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Hell's Kitchen: What Happens To Chefs When They Get Kicked Out?

Since 2005, hundreds of contestants have joined the ranks of "Hell's Kitchen" for a chance to win a cash prize and a position at one of Gordon Ramsey's restaurants from one of the best cooking shows ever. From between 12 and 20 players, only one can win, which means a lot of people get placed on the chopping block and eliminated before the final match. Usually, after a poor performance, Ramsey will send someone packing at the end of an episode, but what really happens when someone is kicked off "Hell's Kitchen?"

Eliminated contestants are typically seen walking solemnly off the set, while an interview recorded after the fact sees them narrate their thoughts on losing out on such a great opportunity. It may make some think the show's staged to a degree, but it doesn't necessarily mean they're immediately on a plane back home, as Season 19 contestant Nikki Hanna revealed in a Reddit AMA. Someone asked what really goes on when someone's eliminated, to which she says, "After elimination we were brought back to our hotel, we still had to go back for final interviews etc. the top ten stay in the hotel until the finale – from what I understand, the contestants who didn't make it to the top ten are flown home after production gets all the interviews they need."

It sounds like there's still work to be done after elimination, but if someone gets far enough, they get to hang out for a bit while filming resumes, which makes sense as eliminated contestants often return for the finale to participate in the final challenge.

Eliminated contestants on Hell's Kitchen get time to decompress

Nikki Hanna also revealed, which shouldn't come as a surprise, that players sign non-disclosure agreements to ensure no one mentions anything that happens over the course of the season before it actually airs. She also mentioned how there are no real chances to say goodbye to friends, as they're taken away upon losing: "They're whisked off into the abyss! No goodbyes, unfortunately."

While the sting of defeat can be nasty, it does sound like the show makes efforts to ensure contestants are taken care of if they have to hang around for a while. The New York Post offered some behind-the-scenes details of "Hell's Kitchen" in 2010, including how those who lose undergo a psychological evaluation before heading home: "The experience can be quite draining, so [the producers] want to make sure you don't want to kill yourself — or someone else." The source goes on to reveal how the show pampers those to take the edge off, "After that, they send you to this beautiful house where you can get anything you want: back rubs, nails done, hair cut. It is kind of like decompression before you go back into society."

The Post article is from 2010, while Hanna's experiences would occur almost a decade later, so it's possible things changed. But it sounds like anyone who has to hang around after being eliminated gets treated pretty well, which makes sense. Gordon Ramsey is notoriously harsh, and working in a kitchen under ideal circumstances isn't easy either. Having some downtime is probably welcome before going back to friends and family.