There are some fantastic food shows on television these days and series like Top Chef and Hell’s Kitchen reign supreme. Hell’s Kitchen has been very popular over the years because of its loud and outspoken show host, Gordon Ramsey. He has starred in all seasons of the show, whipping everyone either into shape or into tears. The series is best known for taking teams of chefs and throwing them into intense kitchen situations. With such a pressure-filled environment, each season is sure to include massive arguments and wondrous celebrations. The top-performing chef earns the chance at heading up a real Ramsey restaurant, as well as a cash prize.
Every season of Hell’s Kitchen brings elements of interesting cuisine and dramatic flair to the small screen. While all seasons thus far have proven entertaining, some seasons are a head above the others. Here are five high ranked seasons, according to IMDb, and five that were not out favorites.
10 Best: Season 15 – 6.8 (Tie)
When it comes to a reality television cast, two things have to be present for success: charismatic castmembers and likable underdogs or frontrunners. People want passion, intensity, and drama between contestants and they want someone to root for, regardless if it is the guy coming from behind or the obvious favorite.
Season 15 had none of these things, yet it still did decently in the IMDb rankings. It contained TWO of the most despised contestants to ever grace the show: Ariel Malone and Jackie Fuchs. A villain is great, but two major villains, one of whom ends up winning, sure helps boost the ratings.
9 Worst: Season 17 – 6.7
No one enjoys watching arrogance play out on a reality television platform, and unfortunately, as one Rotton Tomato reviewer pointed out, season 17 had plenty of arrogance. The chefs had zero humility and acted as if they were already rulers of the kitchen. With personalities such as these, it’s hard to root for a winner.
Perhaps the arrogance stemmed from the fact that this season brought former chefs back for one more chance at a win. They all thought that they had victory in the bag, which they clearly did not!
8 Best: Season 2 – 6.8 (Tie)
Season two gave fans the great gender divide, which ended up being a winning reality recipe, considering it remained for so many seasons afterward. It also gave the teams new challenges that would come back in future seasons.
Fans saw some full force female power in this season when former sous chef Heather West came out the champion. All of these components helped to elevate this season to a three-way tie for one of the best ranked seasons.
7 Worst: Season 10 – 6.75
Christina Wilson took home the top prize of heading up the kitchens of Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Paris Hotel, Las Vegas, but not before an entire season packed full of dramatic moments, helping to make season 10 tolerable, but definitely not one of the best. Fans favorite punishments for underperforming chefs included cleaning sheep, scallops, and prepping both kitchens while completely exhausted. These were entertaining moments, but they didn’t make up for the season’s pitfalls.
Season six also had an elimination round where every single team member had their head on the chopping block – they were that dismal! Sometimes poor performances make for great reality television, but in this case, everyone simply missed the mark
6 Best: Season 6 – 6.8 (Tie)
Season six is definitely a fan favorite and this is for several reasons, one of these being the punishments that the losing teams faced when they served up their sub-par dishes. No contestants were thrilled to have to bike to retrieve groceries, clean the dorms or scrub firetrucks. While they were not pumped over their assignments, viewers enjoyed watching it all unfold.
Season six also included high drama moments and some pretty tough challenges that chefs had to overcome, like when Louie was sent home for wasting the lamb, and Joseph was eliminated for talking back to Gordon Ramsey. There were very few dull moments in season six, contributing to its decently high ranking.
5 Worst: Season 4 – 6.6 (Tie)
The rankings don’t accurately reflect this dismal season, as it was pretty blah! This was another season that managed to snag only minimally interesting chefs. With little talent and unlikeable personalities, this go at Hell’s Kitchen was never going to knock it out of the park.
The infamous Jen Gavin headed up the band of meanies vying for a top spot in a Ramsey kitchen. She was often regarded as a bully, a cheater, and an overall rude human being.
4 Best: Season 12 – 6.85
Season 12 is one of the more intriguing seasons of the highly regarded series. The 20 initial contestants got whittled down, but not without some drama! Two people packed up their knives and left for varying reasons and the intensity of this particular season was too much for everyone.
Host Gordon Ramsey was not exactly thrilled with the teams’ performances. In fact, no team was declared a winner for the first three dinner service challenges. Fans of the show started to wonder just how much cool the explosive show host could possibly lose. This season was worth turning into just to watch his reaction to the scrambling chefs.
3 Worst: Season 7 – 6.6 (Tie)
As one Rotten Tomato reviewer pointed out, with Hell’s Kitchen, sometimes “so much” is “too much.” Season seven was a perfect example of this phenomenon. Show host Gordon Ramsey brings intensity and emotion to every scene, but sometimes that leaves viewers waiting for his eventual blow up in even single season.
When you know he is going to lose it at every single turn, the show becomes too predictable. It’s like listening to your mother nag you about socks on the floor or dishes in the sink – at some point, you simply stop hearing the ranting.
2 Best: Season 18 – 7.25
One of the things that made season 18 so interesting was it meshed eight new chefs with eight returning chefs, all hungry for the big win and a shot at a head chef gig.
A series that pits newcomers with veterans is typically a reality television win, and this season was no exception. With a new twist and even more intensity than normal, the series felt fresh and revived, giving fans new twists and turns to look forward to each week. It is no surprise that when it came to rankings, this season reigned king.
1 Worst: Season 13 – 6.4
Season 13 of Hell’s Kitchen is widely assumed to be one of the all-time worst to ever air. The flop can be largely attributed to the fact that the cast was bland.
Reality television has no chance of success with a bland cast. The episodes fell in line with the chefs. Nothing here was remarkable or memorable, which was reflected in the low IMDb rankings.
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