‘Hell’s Kitchen’ interview: Dan Ryan talks big personality, dealing with elimination

Dan RyanIf we are being honest, there are not many eliminations on “Hell’s Kitchen” that really catch us off guard. More often than not, the people who end up going home are the ones that either deserve to based on their cooking, or this is at least the way that they are presented to us in the edit.

However, that was not really the case with Dan Ryan. While his cooking was not perfect during the season, it appeared as though he was on Gordon Ramsay’s chopping block more so for his teamwork abilities then his cooking. He fought frequently with most of the other chefs in the kitchen, and the win-loss record with the blue team was such that he may have considered an unusual approach to the elimination. Will Dan’s exit change anything? We’ll have to wait and see, but for now we bring to you our exclusive interview with the New York chef. We actually have to say that we did not find him really so abrasive as he came across on the show, and as a matter of fact, this was our funniest “Hell’s Kitchen” interview in quite a long time.

Cartermatt.com – So are you bitter towards Chef Ramsay or anyone on your team?

Dan Ryan – Oh god, no. I actually called the people that I had such colorful things to say about at the end of the episode, I called most of them afterwards. We’re all still friends, so there’s really no real resentment for anyone on my team.

We saw you get fired-up and emotional quite a bit. Do you think a lot of that was brought on by your frustration with other people, or was this just a combination of being stressed out, tired, and being a competitive person who really wanted to win?

That sounds about right. I’m extremely competitive, to the point where it’s almost a problem. Sometimes I let my competitive edge get the better of me.

I was surprised to see you sent home, mostly because it really didn’t seem like you were the worst cook this week. Do you think it was teamwork that [caused your elimination], or was it something else?

I think around the end, a lot of things that I was saying about myself and my team were basically me saying ‘I’m going to play for myself.’ That was a little too early to be saying that, and it didn’t bode well for me. It was also a personality conflict. You have 20 type-A personalities living in a four-bedroom apartment, and you’re going to have personality clashes.

Well what made you want to go through this crazy experience to begin with?

Competition. I love competition. Gordon’s a very talented chef, and if I was there one day, I would have been happy. Just being in that kitchen with him is a victory in itself. Even Sebastian’s a winner even though he left [early on]. Everyone’s a winner just by being there. It was just a matter of how to learn as much as possible in a short amount of time.

Plus, who doesn’t want to be on TV? (Laughs.)

See? Your entertaining. Ramsay usually keeps the entertaining people around longer!

That’s true. The amount of hate mail I’ve gotten in the last week … I never figured I’d affect this many people’s lives so much!

Hey, but they’ll remember you.

That’s right. Infamy lives forever. Money comes and goes.

When it comes to Ramsay, did you watch ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ a lot before this?

I used to watch it to really just steal ideas for work. (Laughs.) A ‘good artists borrow, great artists steal’ sort of thing. But once I found out that I was going to be on the show I stopped watching, because I didn’t want to pick up any bad habits. Plus, like I said in my initial interview, I didn’t study in high school, I didn’t study in college. Why should I do that now?

Did your impression of Ramsay change at all after you were there with him on the show?

I thought for the longest time that he was being fed these one-liners through an earpiece, but no. He doesn’t care about the cameras; he’s there to feed people. That’s his main goal, and perfection is the minimum standard. If you get things right, he’s not going to tell you anything about it, like my perfect service. Everyone’s hating me, I didn’t have a perfect service before that, but then I had a service were everything clicked on and he didn’t have anything to yell at me about. So he didn’t.

Was that perfect service your best moment, or were you really proud and got a certain since of validation over Ramsay liking your dish in this week’s challenge, even though it wasn’t picked?

When that challenge happened I didn’t have the best attitude about him tasting it afterwards. My attitude was ‘hey, the team lost, but I did good.’ I think that was my downfall, because I started to focus on myself, when I should have been focusing on my team. I should have also stood up for myself more, and said that mine was really good.

I know we see what happens when you guys lose competitions at home, but can you give us a sense at what some of those punishments are really like?

Some of the punishments were worse than others, and they got harder as the competition went on. Walking that alpaca was a low point. I don’t know if you saw my face, but I just said ‘aww god.’ I was spent from that, walking alpacas in the hot L.A. sun. And alpacas are not friendly. I named him Steven, and now my cat is jealous and thinks I’m cheating on her with an alpaca. It’s awful.

Even when you won a challenge, could you be excited about it, or was a sense of not wanting to get too excited since you didn’t want to get yourself out of the zone?

The challenge that we won, it was really just the confidence boost of saying that we won [that mattered], because the girls were getting complacent with all of their victories. They were like ‘where are we going today [on reward], chef?’. We were more excited that we finally pulled together and did something.

Are you rooting for anybody now that you’re gone?

I’m curious to see what happened after I left, and I really want to see what Ray did. Believe it or not, I have a lot of respect for Ray. He’s a very talented chef.

What did you think about Dan’s edit, and how much do you believe that his elimination came down to his attitude much more so than his actual cooking technique? If you want to read our full take on Tuesday’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” you can do so over here.

Photo: Fox

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