About the Program
Hell’s Kitchen is a reality television show that uses a progressive elimination format to narrow down a field of twelve to twenty aspiring chefs to a single winner over the course of one season. The U.S. version of Hell’s Kitchen follows the format of the UK version though the show is recorded and not performed live, nor is there audience participation in the elimination of chefs. The show is produced at Hell’s Kitchen, a modified warehouse in Los Angeles that includes the restaurant, dual kitchen facilities and a dormitory where the chefs reside while on the show. They are also given knife sets that they get to keep, regardless of their progress.
At the start of each season, Gordon Ramsay breaks the chefs into two teams. Most often this is based on gender, with women on the red team and men on the blue; each is given a chef’s jacket with panels of that color on the shoulders. The chefs remain on these teams throughout most of the competition; Ramsay may reassign a chef to the other team if the team numbers are uneven or if he feels the chef will perform better on the other team. Each episode typically includes a challenge and a dinner service, followed by the elimination of a chef. When only five or six chefs remain, they are brought into a single common team wearing black-panelled jackets. From this point onward, they compete individually to be one of the final two.