The chef explains how the show is staying fresh in season 17
The only real downside to being on the air for 17 years is finding new ways to stay fresh. So for the newest season of Hell’s Kitchen, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay decided to finally try something he had previously resisted: an all-star season.
“Over the last three years, it’s been the most-requested thing: Can you do an all-stars season?” Ramsay tells EW. “I didn’t think they were of great significance, but it just goes to show we have fans who were dying to see individuals given a second chance. So we had a creative meeting and started flashing back on some of the characters and talent we’ve had over the last 10 years. We put that together in the mixing pot and came up with an incredible talented 16 to come back and compete, not just for a prize like any other but something we’ve never done before: To become the Head Chef for the first-ever unique Hell’s Kitchen restaurant in Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. It was a big decision, but if we’re going to come back with an all-star season we need an all-star prize.”
That means every contestant on this season has been on Hell’s Kitchen before, and knows the ropes. Plus, they’ve all been augmenting their skills out in the real world since the last time they were on the show. As a result, competition in season 17 is due to be even more intense than ever before.
“When they first came into the competition here, they had a decent skill and a nice position. But some of these are coming back now as legitimate chefs. Some have run their own businesses,” Ramsay says. “So it was a melting pot of a multi-talented superego. And then for me, it was about the ones who just missed out on that finale or just missed out on having that door open. So it was a tough call, but all were brought back for the right reason. And my God, how exciting are they when you see them? They gave me a breath of fresh air. They played mind games with each other from day one. They’re super feisty, super competitive, and they wouldn’t let their guard down.”
Season 17 of Hell’s Kitchen premieres Friday night at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.