All right, I’m with the Hell’s Kitchen season 1 winner Michael ray, and we’re just here to just talk with you guys about his Hell’s Kitchen experience and where he’s at now Solve the mystery. Yeah, well solve the mystery all right Michael. How was your Hell’s Kitchen experience, and if you can explain it to us? Oh, it’s the Hellas kitchen experience is a surreal experience You know you don’t realize it at the time But you’re gonna be on a show that’s like showing on you know nationally and like at the time one of my fears was Obviously, I don’t want to come across. I don’t want to lose on national TV Yeah, so there was a lot of pressure on me, and so you know having having like had that pressure on myself Come through the other side as a winner like Hell’s Kitchen is just like It’s giving me a you know an underlying confidence really what I do hasn’t made me a better chef or anything like that But you know it kind of like Just gives you a little like a little something extra that it pushes me to work just a little extra harder to it like Keep proving that I deserve to have that like hold that title you know like that for sure All right, so as far as the winnings Go, what did you win when you want Hell’s Kitchen when I won Hell’s Kitchen they were very generous you know I’ve heard on a Few different sources saying that I didn’t win anything, but I definitely want I wanna they handed me a check for $250,000 which is nice I mean it was cool winning Hell’s Kitchen. It was it was cool doing the money as it was done in Hell’s Kitchen You know that was it was really cool to like actually Win something you know I guess don’t know it was really cool, but then I also Part of the choice of because I had a choice of prizes The first choice would be to go over to London train under Gordon Ramsay for a year you know and then from there you know if I You know was as great as he thought it was there if I was you know followed through then you know there could be some Possibilities for investment and whatnot but it was a big move at the time I had wasn’t alone I was married at the time trying to start a family and the other choice was a check for $250,000 and all the restaurant equipment on the show I mean every saute pan every stove. It was all mine And when I wanted I swear, I spent like at least a good like five and six hours. Just like running on top of everything It’s all mine Okay, every box. I could open like awesome. I had like cases of micro cleaners at home like it was like It was really cool time like I feel like a lot of it got wasted But a lot of it was like it was worth. It. Just to like experience some of the stuff I got experience from winning Hell’s Kitchen and right after Hell’s Kitchen after you won You were seen to be working at restaurant called tattoo Can you tell us just a little bit about that yeah tattoo was like the first project I did after winning Hell’s Kitchen Cuz after I won, it was almost a year before Eight months nine months to a year I think before I could even tell anybody from when well from what I want to win first a hair episode The production time I had to wait the entire time Not saying anything to anybody Which was really close the original question was the one? Yeah, oh my gosh. I forgot was like things you. Do you did when you? Was approached by some investors though they were gonna open up This was tattoo is a new old glam glam slam building in downtown Los Angeles It was Prince’s old building you had an old club and a like ladies 90s I believe in downtown LA is a really cool space I would have the upstairs area and downstairs would be a club you’d supply of food for down there and It was like it was an amazing experience Just be able to design the kitchen I got to design my dream kitchen that I always thought would be the perfect functioning kitchen It was a really dream restor is a really dream situation for me My ex-wife at the time was pregnant and we had our kid you know a little bit before tattoo opened and you know a lot we lost our child and Yeah, I wasn’t I was not able to bounce back out of that mentally you know I
I just wasn’t able to follow through my problem with tattoo and so I mean it was unfortunate I did we were able to open and I wouldn’t I was able to do a month or two but that I had to drop out of it, and you know life took some crazy courses for me at the time yeah and with You being able to be a tattoo for about two months How did your son’s death? Impact you in okay. We’ll turn the course of your life. Well up into that point. You know I had a dependency on pain medication Okay, a surgery that I had for scoliosis when I was 18 alright and so Having lose my daughter the way I did and it pushed me over to Really bad abuse. I was already on the edge of abusing drugs, and you know my life wasn’t very stable at the time you know analyzed a lot I had to do with where in Hell’s Kitchen just You know it was just the people that I was surrounded around. It was a lifestyle It was having an ATM car with a ton of money on it. Yeah, I made a bunch of bad You know I made some bad decisions And you know ultimately You know it pushed me down on a path where I? stepped down from being a chef You know I’ve never stopped cooking. I’m all I’m training right now to become the world’s most ninja line cook Nobody’s faster or efficient or happier when I go did I do okay? But I had to step down from being a chef because you can’t be you can’t have an addiction like When you’re a chef like half the time the kitchen comes before your family you know you need to be there and like you use the problem-solver and When you have a big problem already on your back. You know so I sort of um I actually dropped out of like normal society if you will I? I Started like sort of like finding little little hides little holes to to sleep in at night And I would cook during the day I would have a normal job, but I would go back to my little my little fortress of solitude and you know continue with my drug abuse and try to stay out of The any kind of light any kind of like I didn’t want to represent Hell’s Kitchen or chefs or anybody and being you know in Sad shape yeah, and that’s what a lot less cooperation has to do here You know yeah the fact that I’m on this couch talking with you And cooking’s like the one constant in my life Through all my addiction through divorce through children dying children being born and I have a beautiful son Like cooking is the one thing that’s like has kept me grounded and kept me up. You know like I go to work I’m good at what I do and like I’m happy. You know you have a crappy day, but you go to work It’s like the best time. It’s just like any problems I have I get on the dish hole and just spend an hour and work through my problems Yeah Yeah, so after a tattoo you rat. I believe this standard Yeah, definitely the standard was an interesting job like I got hired in there with a headhunter They brought me in with a huge salary like this was like office job I had I had a lounge two restaurants the patio that I was in charge of I Tell it was a lily and over in my head This is what I really just this job was really important for me because this job was a turning point for me like My addiction at this point. You know this is the standard with the time of my life when We started to go through my divorce Because of the how I lost my jobs actually losing my job at the standard kicked off getting divorced It was just within a couple weeks And I wasn’t available for my job at the standard because I was hiding my drug addiction and leaving my job and you know not putting cooking first, and I paid the price for that I Think I quit the day before I was gonna get fired And that was a huge paying job my life was like structured into Los Angeles pain like $5,000 a month rent Car payments just my life was not what I wanted it to be yeah it just wasn’t you know and like I just had my son and I couldn’t be around my son and be addicted cuz again my drugs gonna come for my kid Oh, I do watching my kid in my cat’s sake or like yeah I mean what kind of parent would that be and so you know I had to make some tough life decisions and like Luckily the path that I was on helped me to like Come back to myself as a person and realize that I have a lot to offer as a chef like you know And I need I need to take that big step, and you know I told myself I wouldn’t call myself a chef after until a few years into my surprise. Do you know that was a few years ago now? I’m like at the top of my game. I haven’t been sober for five years Preppers that by saying. I’m not sober. I don’t practice narcotic Anonymous or accidents I Don’t touch any kind of Medication that I was on anything and that’s a stay away from that and you know just in full disclosure Just want to tell you that That’s awesome, so I kind of want to get into how House kitchen runs. I know we talked about a little bit earlier Yeah, give us the behind-the-scenes. Give us a inner workings. What everyone really wants to know about Hell’s Kitchen, right? like hell You know I can’t speak for the other seasons I just can’t I don’t know how the production’s changed over time But I can tell you from my season they stayed Pretty true to the timeline of when film things were filmed and Dewar’s things were done You know I don’t think that I think that the contestants did a great job of you know tripping themselves up or sabotaging other people by making great job You know I don’t think there had to be too much going on behind the scenes So I think what we get is a he’s a great representation Gordon Ramsay is Like When you’re around him you’re just filled with so much happiness like you guys have a perspective of seeing him on TV in the kitchen Right where he he is just like but you get him out of the kitchen And he has he’s just like a little kid with what a DD he is the biggest smile? He’s oh he shakes your hand and he it hurts Like he’s just like he’s so jovial and he’s huge like I don’t know people realize that but he’s a big guy he was a professional athlete when he was younger you know like soccer and He’s just a very intimidating guy and like one of the his qualities that I love the most is I would love to be able To speak to rapid-fire French that he does JP man like when he would talk to the maitre d in French it was so cool like yeah, he does know a couple languages He’s really smart. He’s got a great. You know he’s he’s the real deal as far as chefs. Go you know and and He had that reputation Hell’s Kitchen he had that reputation when I lived in London and tried to work Like he’s still missing born Ramsay and like Everything that the whole behind the whole experience was amazing It really was it’s amazing to see how much that goes on behind the scenes you know how much how much work they put into it And where you film where you filmed constantly throughout Hell’s Kitchen? oh it was So from the time you so you were miked from the time you woke up to the time you went to bed They left the mic on you Oh even while you’re sleeping no right before you go to sew your mic But you know you’re on the patio hang now is late at night if you’re up the mics on if you go to lay down In bed they’ll come grab the mic from you, but on top of that. There’s like cameras in the bathrooms I mean they weren’t like shining into the stalls and into there But there was no places that were private there are static cameras every when you sleep there as those You know and bread cameras in the corner you know? So it took like about a week to get used to Big Brother always watching me But freaking me out or the two-way mirrors in the kitchen you can’t see him But I swear I could feel their presence back there. I was like. I know there’s somebody watching me right now I better not mess up But one thing I was blown about we weren’t able to bring our knives onto Hell’s Kitchen Oh, No yeah I can remember spinning like a good two weeks before we went on like getting my knife kit all perfect and Charlotte Reppin all my knives and get everything ready, and then they gave everybody the same kid We got we all got like brand-new kits. I don’t know what they gave, but we have like a whole we got a whole like Knife kiss and stuff like that. It was pretty cool. It was interesting it was cool, but I mean Yeah, they’re really true the interviews are great like going to doing the confessional as the questions they ask you and stuff this is fun Because like something will happen in all this and they’re like they’ll call you Mike back to the confessional please I get to stop what you’re doing and Gordon has to allow you to do that and so now you can see in his eyes He’s like there are a few times where he’s like. They’re not going back to the confession and like He’s working That’s awesome I know I always wonder Well this I always wonder those confessions where something happens and boom you got a comment on it right then yeah You have to you go right then and there you know you do it something for the facts no. No they do If it happens, they like wall it just happens you bring it like why’d you do that or how do you feel that how yeah? It was fun it was really weird in the beginning, you know I just was Nobody knew what to expect I mean nobody there You know it’s not like I had seen the first two seasons, and I know what I was into you know This is like the first season on the first show, and I’m just like You know trying to play as cool as possible Worked out that way I mean yeah, Michael was pretty calm and collected throughout the first season You just always kind of knew that he was gonna be the winner I can’t felt that way yeah, my heart the whole time. Yeah, I swear Yeah, me and Ralph knew it the first night. We sat down and were just like we like each other We’re gonna do whatever we can to Our I remember one of our strategies was Duke was blue? You’re always gonna back each other up You know and we were gonna do what we can we selected if none And I don’t mean I don’t mean this in a disrespectful way, but we we’re like okay. We want to carry some people yeah along like helping out make them not make them look good, but Incorporated into our team. Yep. You know anyway kick ass and then have them so as we get on You know the only person we’d like The only person we didn’t say that about who who deserves so much respect I think on on my season Hell’s Kitchen ass to LC like oh yeah out of all the people that I worked with Like I mean this was a mom who came in and made turkey tacos would pay salsa her first night She’s throwing down like within two weeks. She’s back here throwing down service You know like she made it as far as she did just based upon her heart. You know and like her willingness to her willingness to like Say yes chef and do it was awesome. Yeah, it was pretty inspirational watching that happen Yeah, she seemed ready to go when she’s in the Final Four Yeah, I’m ready to go back to her family. Ya know. She was done. She was so stoked to make it And she’s like I said she did it all on her own You know like I when it came to picking the teams at the end. I was just like This is the best like I got all the best people that we had to choose like no offense to the other teammates But there were people like like Krista I’m sure as heck not gonna choose him because I hope he’s be willing to help me action But you know I’d kind of threw him under the bus like that yeah He it. He was a threat. So you know yeah, you took him out It was awesome pretty devious, but you know I felt bad at first, but you know He wrote his own You know he he he said he was the best engineer was the worst and it turned out to be the opposite that day, yeah Go dirty bull Jimmy. Yeah, dirty bull Jimmy. He was I wish I could talk to him I haven’t stay in contact with anybody all over, but like You know I would love to like There we can find him. Where are you now? Yeah, where are you Jimmy? We’re gonna sit down. Talk to you – yeah, so after it So I like the stuff forgetting about house kitchen a lot of people don’t know so just to clear something up I don’t hear. He said it, but if you go online Michaels, this is not winning anything But that’s something we’re clearing up here. He actually did him yes, those kitchen people have been I Mean they did so much for my life, you know they’ve they took care of me I would hate for that for anybody to think that like there was no negative TV out of that experience I mean I remember I think the day after I won I woke up the next morning in a hotel room so tired. It was like a cheeseburger in my hand Wanting to go home that day and just like it was just at the end of it I was just it was it. Just took everything out of me It was like I was so exhausted at the end of I know exactly how I was Elsie fella You know what I mean like I was ready to go back Start this new life. You know and like you would think god, man you think oh? You won’t Hell’s Kitchen you have this money of all these opportunities and like you know that’s a big regret of mine as I felt like I Felt like I lost part of my opportunity to do to my addiction You know and I really want to get that opportunity back. I really want to be able to have a place that like People who come to eat my food our fans of the show yeah think coming taste the food that I’m cooking not like some restaurant in Vegas and I’m like an executive chef at or I don’t know how I don’t really know what the winners get right now there your contracts at a restaurant or Anything, but I would really love people to come and like actually Taste you know because I like to think of myself as I try to at least be an alchemist yeah potions when I’m cooking Magic that I put in there some like The love from my heart like I really think there’s there’s some of us chefs are all artists all artists have the ability to Emotions into what we’re creating yeah, I mean look at all the great paintings I mean and cooking to a lot is it’s a fine, art. You know I mean my palate our ingredients you know my things our texture and flavors and and Ingredients and salt and butter, but there’s just the same as paints that a painter uses You know I combined all these ingredients and and just like alchemy I have to heat things up and chemical reactions happen you know and I call it alchemy because I’m sure there’s some hard science back there, but I don’t know how or You know so it’s like I kind of just kind of think of it as like I you know pay pigeon and Professor Snape’s class and potion tide hovers and now I know how to make some sweet food Ya know. I just have so much fear. It was amazing So anything else you’d like to talk about Um let’s talk about the drug addiction How did you get out of it and what are the steps that you’ve taken to manage that so you don’t fall back into it? well That’s a good. That’s a good statement because you know our profession is Has a lot of alcoholism and then a lot of drug abuse in it you know there’s a lot of pressure on chefs to work a lot of hours and work hard and You know there’s a lot of ways out there for us to sort of like try to cheat the system And you know use drugs and stuff like that and like The only way that I’ve ever found to get out of those drugs is just You’re just gonna have to get to a point your life, or your life is so horrible And you can’t go along any further that you just have to change it You know the best thing to do is to reach out to help to your family my parents and in my my fiancee now or the only reasons why I have any sort of like claim on my sobriety over the last six years is because I have such a strong support staff And a lot and everybody’s been pushing me like you know it’s time to like You know be the great be the great chef that I haven’t like you know. I’m really trying to to launch a whole secret society of chefs I feel like our profession we Have secrets that are just as important as any secret societies any Freemasons I think I think there’s tricks to our trade that our secrets that are Essential to making our food amazing and then some we need to be have a place or a repository to be able to share that with other people you know and I really want to have a Standardized kitchen Across the board I would love to have chapters of skull and cleaver. Yeah clubs in each town and you know each kitchen That’s a skull and cleavers kitchen. We try to run all the kitchens the same way I’d love to have a network Where if you’re moving into a town you can move into that chapter of the skull and cleavers you know I like that yeah There’s a lot of there’s a lot of cool little details and aspects I have of it, but you know it’s always been a passion of mine to like To connect chefs with chefs to solve problems. You know in the kitchen like like crap. I need this or Or what do I? Substitute for that or how do I make this on the fly or I mean? There’s so many secrets so many things They’d be great to be able to go someplace and like Have a secret repository. I mean cuz I have so many years I mean
There’s so many people I spent so many years in the kitchen and it’s like a craft or a trade where When you do something so many times you learn how to do it, so Efficiently and so amazing you know that I would love to be able to have a way to share and to give that way You know like that keep the like Keeps them some sanctity to being a chef Keep the robots out of the kitchen Yeah, I Like what we’re doing like what we’re talking about so Michaels here. We’re hanging out together We want to put them back on the map Hook them up with some social media stuff, and yeah, what’s up, you guys you know? Passing this on to your friends, you know we’re gonna. I’m gonna be trying to start up a food truck here soon I’m getting married in October and you know I have I Mean I I mean I won Hell’s Kitchen. I think it’s time for me to do my own thing yep I don’t want any partners. I don’t need any investors You know I want I want it to be able to be my own like I want to be able to make my own money and do my own Thing you know and I don’t want a brick-and-mortar restaurant. I’ve had enough restaurants I’ve been enough partners, but what enough restaurants to know that like? Having a mobile food truck You know like I would love to come drive to your house in my mobile butcher come cook for you You know that’d be fun yeah All right anything else you want to talk about anything else we can give the nitty gritty about Nothing I can think of do you have any questions or a family? I wish there was a way We could have some people ask you some questions what they’d like to know about house kitchen you know like what you know because there’s a lot of stuff that happens behind the scenes you know it’s uh, it’s pretty fun So just stop this right now and all right guys or this is gonna be up soon I Hope you see it you like can you share it yeah, please? Do I’m gonna put information on Michael so you guys can get in contact with them ask them whatever you want Anything you I didn’t and especially about if there’s anything I could talk to you about with any sort of addiction You know if you’re a chef you got problems with opiates talk to me I’ve had some serious battles I’ve gotten to where I am and I don’t know if I can give any support or or lend Any advice or just you know even be there for you to you know to hear your problems, please let me know man I’m all about giving back to that because my sobriety is actually getting off the drugs was turning me into such a great chef For sure you have a give a clear mind, man. You make great food. You know cloudy mind you just burn your pizzas All right, so I hope you guys enjoyed this we’re gonna be doing a lot more stuff together, and we’re hoping to Get them back on the map, and we want you guys to stay tuned share this with your friends. I’m gonna leave some Contact information for Michael if you want to get in contact with them You can easily just message me as well on all sensitive his way so alright guys private parties. Okay, during private parties catering if your celebrity you want to buy your house cooking we can get him there, so Anything you want to speak to there is that covered know that yeah in my content formation if you have any if you want to Do any kind of party cooking event? cooking demos lessons What else I like to do? I like to just show up to your house and cook cook cook you dinner with whatever the heck you have in here Whatever you have in your house. I’m not scared. You know ask him base Dip today is also up on your doorstep to you. Okay alright guys You