Sometimes, our “Hell’s Kitchen” interview sessions can be pretty eventful, and that is when we are speaking with only one chef. Earlier this week, we had an opportunity to change things up a little bit courtesy of a pair of chefs who each made their mark before being sent home by Gordon Ramsay: Barret Beyer and Ray Alongi. In some ways, they were also each representative of the Blue Team’s struggles as a whole as they each were individually talented, but for whatever reason, something went wrong when it mattered most in the competition.
We’ve broken down this interview into several chunks, that way it is easy to figure out just who is speaking when.
CarterMatt – So let’s start off first of all with Barret. What has been like for you getting adjusted to life after the show? Have you been able to take everything in since the episode aired?
Barret Beyer – It was rough to get cut so early in the competition, especially since I thought I would make it a lot farther. But I’ve watched the episodes back, and looked at the mistakes that I’ve made, and they were such minor mistakes. I kind of beat myself up because I made such amateur mistakes, but I never made the same mistake twice. I didn’t give up, and I always fought back.
How difficult is the experience really like being there in the kitchen, in between the stress, the long hours, and the cameras all around? Of course we get a little bit of a sense watching the show, but we’re not chefs and haven’t gone through it.
The only thing that threw me off was [Ramsay] coming back and shouting orders and tickets. The camera thing pretty much went away as soon as I started going. It’s more of the pressure off being there, it’s so surreal; I couldn’t believe that I was in ‘Hell’s Kitchen.’ To get over that … I tend to get in my own way at times, and I over-thought things at times, and didn’t get a chance to show what I was really good at. I couldn’t get it together.
So I’m guessing you were a big Ramsay fan going in?
Oh yeah. I’ve been watching since season 1 of the show. The show is the reason why I started cooking. I was the same as everybody else sitting on their couches eating candy and talking about the show, saying [stuff] that I could do better. ‘These guys can’t cook, I can do that!’ Then I got there, and it was a totally different story. I will never be the guy who sits on his couch and talks [bad] about another reality show again.
Yeah, and I know that the tough part of this is that you have one mistake and it shines through, whereas you have a million good things that don’t get shown.
Yeah. It was definitely a wake-up call for me. It helped to set my standard a little higher for what my kitchen is now.
Is there any way to figure out why the Blue Team kept struggling? It seemed like you guys were all pretty strong individually, but you kept losing all those challenges.
I think all of the cooks on the show have extremely strong cooking backgrounds. There was not anyone on that Blue Team that I would not cook in the kitchen with; they’re all incredible people, they really are! You see some of the interactions that we have, and we love each other … I don’t know [why it didn’t work]. Maybe it was just different styles of cooking and we couldn’t get it together. Maybe we were so experienced that we all had our own ways of doing things, and we kept trying to do it our own way.
Ray Alongi – I don’t think the girls were better than us necessarily as much as that we weren’t as good as we should have been. We got in our way a lot, we didn’t communicate. I think that was a big problem for all of us. If we could pinpoint it, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you right now. (Laughs.)
Was it frustrating at all to you to have Chef Ramsay keep calling you ‘grandpa,’ even though you guys are pretty close in age?
You know, he said that. He said ‘Ray, we’re kind of cut from the same cloth. We’ve had similar experiences and we were close in age. We could have been friends as kids.’ He said some nice stuff about me in an article and I appreciated it, where [he said] they looked at me as more of an uncle or father figure. They called me ‘Uncle Ray.’ I think [Gordon] was harder on me than some other people, because there was the [age similarity] and he thought that I could take it … There are a lot of things that you don’t see, but I come from the school where if it came from your station, even if you didn’t cook it, it’s your fault. You’re in charge. I took [a lot of] the hits for it.
So what happened with the elimination? Are you and Zach cool? I’ll be honest in that I would have sent him home over you.
Well I appreciate that, and I would have too! (Laughs.) No, I have no ill regrets towards Zach. It is what it is. I think Zach’s a very talented guy and a very good guy. I think both faces of Zach are good guys. (Laughs again.)
So now that you guys are off the show, what are you up to now?
Barret – I actually started a home catering company a couple of days ago. Just got the business registered. I’m also currently the sous chef at a bistro in Long Island, and I’m going to be looking at doing a food truck in the next few months. I got my website up and running, I’m selling my own hot sauce, t-shirts, kitchen towels. I’m going to try to market and brand myself and keep knocking down doors.
Ray – Barrett actually kicks doors down; he really is amazing, this guy. I actually work with some cultural experts, some celebrities from various networks … I run their restaurants. I have a great [thing] going on right now. I have some media tours that I’m doing, we’re going to open up a couple more restaurants. My name’s on the menu, my name’s on the door. If I can get some notoriety out of it, then that’s awesome.
Are you going to miss these two guys on the show at all? If you want to check out some more of our ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ interview coverage, you can do so over at the link here.