So Why Should You Stay in Hell’s Kitchen?

I know some of you out there have seen Hell’s Kitchen with chef Gordon Ramsay asking that question to two people chosen by their respective teams to be booted off that night.

It is a fair question to ask. In fact , it is the only question a prospective employer should be asking someone who is aspiring to be a top chef in a beautiful restaurant to be paid a huge salary. But let’s look at why he is asking this question because wouldn’t it be easier just to look at one’s cooking skills on the show to pick who would most likely succeed in such a position?

When the two give their answer he is looking for one thing and that is conviction from the person who is answering. He is looking for a fighter , not just someone who can cook. He is looking for someone who is tough enough and believes in themself and their ability so much that they can overcome setbacks and continue on with the job. He is looking for a leader with passion. Someone he can count on.

This is what brings me to this post. When you are being interviewed for any position , you have to communicate to the prospective employer why he or she should hire you. When I was in sales a short while I learned you can never say a feature without adding a benefit and the same goes when applying for the job. A lot of people say a lot in the interview of what they can do but never add the benefit. They talk features only.

For instance if I was to say I have over 25 years experience as a waiter to someone , that means nothing to them , until I add , so that you can depend on me to be highly organized and able to handle a very busy section when called upon. So the prospective employer now knows that my experience will help out him or her in that way.

Whenever you are being interviewed learn how you can match the features you have and tie them with the benefits the prospective employer is looking for. Be excited and clear about it.

If you are leader of a brigade whether it be in the kitchen , dining room , or anywhere else for that matter find out what motivates your team. If you know what motivates someone then you can use that to work for you. For example , someone needs to work late and is not quite up to it you could probably remind him or her that if they do , then the discipline they learn now by putting in an extra couple of hours will stand well when they have their own restaurant , if that is indeed what they want. Or like me the other night when someone ask if I wanted to leave early I replied back with a no because I want to make extra to buy a patio set we need for the porch.

Really all interviews basically should be , ” why do you want to work here?” Just be ready for the answer when asked in the interview and if not bring it up yourself and list 2-3 features and benefits. You will soar above the other applicants.

I think all Ramsay wants to hear from someone rather than the babbling that spews from these contestant’s mouths is ,” Chef Ramsay , just give me the ball one more time so that I can prove to you I have what it takes to run a fantastic five diamond restaurant.” “You will not regret giving me that opportunity.”

What thoughts do you have on what motivates the employer and employee?


  1. I need to know that they actually give a crap about the quality of the food and service.

  2. For sure that is why you need to know why they are doing this. It is just not for the beer and party. Why are they there?

  3. money for an employee is a fair motive but they also need passion……passion in this industry is important…..there are easier ways of making money than the restaurant biz….

  4. Manuel..passion says it all for this and anything anyone does for a living for sure. If a person just works for money without enjoying it they will soon leave.

  5. I think at the end of the day Ramsay is looking for people to start slicing open their face with a knife to prove their worth…..I like your comment about “I have years of experience VS this is what I can do”.I recently learned the art of this, the principle of making an impact. However, passion is a huge driver. Sometimes I have been in situations like this, and if someone asks – I instantly think “shit, do I really want to be here”. As soon as those thoughts come to mind, I’m stuffed.

  6. James..I hear what you are saying. There have been times when I thought geez do I really want to do this. All of a sudden I really don’t. Like you say it is more about emotion than logic. It has to be to make the right decision in the end. It may all seem great $$ wise but you gotta want to do it. If not you’re just unhappy.

  7. Waiter,Honestly, I think the problem is that most waiters did not get into this profession on purpose. It started as a “fun thing to do” to make a few extra dollars or to keep them from getting evicted.As opposed to people that go through cooking schools that have invested great sums of money and time and really want this to be their profession. Then you can see their passion.Most waiters couldn’t really care about service, just their paycheck.

  8. Banquet Manager…the problem with waiting on tables in North America is unlike Europe where it is considered a profession here it is thought by many as just something you do till you find something else , whereas if you are a chef well that you had to go to school for…..It is too bad.

  9. God bless you for this post! As often as I preach the “make sure you match the feature to the benefit” lesson to salespeople, it’s usually the thing they tend to drop from their “pitch.” Hope you don’t mind if I use your blog in my next sales meeting!

  10. Don…absolutely feel free to use it! Hope it helps out.

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