On last night’s Hell’s Kitchen, Colleen and Lacey managed to frazzle the nerves of their fellow competitors and infuriate Chef Ramsay, and were thus banished to the elimination round. But as Chef was about to announce who would leave the show, a wheelchair-bound Chef Ji dropped a bomb: She would be leaving instead, due to the injury that she sustained during a cooking session. Colleen and Lacey seemed relieved; not only because they were able to stay, but probably also because Ji was one of the strongest contenders on the show and could have easily won the top prize.
Why did Chef Ji bow out and is Chef Ramsay really that intense? She filled us in on these things and more after the episode.
What was going through your head right before you spoke up about wanting to leave?
A million things were going through my head. I felt like an incomplete chef. I don’t know how well I would perform on one leg, so to speak. I was debating if I should volunteer or no. If I did volunteer would I be letting my teammates down? Because they saw me as a very strong member of the team. All these thoughts were going through my head and I just didn’t know what to do. And then at the very last moment I figured that I need to look out for myself and my health. And just the thought of losing future challenges and if the cause was me I would not be able to live with that. At the very last minute I just decided that that would be the best thing to do. I had to volunteer to leave.
What happened after? Did you go to the hospital? Did you have to get treatment for your leg?
I was rushed to the ER.
Was there one particular person that you got along with or got close to?
Well I especially felt close with Andrea and Paula. It seemed like we were getting to become close. We were kind of like the Charlie’s Angels or the Three Musketeers. It was slowly developing. I wasn’t there long enough to develop a better friendship with them. I think I felt more comfortable with them because the three of us were the strongest members of that team.
Do you remember any funny behind the scenes moments?
We did hang out at the hot tub at one point and we were talking about stuff that was just funny and hilarious. I wish I knew specifically what we were talking about.
What was it like day-to-day? Did you have any time to yourself? Or do you always have to be doing something and getting ready for the competition?
There’s not that much down time. We have our daily thing that involves challenges, being in the kitchen, doing service, and as a result of that we would talk about each other’s performance. So I guess that would be considered the down time. We’d also have a couple of brews and chit chat about it. Tell each other straight up how we felt about each other. It was kind of an intense therapy session in a way.
What about Chef Gordon? Is he really as intense as he seems? Is he that scary in person?
When I see Hell’s Kitchen on Television versus when I’m actually there it’s totally different. I would be able to be like ‘Oh sure I can tell off other contestants and like tell them to F themselves.’ But the thing is when you’re in that kitchen and you are literally face to face with chef Gordon Ramsay and he’s yelling at you with that bright cherry red face of his. You don’t know what to say. You are on the spot, you’re stressed out, and you don’t know what’s going to happen next. It’s really intense.
Did you have any particular moment like this in the kitchen with Chef Ramsay?
Yeah well he yelled at me for running out of tuna. Yeah I think he called me a donkey, I don’t remember. Yeah he told me that I had to go into the dining room and tell John Pierre that I ran out of tuna. And John Pierre was telling me how could you do this? I was trying to help you guys out. I buy you cushioned appetizers and now you’re telling me you run out of tuna? It was like yeah can you tell them that we don’t have tuna? So that was my moment of glory with chef Gordon Ramsay and John Pierre.
So what’s next for you? What’s on your plate?
Well I have a web site up and running it’s www.chefji.com and I’m working on more cooking classes in people’s homes. Some events and demonstrations. I’m also working on a new concept for a cook book. I still do little intimate parties. Please check out the web site. I have free recipes on there. And polls. I hope people start visiting and we get some traffic and people enjoy my web site.