Hell’s Kitchen [U.S.] is a cooking competition in which a blue team and a red team compete in various cooking challenges. In general one person has to leave the show at the end of an episode. Often this is a member of the team that lost the challenge. When the remaining member of contestants is reduced to 6 the two teams are combined to become a single black team. In the episode we watched there were still two teams. The main goal for the contestants is to remain in the show until the end and win Hell’s Kitchen on which they will be rewarded a job as head chef in one of Canada’s finest restaurants. The show is located in an actual kitchen in a restaurant in Los Angeles in which the teams have to cook for real customers. So they cannot afford to make any mistakes because the food has to be of good quality. They are watched closely by chef Gordon Ramsay, making mistakes will be punished by a harsh vocabulary of this chef.
We watched episode 1, season 6 of the popular show: Hell’s Kitchen. The people in the show were divided into two groups separated by gender. We observed the blue team in the show, which are the men. The blue team consists of 8 members called: Van, Joseph, Jim, Tony, Andy, Louie, Kevin and Dave.
The first impression of the blue team was rather negative. This feeling was shared by all the members of the group. However some believed that the team would perform badly due to large egos in the group and some blame it on the fact that the members of the team don’t know the qualities of the other members. There was some debate about the individual members. The impression of Louie for instance was solely negative. He was self-centered and arrogant and made one cooking mistake after the other. On the other hand we all perceived Van and Jim as nice guys. Joseph was perceived most differently though, some thought he was aggressive and negative towards the team while the others thought that his actions were actually meant to help the team and perceived it as good.
The goal is the same for everyone, they all want to win this season of Hell’s Kitchen [US] and this is the drive for all the individual members. Because they want to get further in the show they have to form a group because if you’re in the wining group you will not be sent home. This individual drive of the team members comes together in the group. Because the individual drive is more important than the group people do not always treat each other extremely well but do try to cooperate to form an effective group.
This all was based on the behavior of the people and the attitude they showed in the kitchen, but also important, what they said in the camera about each other when nobody else could here them. All they said there was negative and that strengthened our believe that they find the group less important than their own goals.
Prejudice was mostly shown when the members talked to the camera in private, for instance Louie with the comment that women are only good for cleaning and doing dishes or Joseph who believed that Van, a farmer, could not cook properly. They did not say these things in public though.
Considering the above, the biggest the strength of the team is their diversity. They all have different background, from cooking at home to being an actual chef in different kitchens so there is a lot of knowledge within the group from which they can benefit. Another strength is their drive to get further in the show thus working very hard.
The biggest weakness though is that they are competing against each other, this results in the team members not really helping each other and that they do not truly feel part of a group. On top of this the members also have different thoughts and techniques about cooking and refuse to discuss these and put it together. So they are not using all their strengths to become an effective team.
Possible solutions for the problems of this team would be:
- 1] Do a group activity outside Hell’s Kitchen so they can get to know each other without the environment of stress.
- 2] Have the team members give feedback on each other at the end of every episode, but make sure it is both positive and negative and have them explain what they believe would be better for the next time.
- 3] Let the team members know the importance of working together, namely that if you’re in the wining team you are not sent home.
- 4] Have the members share their knowledge with each other to make the group as a whole stronger.
The best strategy would probably be a mix of point 2 and 3. These two points are both realistic and can be implanted. Point 1 and 4 are less realistic. Having the team members give feedback on each other will take away the hidden grudge that will build up among the members. It is also important for each member to know what they have done wrong, even if they thought they had done nothing wrong. By having everyone give feedback you can actually improve your cooking but also your position in a group and how others perceive you. You often do not know your own flaws and it is very good to get to know these. In return you give feedback to others and help them with their own problem. This will result in a group that work together more closely and that will consist out of members that are stronger and better than they were before, benefitting everyone in the team. The situation of constructive feedback will be a lot better if the team members are willing to participate in this feedback and for this it would be helpful to have the members see the importance of being a member of the group. Therefore a mix of point 3 and 4 would probably result in a better group and stronger individuals inside the group.