Hell's Kitchen, the reality show for master chefs, started its fifth season this week. The show didn't hide the fact that two LGBT people were in the running this year: Wil, a gay quality-control chef from Illinois, and LA, a lesbian line cook from Las Vegas. Here's the first episode of the season, which aired Thursday. Thoughts (and spoilers) after the jump.
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I'm a big Hell's Kitchen junky. It's the only reality show I ever got into, mainly because there's no other show on the air where someone will get called a dumb shit for putting honey in ratatouille. (And when you really think about it, why would anyone put honey in ratatouille? It just doesn't make sense.) It mixes three of my passions - food, highbrow criticism, and drama - all into one show. What's not to love?
And I was excited when LA mentioned that she wasn't into men - queer people on the show! I also noticed that Pride pin on Wil. It was pretty cute how he got nervous explaining what it meant, especially since a producer probably asked him to wear it to show that there were queer contestants on HK.
Anyway, I'm disappointed Wil got the boot so early. It's hard to judge who's actually a good cook and who isn't on this show, since it's cut to make certain people look bad and others look good, and the audience can't taste anything these folks are making. But it did seem like there were others who were worse than he was, including Seth.
But it came down to that winning spirit. To borrow an observation Patricia Williams made over a decade ago, it's funny how gay men seem to always lack that unmeasurable quality. Williams was making a statement, though, about hiring practices that focus on unquantifiables and how they're often a cover for bias against minorities, although that seems to me to be one in particular that many gay men either don't have or overcompensate for.
Either way, LA is still around and she'll probably make the final 8 after Ramsey works his way through the riff-raff.