Tuesday, June 5, 2007

A Reality Check With ... Tiffany Nagel (Fox's "Hell's Kitchen")

What looked like a strong start to Tiffany's time at Hell's Kitchen ended with her being sent home first. Though she plotted to get rid of Julia (a short order cook), it was in fact Julia who outshined Tiffany in Hell's Kitchen. Her plan backfired and her inability to cook quail eggs & get dishes out to customers ended up being her demise. She takes time to talk to RealityCheckByGina about her time spent in Hell's Kitchen.

RC: Tell us a little bit about your cooking background.
Tiffany: I studied in Paris, went to university there for hospitality business & finance. I lived in Europe for 4 years studying food in Norway & France. I’ve been in the restaurant business my whole life. I grew up in a hotel that my father was the senior vice-president of. He branched off & bought some independent restaurants.

RC: On a scale of 1-10, how intimidated were you by Gordon Ramsay?

Tiffany: Honestly? A 5? 4?

RC: You did well early in the episode when you presented your signature dish. Did you feel you’d do well throughout the competition?
Tiffany: I had no idea, everything comes at you so fast that it’s hard to get a grasp as to what’s going on let alone where you’re headed.

RC: What is it that makes 12 chefs unable to get out any dishes in an hour? Is it the pressure or is it set up in a way where the odds are against you?
Tiffany: If you can imagine prepping everything you’re going to need for 190 customers in 10 hours, having no clue what’s going to be ordered, when it’s coming in, when you’re going to start, you can imagine a pretty stressful situation! You don’t prepare enough product in some stations and you over prepare in others. We worked too much on dessert instead of focusing on appetizers.

RC: How do you respond to Chef Ramsay calling you girls “Hell’s Bitches”?
Tiffany: It’s 100% accurate because there was more fighting going on & that’s what I was trying to tell people: just be silent. The more attention you get, the more he’s going to focus on you. From a strategy standpoint: shut up.

RC: Did everyone want to get rid of Julia simply because she’s a short order cook or were there other reasons behind it?

Tiffany: Julia just didn’t know what she was doing & it was hard to try to do something yourself when you don’t have your own time let alone teach someone else.

RC: Melissa promised you that you would be safe & weren’t going anywhere. Were you surprised when she ended up choosing you for elimination?
Tiffany: Not at all, I knew I was going to be up there. I thought it would be me & Julia but I knew I would be there.

RC: We only got to see a few minutes of it but can you go into more detail about Aaron’s meltdown? What set him off?

Tiffany: You couldn’t pay an actor to be that good, he flopped over & cried every 40 minutes. He was such an incredibly nice guy, obviously incredibly sensitive. But like I said, you couldn’t pay an actor.

RC: Did any chefs make a big impression on you during your time there?
Tiffany: I really like Bonnie & Joanna. I thought Jen was an incredible chef as well as Rock.

RC: Where can we find you now that you’re back home in Phoenix?
Tiffany: Enchiladas is our family owned & operated 650 seat restaurant in Phoenix. I work with my sisters & my father.

Hell's Kitchen airs Monday nights at 9pm EST on FOX

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