Hell's Kitchen recap: episode 1

Jess McGuire

Welcome, reality TV friends, to the very first Yahoo7 Be recap of Hell’s Kitchen! I’m sure we’re all pleased to be here, and eager to learn which celebrities will soon enjoy the privilege of being shouted at by a world renowned chef. So without any further ado, and as the lights ominously flicker on and illuminate the restaurant kitchen we’ll soon come to know all too well, let’s get cracking!

The pots are already steaming away in the empty Hell’s Kitchen, presumably manned by the ghosts of celebrities from previous seasons.

And who will our first celebrity be this evening?

The face of a woman who has no idea what she’s doing there, AND I LOVE IT.

Why, it’s Bachie alumni turned radio presenter Sam Frost! She enters the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant doors trepidatiously, and whispers nervously, “I feel sick” — so taking it all very seriously then.

She admits to the camera that she’s more than aware of Marco’s reputation as a “very phenomenal chef” and admits he’s highly likely to give her a hard time, which will still probably be a more enjoyable experience for her than hosting breakfast on 2Day FM.

Oh, and she tells us her meal of choice is “eating tuna from a can”. We’ve all been there, girl! #studentcuisine
Sam declares that waiting there by herself for other contestants to appear is “like waiting for a date” which is undoubtedly something she’s familiar with given her history on dating shows.

But she’s not alone for long because the doors open once again and it’s…A British guy I don’t recognise!

out pours a random mix of consonants and vowels*

This is a man called Gaz Beadle who apparently stars in a British reality show called Geordie Shore that unfortunately I’ve never seen so I can’t really give you any insight into Gaz, other than to say with the authority of someone who has spent a fair chunk of time in the UK that Geordies are awesome but to the untrained ear, their accent can occasionally seem unintelligible.

May I present Exhibit A, pop singer and beloved Geordie celebrity Cheryl Cole promoting L’Oreal.

“Week? Lump? Layflass? Ah fund an unsah to aww hah pras.”

It literally took me six months to translate that ad when it came out.

“Are you first in?”, Gaz asks the only other person in the room. A promising display of insight!
Before these two reality tv stars can go raid the restuarant bar to stock up on Dutch courage, the door opens once again, and…


The face of a man who has wronged me personally.

Issa enters the room. You may recognise him from the game show The Chase, where he stars as the ‘Supernerd’ and battles it out against hopeful Australian quizzers in the hope of stopping them winning money from Channel 7’s coffers WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED TO ME WHEN I FACED HIM ON ‘THE CHASE’ LAST YEAR, ISSA YOU’RE A MONSTER I HATE THAT YOU KNOW MORE ABOUT ROCK FORMATIONS IN THE BALTIC SEA THAN ME, DAMN YOU TO HELL.

Just kidding. He DID cost your humble recapper here money by besting me on a game show in 2016 but he is also shy and sweet and super smart, and it’s nice to have a gentle soul on the show.

Issa admits straight off the bat that he’s already “struggling with Gaz’s accent” and after Gaz delivers a short speech about the difficulty of following recipes (I think?), Sam — who nods frantically as he’s actually talking — later also admits, “I can’t understand a damn word Gaz is saying”. God I love Geordies. This is gonna be great.
Next through the doors? WHY IT’S BLOODY PIPPA FROM HOME & AWAY!!!!!!

That’s Saint Debra Lawrance to you, sonny jim.

She loves to cook, she tells us, but she’s very nervous about having to do it with the additional pressure of being under the watchful eye of Marco Pierre White.

And fair enough too! She greets everyone warmly (gushing to Issa, “I’m such a fan!” in a way that you can see truly surprised and thrilled him) and then the door opens once more. It’s Olympian Jess Fox!

Not just an Olympian, but an Olympic CHAMPION.

She’s a medal winning slalom canoeist BUT CAN SHE MAKE BECHAMEL
No time for a video package introduction because Jess has barely made it into the room before the door opens again.


Willie Mason, a champion NRL footy player, casually strolls through the Hell’s Kitchen doors, chewing gum and taking names. Gaz refers to him as “the BFG” and Sam admits she’s intimidated by his imposing physical presence, but I dunno… despite his off field rap sheet over the years including public urination and doing a runner from a taxi, I can’t help but get a strangely sweet vibe from Willie.

He’s a big guy, but he seems keen and interested to do his best on this cooking show. Next person through the doors? Van Wilder!

Nearly every single person in the room — the older Australian actress, the Bachelor contestant, the rugby league champion, the Olympic rower — all of them cheer with exuberant joy at the arrival of former Home & Away star Lincoln Lewis. Clearly this is an affable, sociable guy who everybody knows and adores.

I tell you what, if Saint Debra Lawrance declares someone her “favourite human being” then damn it, that’s good enough for me to join Team Lincoln. Someone else arrives!

Is ‘Ironwoman & WAG’ what she has written in the job title section of her LinkedIn profile?'

Candice “Ironwoman & WAG” Warner takes a look around the room and breathlessly declares, “Wow, what a diverse bunch!” and she’s bang on, if your idea of diversity is a sea of white Channel 7 celebrities plus one Tongan-born rugby league player.

No time to marvel at all the diversity on offer, for another celebrity enters through the doors of Hell’s Kitchen.

Speaking of diversity, here’s the founder of One Nation!

Everyone is a bit quiet and weird when David Oldfield, ALLEGED former Pauline Hanson paramour and founder of One Nation (geez thanks for that, David) enters the room.

Having recently watched Real Housewives of Sydney and been forced to endure the on-screen dysfunctional over-sharing insultfest that appears to sum up his marriage to Lisa Oldfield, I’m already taking bets as to how long it’s going to take him to go from appearing on screen to bitching relentlessly about his home life. I’m personally putting $10 on ‘within 8 minutes’.

While we’re on the topic of full on attention seeking units from the Real Housewives franchise…

Classic and durable kitchen attire, excellent choice Pettifleur.

Ladies and gents, please welcome Pettifleur Berenger, the extremely intense, easily angered yet curiously self-confident former star of Real Housewives Of Melbourne!

The best bit about Pettifleur introducing herself to everyone is Issa telling her he’s a big fan, which in turn tells me that Issa Schultz — brainiac and game show wonderkind — actually watches Real Housewives. SO GOOD! (Issa, I’m part of a secret FB group where highbrow arts and media types you would not expect meet up to discuss Real Housewives of Melbourne, do let me know if you want an invite)

Everyone is standing around happily chatting and getting to know each other when all of a sudden the music gets ominous… and we remember, there’s still one more person to appear on set.

As he makes his way through the kitchen towards them, “like a cheetah, and we are all his little lambs” as Pettifleur expressively describes it, the celebrity contestants hush and tremble.

Please welcome the real star of Hell’s Kitchen, Marco Pierre White.

“Allow me to put my glasses on so I can see if I actually recognise any of you”

I’d like to note that Marco takes his glasses off to make his opening greeting, then puts them straight back on again, like a culinary Horatio Crane.

Marco starts by gently insulting them all (“I don’t know who you are, I haven’t got a clue”), and reminds them that they’re there to cook. And the last person standing will walk away with $50K to donate to a charity of their choice. Sweet!

He then goes around one by one, finding out who he’ll be screaming at during service over the next few episodes, and asking them why they’re here, and everyone answers super earnestly. Yawn.

The only bit I really care about is when David Oldfield tells Marco that he used to be a parliamentarian and when Marco asks, “What party?” and David replies, “We started our own party, it was a nationalist party... One Nation.”

And we get to see Debra Lawrance’s opinion of One Nation writ large all over her face.

I hear ya girl

Genuine LOL moment.

Oh, and Marco grills my old foe Issa.

ISSA: I’m on a quiz show called The Chase where I answer questions.

MARCO: Are you the Chaser?
ISSA: Yes.

MARCO: So you chase them?
ISSA: Yes.

MARCO: To prevent them from winning?
ISSA: Yes. That’s right.

MARCO: To try and deny them from having money?
Marco gets it. *wipes away single tear* all I wanted was to buy a half hour psychic reading with Jackie Gillies and now I’ll NEVER AFFORD IT, geez thanks Issa.

Introductions over, it’s time to actually get these goddamn celebrities into the goddamn kitchen and make them put their goddamn aprons on. Guess what they’re gonna have to cook to impress Marco Pierre White?

Eggs. That’s right, EGGS. Make an egg dish any way you like within 15 minutes, demands Marco, and make it delicious. “The bar is set so low, it’s impossible to fall” insists Marco, who is clearly delusional.

Debra is chill AF about this challenge — she loves to cook, she makes eggs all the time for her family, and is super excited about making an omelette for her culinary hero who she describes as her “Bruce Springsteen”.

Actual Bruce Springsteen. I’ll wait for you to right click and save this for later. You’re welcome.

Sam Frost is trying to scramble eggs in a tiny bowl, and Marco is unimpressed with her inability to keep her mixing game tight. He coldly suggests she use a larger bowl, which is the kind of stunning insight one could only get from a Michelin star awarded chef.

Fun fact: learning about different bowl sizes actually takes up an entire semester at Le Cordon Bleu.

Candice Warner tells Marco she’s also making an omelette for him, then casually asks his advice as to whether she should add butter to her dish. “What do you think?”, responds Marco. She admits she has no clue.
“You obviously have staff at home,” remarks Marco, baffled that she’s completely unaware of how to make a basic omelette.

Actually in these tough economic times, the Omelette Maker was the first member of staff we had to let go.

“No, I don’t have any staff,” replies Candice, and I warm to her. This is the kind of down to earth hopelessness I can get behind!

“Who does the cooking?” asks Marco, and I cross my fingers that this self-confessed WAG has a super enlightened cricketer husband who loves nothing more than whipping up dishes for his sportstar wife.
“I’m never home,” continues Candice, “I live in a hotel pretty much.”

Oh. OK.

A little pre-recorded package has Candice admitting that her appearance on the show is really important to her as she wants to learn how to cook for her family (quick note to Candice: there are other ways to learn how to cook for your family that don’t include reality shows with angry Michelin star awarded chefs, maybe a book? A TAFE course? A YouTube channel?)

Time to serve up! Props to Issa for serving a heavily salt and peppered fried egg on bread to one of the world’s most famous chefs.

Verdict from Marco: “You’re single, aren’t you?”

Debra, meanwhile, gets a thumbs up for her omelette and tries not to look smug as about the whole thing.

Inside she’s doing backflips, trust me.

Pettifleur is confident that she’s going to ace this particular task, but when Marco gets to her plate, he simply eats a cherry tomato from the dish but pushes her colourful and heavily spiced (green) eggs away explaining, “Like a child, if I don’t like the look of it, I’m not going to eat it.”

No offence Pettifleur but I would rather jam this kitchen knife into my mouth than try your eggs. Soz

Marco’s final verdict on Pettifleur’s eggs: “That is a horror movie”

David Oldfield’s eggs are also quickly dismissed by Marco.

DAVID: My children love it.

MARCO: Well, children love their eggs overcooked.

What David has to offer is rejected, and it feels like his expulsion from the federal One Nation party in 2000 all over again.

There is a deep discussion about the parsley situation on Sam Frost’s eggs and I begin anxiously checking my watch wondering when this egg fiesta will finish.

This parsley is the correct way up, just FYI.

Sam’s admission that she “can’t really tell the difference” when Marco flips her parsley [not a metaphor] has Marco shaking his head: “that tells me everything about you”

Yes, the world is brutally divided into those who garnish their parsley upside down, and those who face it upwards.

Gaz Beadle has “trad teh pooch” his eggs and, in my personal opinion, does a valiant job — but keep in mind my opinion means nothing as my own personal attempts to poach eggs have ended in utter kitchen horror and I have no authority on the matter whatsoever.

At least you can recognise these as eggs. (RIP ALL THE EGGS I HAVE TRIED TO POACH)

Marco’s verdict: “It’s not the worst one”. VICTORY!

Jess has attempted an omelette with prosciutto, basil, and cherry tomatoes. It is roughly manhandled by Marco who acknowledges it’s “colourful” then tosses it back on a plate without tasting it. “I like colour”, mumbles Jess quietly to herself.

I feel like I would probably eat this omelette too. It’s possible I am just recapping while hungry and am in no fit state to draw any culinary conclusions

Candice abandoned her attempts to make an omelette and in the last few minutes of the competition fried an egg instead.

This is something Marco is prepared to try.


And guess what? HE BLOODY LOVES IT, declaring it “perfectly cooked” much to Candice’s surprise and delight.

This is the face you make when you cluelessly fry an egg last minute for a famous chef and he loves it.

Lincoln Lewis has also had a crack at scrambled eggs, but Marco doesn’t even want to take a bite, assessing it and declaring, “It looks like a crime scene”

“This is Officer Marco Pierre White, I’ve just arrived at the scene now, the victim appears to be covered in bits of spring onion and capsicum, and has been positioned alongside a neatly sliced serving of avocado, over.” Marco’s insults don’t faze the chillest party bro in brotown.
What are a egg?? I’m just here for the wrap party.

LINCOLN: “OK, that’s a fair call… cos it did look pretty crappy.”
It’s Willie’s turn now, and the first thing Marco does is remark on what a “mountain sized serving” it is.

this entire show has become a fever dream featuring incessant scrambled egg shots

Willie is slightly bewildered at this.
“I thought it was little, normally I have 7 or 8 eggs on game day”

“In an ideal world, a chicken would just lay eggs directly into my mouth.”

Marco decides he’s willing to actually try Willie’s eggs (there seems to be no rhyme or reason I can decipher as to what makes an egg dish look appetizing enough to taste in Marco’s mind) and his verdict is more of a riddle.

MARCO: “If I came to your house and you made that for my breakfast… (dramatic pause) I’d sit there and eat it and enjoy it with you.”

WILLIE: *looks pleased* “Wow, thanks.”

MARCO: (continues) “But today? I didn’t enjoy it.”
Wait, what?

Marco decides that the winner of this little competition is Debra as she has a “true love of cooking”, and he hopes to get the other 9 contestants to care as much about making good food as she does.

Following the world’s longest egg related trial, the group is divided into two teams. The red team consists of Jess, Sam, Pettifleur, Lincoln, and David. The blue team is made up of Debra, Willie, Issa, Gaz, and Candice.
I’m not one to choose favourites this early in the competition… but I choose the blue team.

The teams established, our celebs now take a look at the meals they’re going to be expected to create and serve when the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant opens to customers. Bear in mind that several of them couldn’t manage toasting bread in this last challenge, and let’s not even bring up the obscene incident with the parsley.

yeah cool okay they can’t make a passable scrambled egg but they’re gonna be JUST FINE with this

Fancy smoked salmon dishes, beef bourguignon, fillet of John Dory à la Niçoise, and a couple of delicious looking desserts make up the menu, and the doors to the restaurant open in just one hour — I fear for these celebs, I really do.

I think we can all agree with Jess when she despairs, “We’re up Hell’s creek without a paddle”.


Marco assigns everyone their respective roles in the kitchen, and it’s time to crack your knuckles and brace yourself cos this motley crew is about to deliver a three course meal to sixty punters, and also experience the fearsome wonder that is a professional chef screaming at incompetent kitchen hands during dinner service. And we get to watch it all unfold!

Andy and Chris, two of Marco’s sous chefs, are in the kitchen to help prep the teams, and as they run through the names of certain things in the kitchen and begin using phrases like ‘mise en place’, something very David Oldfield triggers within David Oldfield. “Can’t you speak in English?”


Later, David is teamed up with Pettifleur and they prepare the salmon dishes together while also indulging in some banter - and honestly, this is the most tedious flirtatious-slash-insult-heavy on-screen coupling since… well, David and Lisa Oldfield in that last season of Real Housewives Of Sydney.

Their, ugh, ‘chemistry’ doesn’t go unnoticed by the celebrities around them, with Lincoln observing that while everyone else is working hard around them to prep before the doors open, David and Pettifleur are standing around gasbagging and trading quips like they’re attending a cocktail party.


But what on earth could they be talking about?
DAVID: … So even things like, when Lisa says she’s a working mum…


DAVID: She’s not a working mum, she’s like a bloke who has got a job in the 1950s that has a wife at home that does everything.

PETTIFLEUR: She’s got, like, the perfect life!

DAVID: (enthused about himself, pompously) She does, and she needs to appreciate that because she’d be a lot happier. Ahhh yes, David Oldfield’s favourite topic — the failings of his wife! You know what else might make Lisa Oldfield a lot happier, David? If you stopped berating her whenever there’s a TV camera in the room — just a thought!

Cut to a video package of David explaining his life, his wife, and him declaring he will NOT be bossed around on Hell’s Kitchen like he is at home.

Also, let’s all admire this very “of its time” photograph.

“Is that a particularly inarticulate speech disparaging foreigners in your hand, or are you just pleased to see me?”

It’s five minutes til the doors open, and the waiters ready their facial hair.

This moustache is working as a waiter while it puts itself through university.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, the scintillating conversation continues between Pettifleur and David.

PETTIFLEUR: I’m thirsty, are you?

DAVID: Hmmm, nah.

The next 15 or so minutes is full of Marco making highly dramatic pronouncements (“THE DOORS OF HELL WILL OPEN” oh calm down mate), much frantic food arrangement, celebrities yelling in general terror as plates are taken from the kitchen to the folks at the tables.

Pettifleur and David turning on each other over something stupid like we all knew would happen (PETTIFLEUR: “I could’ve ripped him apart”), and Marco taking time out of their busy kitchen schedule to explain the importance of people crying back “YES MARCO” whenever he barks out an order.

“It makes me feel valued and appreciated. I get so lonely sometimes”

It all goes relatively smoothly until it’s time for dessert to be served. Gaz, who is on the dessert station, is pumped and excited about his gig because in his mind it’s the easiest job ever — add some almonds and voila! “Give me a Michelin star!” indeed!

Chefs don’t REALLY wear baseball caps backwards in the kitchen do they?

Except… it’s discovered that someone chucked the desserts in the wrong fridge — or rather, the fridge they’re in is set to -20 degrees, and everything is frozen solid. Saint Debra is devo.


This is worse than the time Sally disobeyed her and snuck off to pash a young goth Samuel Johnson.

Marco is pretty cranky and also suggests to the blue team that now they know the desserts are frozen solid, perhaps it would be a good idea to stop sending them out?

I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. No wait, I’m actually pretty mad too.

He sends them off to find non-frozen replacements in another fridge out back, but Sam has a better solution.

This is going to blow your mind you guys but what if we stuck the desserts in the MICROWAVE?

It doesn’t come to that, thankfully, and replacements are sourced (and sauced) and served, and the diners begin to complete their feedback cards which will be used to tally up the scores and decide which team won.

“The salmon was prepared perfectly with just a hint of sexual tension blended with genuine irritation”.

The diners leave, and the celebs gather around to find out the verdict of the people from maitre d’ Glenn

Serious business

The blue team earns 7/10 in total from the diners, while the red team scores… 7.5/10. Never let them convince you that half points aren’t important, folks!

Slightly uncoordinated high fives for everyone!

This means that Marco now has to pick the weakest member of the blue team to go into the Last Chance Cook Off™ and after careful consideration, he selects…

This is worse than the time they started using ‘WAG’ as part of my official job description.

Marco: “I don’t have to tell you why, I don’t have to justify it.”

That’s the spirit! She’ll certainly improve with THAT kind of helpful feedback!

And with that, our first episode of Hell’s Kitchen ends, and we brace ourselves for episode two where we’ll get to find out who will be joining Candice in the super exciting and possibly lethal (to egos) Last Chance Cook Off. Until then, farewell, and don’t forget to pick a side in the upcoming Parsley Wars.

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