Chef Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen” and the importance of
Communication, Teamwork, Praise, and Leadership that Earns Respect
By Dan Watt, Fitness Trainer and Author
For years I had heard about Hell’s Kitchen and seen Gordon Ramsay on talk shows. I didn’t really pay attention until became available on Prime Video. I decided to see what it was all about.
As I started watching Season One of Hell’s Kitchen my impression was that Chef Ramsay, who once played professional soccer, is one of those male soccer players who crumble to the ground, fakes being hurt and cries as he points an accusing finger at the other team. I noticed he was allowed to swear at the contestants but if they swore back they were chastised. It didn’t seem he understood if you dish it out you have to be able to take it.
His attitude was also similar to how I imagine a captain of an ancient galleon would behave: terrible and all powerful. As I continued to watch Season One and other seasons I realized the bathrooms must have a lot of liquid soap for Chef Ramsay and the contestants. If I owned a swear jar on the show I would be very rich right now. However, it’s better to relieve tension by getting it out by swearing than holding it in and exploding in violence. The contestants get to express their true thoughts and feeling in separate interviews, suggesting Chef Ramsay isn’t afraid to be criticized outside of the kitchen.
The winning teams are always rewarded with amazing prizes that include visiting restaurants, helicopter and plane rides, and numerous activities, such as surfing. Chef Ramsay becomes Gordon outside of Hell’s Kitchen and a much more enjoyable person to be around. The prizes have at least two important purposes. See what fun you can have if you work hard and succeed, and an introduction to fine dining with the introduction of wine and food tasting. A good palate is extremely important to Chef Ramsay when he’s looking for a chef to run a restaurant.
Chef Ramsay also educates the contestants (and the viewer if they pay attention) by demonstrating how to make different dishes, such as crêpes. He also shows his love and respect of the cooking industry by bringing in guest chefs to judge the food, and food critics to be included during dinner services. Fire fighters, military personnel, kids and others are invited to breakfast or lunch, and in some of the shows, food trucks are used to serve construction workers. There’s an interesting point made about what foods to serve; knowing your customers preferences leads to better sales and customer returns. Type of work, what city, and time of day all can have a bearing on a customer’s food preferences.
For those who choose to look beyond the drama there is a great deal to learn watching Hell’s Kitchen. As Chef Ramsay says in one episode, great chefs are imaginative, think on their feet, and understand the importance of combination, execution, and marriage of foods. Using that knowledge they are also willing to take chances.
The importance of having a good palate and tasting food to make sure it’s the right food being served is drilled in constantly.
Chef Ramsay has contestants wear blindfolds and headphones than gives them a variety of foods to taste in a competition between teams. The point is a chef must have a great palate and be able to taste the differences between foods such as beef and chicken, and distinguish one cheese from another.
The contestants need to work as a team to prepare a plate of food properly. That means calling out cooking times constantly to each other. The contestants need to know how long it takes to cook chicken, beef, and pork to perfection compared to how long it takes to cook potatoes, broccoli, and garnishes properly so all of it can be served at the same time.
As a dreaded vegetarian I greatly appreciate that Chef Ramsay demands certain foods are not cooked together. He also makes it clear mixing foods can be a health issue because of potential food allergies. If food isn’t cooked correctly he’ll call the contestants up and tell them in the most colourful language why it isn’t. If the contestants can ignore the yelling and name calling they’ll learn a tremendous amount about proper food preparation.
I also appreciate that he has contestants who lose a competition sort out recyclable food waste from non-recyclable and makes them aware of how much food is wasted when it can’t be served because it’s under or over cooked.
His decisions don’t seem to be based on who is the most experienced but on other qualities. I second guessed whose jacket he would take and tell to leave Hell’s Kitchen until I started to notice a pattern. He’s looking for who improves the most, who has the best palate, who works the best with others, who shows the greatest leadership qualities, and who shows the most passion to succeed.
The show is a reminder that during busy times there isn’t always time for niceties. Minds are racing to remember orders, and how long to cook food at what temperature in unison with the other cooks’ preparations. Hearts are pounding with exertion to get the orders delivered on time. However, it’s also imperative to commend those who do a good job, show improvement, and to let go of anger and frustration once the orders are done. The swearing is for effect on the TV Show. Swear words will escape out of frustration or exhilaration but should be avoided using towards another individual. However, it’s better than bottling up to let out as violence towards someone else, especially an innocent bystander.
The four vital factors I’ve been reminded of by Chef Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen are: communication, teamwork, praise when deserved, and a leadership quality that earns respect.
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A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part One Blog three)
“I asked her,” Oli says with frustration, “I swear that one is the child of Lust. She got drunk on rum and admits she may have opened herself willingly to Captain Peg leg’s crew. It’s Janice I worry about. One of Captain Peg leg’s younger men decided she was willing when she was not. “Wheel Turn” Sylvia stopped him before he could get on top of her.” As she worried would happen the Captain once again spits into the water.
“Master Navigator Jo Anne,” she hears the Captain call out with a voice full of icy decision. Their Navigator ties back her long brunette hair with a blue ribbon as she saunters towards them. Oli notices how the Navigator already has her hand wrapped around the hilt of her rapier. The hand guard is a marvel of coiled metal.
“She sleeps with that rapier,” Oli says, hoping it will dwindle down the deathly coldness she feels emitting from the Captain. “I asked her if I could try it to see how smoothly it wields. She took a step back and partially withdrew it. I won’t ask her again after that.”
“It was her father’s,” the Captain says, “the last reminder of him from Earth. We’re off to see Captain Peg leg,” the Captain says to both her and the Navigator. “Our dear Helmswoman, “Wheel Turn” Synthia, will be in command.” Oli follows the gaze of the Captain as she peers over the railing of the fo’c’sle where a female figure is slouched against the base of the foremast with her right hand still holding a bottle of rum. “Or our Master-at-Arms “Dizzying Blade” Sadie.” Oli once again follows the Captain’s gaze. This time towards the centre of the deck, where their Master-at-Arms is sprawled against the capstan. In her right hand she is grasping the hilt of her rapier and in the other a jug of rum.
“Thelma,” the Captain calls to the girl sewing the battens into the extra mainsail.
Oli is always amazed how Thelma’s skin constantly glows with sensuality now that’s she’s a young woman.
“Yes, Oh Captain my Captain,” Thelma replies while continuing to sew.
“Your encounter with Captain Peg leg and his crew, was it consensual?”
“Aye Captain, it was. Not all seeds sown grow. So I can’t rely on a single sower can I?”
Oli is as surprised as the Captain by Thelma’s nonchalant words.
“You want to get pregnant?” the Captain asks.
“What about the Ship Builder,” Oli blurts out. She wishes she hadn’t as the Captain is now giving her a dark look.
“You wouldn’t know this because you moved out of the hold years ago,” Thelma says to her. “But he’s like an absent father, the kind who is always around. We’ve known him since we were children and never has he abused any of us. I thought he was just arrogant, only ever speaking to the Navigator and Captain.” Oli didn’t miss the sarcasm. “However,” Thelma continues, “when the Captain told me to sew up a torn sail with poor instruction–.”
“I was never good at it,” the Captain interrupts.
“The Ship Builder came over to me, and in his deep, hesitant voice, kindly showed me how. I’ve been excellent ever since. Also, where he’s missing a finger is creepy. How do you only lose that finger—it makes no sense.”
Oli gasps at the sudden paleness on the Captain’s face.
“So you want to get pregnant?” the Captain asks regaining her composure.
“I do. I want to sail with the Pirate Queen again.”
“You don’t like it with us?” Oli can hear the hurt in the Captain’s voice.
“It’s more I don’t just want to have a baby I also want to be around them.”
“Well, by the time we reach the Pregnancy Ship we’ll know if that’s to be or not,” the Captain says. It’s the first time Oli has seen the Captain flustered. “By the way, until the Helmswoman or Master-at-arms wakes, you’re in charge.”
“Lovely,” Thelma replies.
A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates! (Part One Blog One)
It’s dawn after a saturnalia night. Within a cove two young women stand side by side on the forecastle of a small galleon. Nearby are other, larger galleons. The woman on the left is shorter and lithe with strength. Her unruly black hair is tied up with a red ribbon in a wild pile on top of her head. She’s wearing a black knee length studded leather jacket and a worn azure cotton shirt underneath. Her charcoal trousers are tucked under sturdy knee high boots. The other woman is wearing a black tricorn hat. She has on faded black linen trousers and a dull bourbon waistcoat that covers the egg white cotton shirt underneath. Both women have sheathed rapiers.
“Did you enjoy the party last night?” Captain Alejandra, the woman with the tricorn hat, asks Oli One Eye, the First Mate and Minstrel.
“Oh, it was fascinating,” First Mate Olanis “Oli” Morgan replies. “Master Jo Anne,” she continues nodding at the woman standing at the base of the bowsprit, “and I went to Tristan’s galleon Unbroken.”
“Did you bring your mandolin?”
“I did,” Oli replies. “Tristan and his crew of all men were nothing but gracious. Yet none showed any attraction towards us. I think it’s the first time I’ve been somewhere where the men have longer eyelashes than I do, and are much prettier.”
“Did he tell you his story?” The Captain asks.
“About Barthadrow capturing him when he was a young boy?” she asks in reply.
“Yes,” the Captain says morosely.
“Our Navigator, Master Jo Anne, and I drank fine brandy with him in his cabin until late into the night. In the whispers of a childish sounding voice he told us his story. Lucky I have good ears or I wouldn’t have gotten it all. He said when he was just a boy Barthadrow told him what a wonderful singing voice he has. And since he seems to be effeminate anyways he was going to have a special procedure done. While he was sleeping in the hull of Barthadrow’s ship Corrupta with the other children two of Barthadrow’s crewmembers covered his mouth with a cloth. The next day his groin was wrapped in bandages. They had castrated him.”
“He has a reason to want revenge on Barthadrow.”
Brought to you by Dan Watt (author of Brackish and the soon to be released epic fantasy adventure BARD) and Taylor Norris (co-author of Rita Walker and Rita Walker: Australia).
Medieval Rapier by Fire & Steel: http://fireandsteel.ca/
Just a little while ago I was looking at different agents and one wrote that she would love a story about female pirates. Also not too long I finished reading Samuel Bawlf’s “The Secret Voyage of Sir Francis Drake”. This all culminated in me talking to Taylor Norris (co-author of Rita Walker, Rita Walker: Australia) about writing a female pirate story.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl is one of my favourite movies. I remember Joshamee (Kevin McNally) introducing Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to his new crew. When Jack stopped at Anamaria (Zoe Saldana), who is also a captain, I thought who is she? In the next movie I looked for her but that was the last Pirates of the Caribbean, Zoe Saldana was in. Since then she has become Queen of the Universe.
Although I can’t use Zoe Saldana’s image nor directly use the name Anamaria I am determined to continue Zoe Saldana’s ruling of the galaxy. Captain Alejandra is the captain of the Nagua, and she looks suspiciously similar to Zoe Saldana.
There’s also a Japanese female professional wrestler that influenced the idea for the story. Kairi Sane is often seen dressed as a pirate before her matches.
A Motley Sisterhood of Pirates song!:
Lost on land
At home at sea
Where the hills are liquid
And the mountains roll
We’re a raucous, wild sisterhood
We mock everyone including ourselves
But harm any one of us and your days are doomed
At dawn we groan at all the work, to do
By noon we’re laughing
And at night, with a cup of rum to keep us warm,
We sit on the deck in a circle singing
As First Mate One Eye Oli’s plays her Mandolin
Rita Walker: Australia (Blog Sixteen and Conclusion) by Dan Watt and Taylor Norris
Tom Paxton – Whose Garden Was This? (Live 1971)
“It won’t just be the Australian government and businesses that will be watching this conference but also many governments around the globe,” Aurora is saying from the front passenger seat to Rita and Zsofia.
“Do you know Professors Bappy and Jules?” Rita asks.
“Don’t tell me those two blokes are involved,” Oliver says in a voice full of disgust. “Whatever you do don’t agree to meet either of them for drinks. Whatever they offer you whether food or drink-wise it’s probably spiked with Ecstasy.”
“They are most certainly are going to be there,” Rita replies with a frustrated sigh.
At the entrance to the University both Aurora and Oliver hug Rita and Zsofia. “Let us know when you’re done,” Aurora says before she and Oliver drive away.
“I feel like we’re going into a dream or battle,” Zsofia says with her game face on.
“Just a conference,” Rita says in a shaky voice.
Inside they meet Merindah. Like them she’s dressed professionally. Rita notices that Merindah’s clothes are the colours of the University. A red blouse and blue pants with gold stripes. “Ready?” Merindah asks.
“No,” Rita and Zsofia say at the same time then laugh.
Together they walk down the long hallway with the ceiling so high Rita still thinks it’s meant for giants; if not from the past then perhaps the future.
The conference room is modern with a round table at the centre. Rita sees a number of women and men already seated with folded name cards facing out. They all have intent stares and wear business suits. Rita gives a sigh of relief; Iluka is among them. Directly across from where she and Zsofia are to sit are Professors Bappy and Jules.
“We owe Aurora for the blouses and slacks we’re wearing,” Zsofia whispers to her.
“We owe both her and Oliver a great deal of gratitude,” Rita whispers back. “And if this works so does the rest of the planet.” Rita’s blouse is semi-translucent white on purpose. She wants to make sure the two rainbow snakes are at least partially visible.
“You’re by the globe maker,” Merindah tells them.
“Let us get started,” Professor Bappy says. “Unlike my cohort Professor Jules I do think we need to be concerned about the environment.” Rita is intrigued at how smooth Bappy speaks. “However, I fear the financial cost is too great.”
“That’s why we need governments and businesses to work together,” Rita says.
“Each country should deal with its own problems,” Professor Jules says with a grumble as he sits with his arms crossed over his chest.
“On March 11, 2011 an 8.9-magnitude earthquake struck Japan causing a tsunami and affecting around 805 km of its coastline,” Zsofia says. “Up to eighteen million tonnes of debri from that earthquake was estimated to land on Canada’s west coast by 2014.”
“What does that have to do with today’s meeting? And remember I’m very educated in environmental issues,” Professor Bappy throws in.
Rita smiles as Zsofia leans forward and says, “That means, what happens in one place effects another place on Earth. Australia’s use of coal is affecting air, ground and water causing illness and death.”
“Now you’re attacking Australia! This is nonsense,” Professor Jules shouts out as he stands up and slaps his hands onto the table.
Zsofia leans farther forward. “We’re in Australia so we should include it,” she replies.
“Plastic is another concern,” Rita says, intentionally changing the subject.
“Are we here to talk about plastic?” Professor Bappy asks sarcastically.
“We’re here to discuss the environment,” Rita replies with a soothing voice. “Almost all countries are polluting the environment with plastic waste. Too much of it is entering the ocean creating plastic islands. Renewable, recyclable, environmental friendly energy and products are needed.”
“Businesses will shut down if governments enforce these changes,” Professor Bappy says in a very paternal voice.
“People will be out of work,” Professor Jules shouts out.
“Absolutely not,” Zsofia says. “Governments and businesses can work with universities and colleges to make changes smooth and efficient.”
“And cost tax payers an exorbitant amount of money to make these changes,” Professor Jules says with a guffaw.
“The idea of collaborating,” Rita says with more calm than she feels, “is that the transition to environmentally friendly energy and products becomes an easy transition. Jobs aren’t lost their replaced and healthy individuals think clearer. Less toxins in the air, ground, and water means less stress on the health system. For the companies that need assistance for the changeover taxpayers, and such the government, can afford to financially assist.”
“And for businesses that refuse to change?” Professor Jules says with a snarl.
“There will be penalties, perhaps even shut downs,” Zsofia says. “But the majority of businesses are willing to make changes to make an environmentally friendly Earth.”
“What’s to stop businesses from buying environmentally friendly technology or companies that create the technology and shutting them down?” It’s the first time Iluka has spoken up.
“Laws need to be implemented to make such happenings illegal,” Zsofia replies. “Normally a project is non-disclosure until a paper is written. A special government department should be created, if it hasn’t already, to over-ride non-disclosure deals and stop the destruction of knowledge.”
Rita stands up and turns on the light sabre like device. A globe of the Earth appears. She expands it with her hands. “When it comes to developing environmentally safe energy and products we need to collaborate as a planet, not just individual countries. We need to share ideas and technologies. Each environment has its own solutions. A country’s natural resources should be used to replace coal and plastics and other environmentally damaging products. In other words there isn’t a single answer but many.”
Back in her room at the University, Rita gathers up the few items that are hers. Zsofia has gone with Merindah to clean out her room. Later Zsofia will head back to Canada while she’ll meet up with Marlo. Her door opens and Professor Bappy and Jules enter.
“No one will heed what you said today Sheila,” Professor Bappy says.
“They will,” she replies. She knows that you have to believe in something to make it happen.
“Those symbols on your chest and on your belly won’t save you,” Professor Jules says. “We’ve corrupted the Dreamtime so it Dilga’s powers will arrive too late.”
Rita sees a familiar tall female figure walk by her open door but the professors don’t seem to notice. “Shall I call you Bamapana and Julana?” she asks.
“Whatever you want lover,” Julana says with a sneer as he steps closer.
“Do you know what I am?” Rita asks as the colour of her pupils start to change.
Julana takes a step back and bumps into the tall form of Bamapana.
Bamapana starts to open the door wider to escape when he trips over something.
A giant snake the colour of the rainbow slithers over him.
Rita places her hands overhead and presses her palms together. “Back to the Dreamtime for you,” she says as her body changes.
Blue Mountain Jenolan Caves background pic by Peter Samuel with Rita Walker body makeup by @amasonart Alannah Mason, model Taylor Norris, picture of model by Dan Watt
“We’re going to present this as something the committee wants to be involved with, not a threat, so it should go over great!”
Rita Walker: Australia (Blog Fifteen) by Dan Watt and Taylor Norris
Ooderoo Noonuccal (November 3, 1920 to September 6, 1993) is an Aboriginal Australian poet. Here is one link to All One Race and her other poetry: https://www.poetrylibrary.edu.au/poets/noonuccal-oodgeroo/poems/all-one-race-0719001
Rita sits in her empty classroom at the end of the day and massages her temples. It’s the fourth week of teaching and none of her clients are elementals or from the Dreamtime. They’re all interested in sustainability but prefer to debate each other instead of working as a team. Zsofia steps into her room first.
“Brought you some coffee,” Zsofia says placing the steaming mug on Rita’s desktop.
“I don’t think most of the population cares about recyclable, biodegradable, renewable products or energy,” Rita says with lament and frustration in her voice. “We have biochemists, and a number of engineers in the class yet most won’t speak up about what to do for the environment.”
“A good manager gets people to work for them willingly,” Zsofia says with a chuckle. “Take their knowledge and use it to get government and businesses to collaborate. Today’s going to be rough for you Rita. We have to discuss what happens if businesses refuse to initiate environmentally focused practices. Also we need to go over the repercussions to buying out companies with environmentally sustainable technology and then destroying the new technology or making it impossible to use.”
Rita rubs her temples harder. She takes a long sip of the coffee. This is what we have so far: “If we’re talking coal and natural gas the procedure is to invest in multiple technological solutions. That could be better filtration, adding non CO2 producing biodegradables, and the gradual replacement of coal and natural gas by reusable energy. As for plastics. Micro plastics, and plastics in the water and land need to be removed and either stored or re-used. At the same time biodegradable substitutions should be developed. It will be important to get replacements from a variety of sources, preferably the parts of plants currently considered waste by-product. The other reason is a variety of sources means one substitute will not hinder the growth of others. We don’t want deforestation or the loss of food crops in order to grow one type of plant to use as a plastic substitute.”
“That sums up the technology,” Zsofia says taking a sip of her own coffee. “What we want to do with businesses is introduce more environmentally friendly substitutes for what they currently have. The changeover should be financially viable, even if that means the government needs to supplement the business while it starts the changeover. We also want job security for the current employees. For businesses who are willing to change there will need to be financial penalties that may lead to forced closure. We also need to make sure there are government policies that protect environmental technologies from companies purchasing them then refusing to use them or from destroying the technology.”
“Do you think this will get accepted?” Rita asks. She just wants to get the next two weeks over with now and meet up with Marlo.
“Thank you for being here,” Rita says giving her friend a powerful hug.
Blue Mountain Jenolan Caves background pic by Peter Samuel with Rita Walker body makeup by @amasonart Alannah Mason, model Taylor Norris, picture of model by Dan Watt