What a good show was the premiere of the new season of “Hell’s Kitchen”! Gordon Ramsey this time takes a whole crew of incompetents. How can he pick any of them to run one of his restaurants at a salary of a quarter of a million dollars? The contestants had to prepare their “signature dishes,” one of which was a scallop and venison tartare (a.k.a. raw shellfish chopped up with raw deer) mixed up with white chocolate! An awful-sounding concoction that actually made Chef Ramsey throw up! And when they had to do the restaurant, no one took leadership, everybody kept botching the recipes, and the service was so slow that the customers all left before any of the entrees were served!
And yet the contestants were SO full of themselves, so prideful and diva-like. They were full of self-esteem. This show has the virtues of the early episodes of “American Idol,” to show the world that there ARE standards of excellence and that a narcissistic ego is no substitute for a work ethic. The wretched singers and cooks are all full of themselves, rather than concerned to love and serve their neighbors outside of themselves.
Now we’ll see if Gordon Ramsey–who throws rubber-cooked chicken against the wall and squeezes the grease out of the noodles with his hands and rubs the noses of his charges into their own incompetence–can make something out of these characters.
Notice that this is not just about cooking or singing or these TV shows. It has to do with the consequences of relativism, weakness of character as encouraged by our culture of self-affirmation, and the loss of the doctrine of vocation.