topped the first contender on the list. Ariel’s steak was served with a beautiful accompaniment of side dishes that helped to accentuate the taste of the beef. Chef Ariel plated her steak with baby corn served with roasted and grilled garlic and poblano butter as well as spaghetti squash with fennel and a vinaigrette crafted from cippolini onions and bacon. If readers are thinking that this meal sounds absolutely mouthwatering, the judges completely agreed. The taste of this steak was pure bliss, with Ramsay stating that the temperature was spot on. To have a comment like that from Gordon in one of the most intense kitchens on the planet would be a true honor and surely one Ariel won’t likely forget.
8. Ari Rosensen: The Perfect Potato
The last of Ramsay’s phenomenal steak experiences with special guest Ari Rosensen, did not disappoint. As the head chefs were now in the final stages of the competition, it was to be expected that the quality should be incredibly high and able to meet the even higher expectations. The third meal that Chef Rosensen was able to taste during his visit to Hell’s Kitchen was arguably the most impressive in terms of a basic steak dinner. Kristen started her mouthwatering rib eye off with a grill before finishing it in a hot cast iron pan, which provides a beautiful crust to the rib eye, preserving the beautiful juices inside. Chef Rosensen comments on how the caramelization of the steak was absolutely beautiful. Chef Kristen was able to finish off her beautiful meal by serving it alongside a pairing of asparagus and a potato purée. Not only does the chef deliver absolute perfection in terms of the steak itself, but the sides are the perfect addition to the meal. A classic meal made to perfection, and Gordon certainly seemed to agree!
7. A Talented Tie Game!
It’s a rare and joyful moment on Hell’s Kitchen when two chefs in a head to head challenge are praised highly. With such a renowned, talented, and critical teacher in front of them, the chances of both chefs impressing is typically slim – and both chefs being granted points for their efforts is almost unheard of. Despite its rarity, Ariel, a two-time contender on this list, and Joe, were able to pull off the lofty goal. Serving two beautiful rib eyes with a Japanese fusion theme, the dishes were surprisingly different and yet equally delicious. Ariel served her ribeye over a noodle and bok choy salad which had Gordon thoroughly impressed. Surely feeling more nervous than before, especially considering Ramsay’s comments about being reminded of his time in Kyoto by Ashley’s dish, it was then time for Joe’s rib eye to be tasted. Taking a more basic approach, Joe served his rib eye grilled alongside a side of daikon radish. Surprisingly, Joe’s steak was equally as delicious as his competitor which caused Gordon to make an uncommon decision. Both teams were awarded a point for their tremendous efforts making for a rare moment on an intense reality show where everyone truly was happy with Gordon’s decision.
6. The Steak Siblings: A Perfected Pairing
Typically as contestants of the show are eliminated, the team aspect in the kitchen is removed, along with the red and blue jackets as the remaining chefs are provided with sleek black and white chefs coats. With a list of impressive chefs in front of him, Ramsay felt confident in inviting the owners of Omaha steaks, Bruce and Tom Simon. Considering that these brothers are the fifth generation of family members to take on the family business, it’s possible that these two have an even better understanding of steaks than Ramsay himself! This challenge was going to be particularly special as can be seen. Of the remaining six chefs, the brothers and Gordon would only taste the Top Three steaks based on visual presentation alone. This meant that the chefs needed to ensure that their steaks were not only going to taste amazing, the plating and cook of the steaks themselves also had to resemble perfection. Luckily for the chefs, all three of the chefs picked for their presentation were able to deliver phenomenal steaks in terms of both taste and temperature. The first up to the pass was Rose with a beautiful his and hers steak plate. The chefs loved the presentation plate with a large rib eye steak for the big eater, and a smaller pre-sliced filet mignon for the smaller eater in any loving pair. The dish was served with beautiful Swiss chard and potatoes as a classic side. The impressive char on the steak itself, the temperature, the cook, and the flavor of each element was able to impress not only the guest judges, but Gordon himself. With a plate like this, it’s easy to see that Gordon would be proud to serve or sample!
5. The Steak Siblings: The Polarizing Spice
The second steak served to the Omaha Steaks brothers, Bruce and Tom Simon, also joins the list of the top 10 times that Gordon loved a steak on Hell’s Kitchen. Although missing the mark only slightly in terms of her dry rub, the presentation and the look of Sade’s New York strip garnered praise. As the third choice in terms of visual presentation, Sade’s beautiful grill marks were able to guarantee her a seat in the second stage of this challenge: the taste test. Her dry rub of cinnamon, African pepper, Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper was polarizing among the two guest judges. Although Bruce Simon commented that the rub was something from outside his typical flavor profile, Tom Simon said that the cook and other aspects of the dish were beautiful enough to keep Sade’s steak a serious contender for the number one spot in his eyes. Although the other contenders in the series were happy to comment on her unusual dry rub, alas their steaks were not in the top three even in terms of visual presentation and therefore never would have a chance of even making the cut. Be bold and try something new because who knows how far it might take you! Especially considering Gordon still valued this steak as a phenomenal attempt. Beauty is in the taste of the beholder!
4. The Steak Siblings: Suckers for a Sear
The final steak that special guests Bruce and Tom Simon had the pleasure of experiencing was that of Chef Santos. It’s possible that in this case the best was saved for last as the compliments that Chef Santos received were absolutely glowing. Bruce Simon gave comments like “fabulous” and “cooked perfectly”. When one is in a steak challenge and is able to receive such high praise from a true beef connoisseur, it is easy to see why Chef Ramsay would have been both pleased and proud of the contenders, especially Chef Santos. Bruce’s brother Tom had equally outstanding reviews regarding the steak, which is bound to make this one of the highlights of Chef Santos’ cooking career. To be praised by such well regarded individuals is bound to boost the confidence of an already outstanding chef. On many occasions when Gordon has invited special guests to the kitchen, they have been less than impressed by the quality of service, leaving Gordon himself frustrated. It’s truly a statement to the skill of the chefs when both the guests and Ramsay himself are left completely satisfied.
3. Porterhouse Bliss
One of the most fun challenges to appear on Hell’s Kitchen is the Throne Challenge. These chefs were all tasked with serving a perfectly cooked steak. They were provided different cuts of meat and were able to get creative in terms of flavor profiles and side dishes but one thing was certain: the true challenge would depend on the cook and the taste of the steak itself. Starting off the challenge, T provided a flavorful steak that had Chef Ramsay completely impressed allowing her to happily claim the first spot on the throne. Although T’s steak was tasty, when Megan arrived at the pass after a few horribly prepared dishes, Gordon was hoping that she would have something that would impress. The chef produced a porterhouse steak cooked in a red wine demi glaze with a side of mushrooms. Doesn’t that sound delicious? Considering Chef Ramsay’s first question involved asking Chef Megan how she got the melt in your mouth quality to the steak, it was clear that this chef had impressed the most important person in the room. Megan provides a perfectly hilarious response describing the tender ways in which she slowly made love to the steak while preparing it. With her phenomenally prepared porterhouse, Megan was able to win the Game of Thrones and thoroughly impress Gordon himself- the true prize of the day.
2. Florentine to the Finish Line
A fan favorite in terms of challenges must be the direct head to head combat that chefs undergo during the “red team vs. blue team” challenges. Some of these games can be downright silly, but the chefs are – or desperately trying to – create something extraordinary to impress themselves, their team, their competitors and most importantly – Gordon Ramsay himself. In one of the most iconic red vs blue taste test challenges, Chef Chad from the Red Team and Chef Manda from the Blue Team were tasked with creating a few beautiful dishes out of the often disregarded flank steak. While Chef Manda’s dish left Ramsay wondering where her head was in the kitchen, Chef Chad turned out what Gordon deemed as a perfectly cooked protein. Chef Chad had taken the lowly flank steak and turned into a delicious dish that Gordon actually seemed pleased to be able to take part in tasting. Chad was feeling particularly confident with his Italian background in cooking and wanted to bring that forward in his dish. He served his flank steak Florentine style with cannelloni beans, truffles and a blood orange gremolata. While the plate might not have been the most beautiful on the presentation scale, the flavors were a hit and the attention to detail in the recipe is why Gordon loved this steak so much, winning not only the challenge for his team that week but also a spot on this list.
1. Most Expensive Doesn’t Mean Most Flavorful
As mentioned earlier, the Chef’s Throne challenge is one of the most fun challenges for viewers as it provides true insight into the exact thoughts of Gordon Ramsay. There are no special guests whose opinions he may have to consider and he is able to truly articulate himself without the pressures of an ongoing dinner service. It is for this reason that Michelle’s seared flank steak has been selected as the number one time Gordon has loved a steak on Hell’s Kitchen. Michelle was the last contestant to approach Chef Ramsay with her dish. Having been served two beautiful steaks prior to hers, Michelle had something to prove. Considering she had also just witnessed steaks being served both raw and overcooked, it’s imaginable that Michelle would have had more than a few butterflies when presenting her colorful and flavorful plate. To start Michelle seasoned and seared her flank steak with salt, pepper and chili powder. She served the beautifully cooked protein alongside a mango salsa and a black bean purée giving the entire dish a Mexican flare. Whenever Gordon begins his comments with, “Wow, that’s delicious!” both the chefs and the audience members at home breathe a sigh of relief. Not only did Michelle’s dish impress Gordon enough to receive such beautiful praise, but it landed her as the winner of the challenge and the final keeper of the throne. It came down to the fact that Gordon was so impressed with Michelle’s abilities to take one of the cheapest cuts of meat available, and turn it into one of the tastiest steaks he’s experienced. If only more of us had Michelle’s thrifty and tasty talents!