‘Hell’s Kitchen’ interview: Jeremy Madden on surprising exit, Gordon Ramsay, more

Jeremy MaddenTuesday night’s “Hell’s Kitchen” was one that continued a rather bizarre trend as of late of contestants going home at unusual times. Rather than send anyone home at the end of this week’s episode, we instead saw Jeremy Madden leave during the opening minutes as a result of his performance during the breakfast challenge, which involved him accidentally putting up a sample plate of food to the pass. It’s definitely a moment that the young chef would like to forget, but even in spite of being eliminated from the show this week he was in pretty good spirits when we talked to him early Wednesday morning, Among the topics covered? Him being a younger chef, trying to deal with the stress of the competition, and what it was like watching the show back months after filming it.

Are you going to miss Jeremy? As always, we welcome your comments below, and you can read some more news from “Hell’s Kitchen” season 11 by heading on over to the link here.

Cartermatt.com – Was it harder for you to watch your elimination at the beginning of the episode at the end? I know some people like to say that they have their own ‘elimination episode.’

Jeremy Madden – No, I’d rather just get it over with quick because I don’t want to see it.

Was it hard sitting down and watching the show given everything that happened? It was months ago when it filmed, so it’s like bringing everything back up again.

It wasn’t that bad. Just being on the show or even trying out for the show was an accomplishment. So overall I’m not disappointed in myself. I felt like I got very far, and I feel like the future’s still ahead for me.

For sure. You were one of the younger chefs there, so did you have a mentality that you thought you were going to win, or were you just hoping that you could get as far as you could and try to learn along the way?

I thought I was going to win. I was hoping I was going to, of course. I do everything 110%; I played football, I wrestled. If you give 110% to everything, you’ll always come out on top.

So did you get a chance to learn from Chef Ramsay and even some of the other chefs in the competition?

I was like a sponge, man, I’ll tell you that much. I absorbed anything and everything around me. Any techniques anybody had, I started to take. It was all gravy from everybody. I was 22 during the show … [so I was learning from] Ray, Michael, Barret, anybody on my team. Even from the girls’ team because they have really strong technique … obviously, because they’re kicking our butts so much.

Since you are so young, you must have had an interest in cooking pretty early on to make it on this show. What was it that made you want to get into culinary arts in the first place?

I was wrestling and playing football, and I had scholarships for both, and I had a stroke while I was wrestling. That sapped my whole career; got my scholarships stripped away any everything. The day I got out of the hospital I had my culinary class at my high school, and I went in and took my cooking final and passed with flying colors.

I couldn’t even talk right after I had a stroke, but I could cook. It was just a sort of moment where [I realized] I am meant to do this. I ¬†ended up going to culinary school at the [Los Angeles Mission College]. It’s a really good culinary school. I didn’t want to go to a fancy school like Cordon Bleu and pay all that money for subpar training. I went to a school that was dedicated to its students, which L.A. Mission College is. They sent us out on competitions, and while we are out on competitions, the teacher competed against other chefs. That forces competition down your throat. You compete for everything.

It makes sense considering that this is a competitive field. So with your history with cooking, how familiar were you with Chef Ramsay?

I idolized the man. He was so accomplished by the time that he was my age. He went through the same thing that I did and just exploded in his culinary career. That’s something I wanted to do.

Did meeting him change your feelings about him at all? There’s always a group of people who love to see what he does on TV, but don’t like it so much when he is doing it to them.

The chefs at my school were a little bit more intense. I had a chef who threw a 7-tier wedding cake across the room because there was something off with it, and the girl was in tears and he gave her a day to make a whole new cake. Chef Ramsay actually wasn’t as bad. (Laughs.) It was kind of a break!

That may be the first time I’ve ever gotten that answer.

Well it’s dinner service, and you’re supposed to be this head chef for this multi-million-dollar restaurant that he’s going to open and give to you. I don’t think people understand the amount of stress and the degree of expertise you need to have to do that task. So given that, I can understand why I would screaming my head off, too, if someone made a mistake in my multi-million-dollar restaurant.

You were obviously prepared for the show from a cooking standpoint, but was it hard watching the shows back and seeing everything that you didn’t see while you were filming?

Because of my accident and everything else, I don’t care what people say. It hurt me a little bit to know that people I thought were cool were saying those things on TV. But thanks to the miracle of internet I can ask them ‘do you really mean that?’ And in return they can say ‘no, it was just in the moment.’ It’s TV. Things happen that way.

At the end of the day, how surprised were you to go home considering that you were sitting down with the guys at the elimination? Do you think you should have left?

I’m always going to pick no. I felt like that was a rash and hurried decision, but I can understand it, as well. If I was the Chef, and there was someone who didn’t recognize the sample plate, [they] shouldn’t be allowed in the restaurant.

At the end of the chat, Jeremy also said that he is currently looking for another restaurant to go work for after his time as a kitchen manager in a Simi Valley eatery. Best of luck to Jeremy with this and all of his future endeavors!

Photo: Fox

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