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Ranjit "Raj" Brandston was a contestant on Season 8 of Hell's Kitchen. He ranked in 13th place.

Personality

Raj is widely regarded as one of the worst and most useless chefs in Hell's Kitchen history. Despite having a lot of passion and being the oldest of the season, he was slow and had trouble communicating with his teammates despite having more experience than everybody else, even more than Ramsay. He also had a hard time following orders, tending to do things on his own in the kitchen, including eating food that was supposed to be served to customers. However, his biggest problem was not recognizing his mistakes and being completely delusional about being the strongest in the competition, which caused him to become a very easy target for being berated by almost all of his teammates, arguably except Russell.

Season 8

Episode 1

During the introduction of the season, Raj was one of the four chefs shown to have received his acceptance invitation, much to his excitement. After James introduced himself, all the chefs put blindfolds on and were taken to the prize restaurant, the LA Market, in Los Angeles. Then, they returned to Hell's Kitchen, and were asked to cook their signature dishes.

During the Signature Dish Challenge, when Vinny's dish had a poor presentation, Raj prayed to God despite not being religious. He was given Antonia's gumbo at one point and was forced to taste it. After that, he was the eighth and final person from the blue team to have his dish judged by Ramsay and went up against Sabrina. His dish was a seafood and vegetable pancake, but Ramsay was shocked as it did not look like a pancake and was even more shocked when there was oil dripping out of it, claiming it had gone for a piss. Even though the seafood tasted good, Ramsay did not award him a point because of the poor presentation, and he lost the round to Sabrina. Fortunately, the blue team won the challenge after Ramsay broke the tie in favor for them, and they were rewarded with massages, champagne, and caviar in the dorms. During the reward, he entertained his team by doing drunk karate.

During dinner service, Raj was assigned as a waiter. He stumbled on explaining the specials to his first table and was seen writing the orders at the pass, causing Ramsay to ask why he didn't do so at the tables. Later, Ramsay told him to either help the blue team in the kitchen or fuck off. So, he came back into the kitchen and was sent to help Boris at the pizza station. However, he was unable to follow Boris' instructions and decided to cut the cheese instead of rolling the pizza dough, like Boris asked. Both teams lost dinner service, with Ramsay accusing him of switching off, and they were asked to nominate two people each.

Raj was the blue team's first nominee for elimination after Louis commented that he was being a bit delusional about his performance, with Trev being the second, and they joined Lisa and Sabrina from the red team. In his plea, Raj stated that he was starting to get more familiar with working in the kitchen. Questioning Raj's plea, Ramsay asked if he was the most experienced chef out of any of his teammates and if he really had more experience than him, to which Raj confirmed both. Ramsay was shocked about this, but Raj survived elimination.[1]

Episode 2

While going back to the dorms, Raj sarcastically thanked Louis for his comments. Before the next challenge, he distracted Ramsay and the other chefs with his heavy breathing, and was told to slow down by him.

During the Sushi Challenge, Raj was paired with Russell. They only had 4 of their 9 pieces accepted because he failed to put wasabi in three of his tuna nigiri pieces. Despite that, the blue team won the challenge 16-15, and they were rewarded with a trip to Cellar360 in San Francisco for a wine tasting with Ramsay, and a dinner at the Water Bar restaurant. He also got to keep his Morimoto knives that were used during the challenge. During the reward, he did not understand the concept of wine tasting as he was gulping it straight with a lot of noise, causing Ramsay to jokingly tell him to sip it.

During prep, Raj was struggling on getting his station ready when he was picking parsley, so Vinny came by to help him. During dinner service, he was on the garnish station. He first earned Ramsay's ire when he failed to hear his order despite being next to him. When Ramsay confronted him about Vinny telling the diners not to order sides, he argued he did not let him do that, even showing the ready sides. Vinny then admitted that he encouraged the diners not to order sides because Raj was working the station, and he was worried that Raj would take too long to get the sides out correctly. Later on, Ramsay saw that he was stacking up garnishes that had not been ordered by the customers, leading to him being ejected from the kitchen. When he got back to the dorms, he put his head in the freezer to get his mind straightened. When the rest of the blue team got ejected as well and joined him in the dorms, he told everyone to calm down, calling them kids, which angered Louis, who yelled at him for his condescending remark. The rest of the blue team joined Louis and threw things at Raj, who was also berated by Vinny for failing to correctly prep parsley and called a waste of life by Boris. However, he called his team a bunch of snakes, and they lost the dinner service by a mile to the red team. While figuring out who to nominate, Raj thought that it was evil for Vinny to tell the customers not to order sides just to make him a scapegoat to be set up for nomination.

Raj was the blue team's first nominee for elimination, with Boris being the second, and they were eventually joined by Vinny. In his plea, he stated that he was being falsely accused due to Vinny's antics and that he was getting more familiar with working and the kitchen, adding that he was a slow learner. Ramsay remarked that since he had more experience that any other contestant, and he wanted Raj to be a fast learner. He survived elimination. In an interview, he commented how the rest of the blue team are shitting in their pants, knowing the he will win the competition. Raj then shouted at the camera that he will survive Hell's Kitchen, whether his teammates like it or not, claiming that he is the best, and then accidentally fell down.[2]

Episode 3

Back in the dorms, Raj was extremely happy to have survived elimination twice in a row and mocked Vinny for his malicious decision to tell the diners not to order sides. Later that night, at 2:18 am, he was still celebrating but Trev told him to calm down. 

During the Paramedic Service Challenge, Raj was on the scrambled egg station. He brought up his scrambled eggs, but Ramsay found out that there was no seasoning in them, forcing the blue team to taste them. When he was about to argue with Ramsay about the seasoning, he got chewed out for it. Confused by the situation, he left the kitchen and put his head in the fridge to get straightened out, but Ramsay caught him and he was told to move his fat fucking ass. His team lost the challenge, and he tried to argue that he tried to speak up during the challenge, but Trev shut him up and reminded him that they were performing as individuals.

The blue team were forced to polish 250 stemware glasses for the next service, and clean both kitchens. During the punishment, Raj was urged by Trev to help out with the polishing, but he felt that Trev was being mean to him, and also believed that he was all alone against the rest of his team, who he compared to kids. Trev also saw that he left watermarks on one of his glasses. Later, as they were cleaning the red kitchen, Trev saw that he partially covered a loaf of bread with ceramic wrap, and Trev was starting to get fed up. The rest of the blue team was getting fed up as well, as Vinny noted that while he might have the most cooking experience of them all, he was clearly showing that he had cooked in shit restaurants for 30 years. He called that comment from Vinny unfair but got yelled by an angry Trev that he sucked, was screwing up the blue team and that they were trying to get it through his thick skull. However, he accused them of targeting him unfairly, which led Trev to tell him to go home and stuff his face with Twinkies until he would have a heart attack. As the argument continued, Raj got enraged, lashed out at Trev, yelled at him while mere inches away from his face, and called the rest of his team a bunch of snakes. Before anything escalated, Boris and Russell pulled him out in the hallway, and Boris told him to calm down with some Tai Chi.

During prep, Raj was urged by Boris to communicate. Ramsay also told him that he did not given up any hope for him yet, but urged him to make a comeback and stay out of the fridge. 

During dinner service, Raj was on the fish station. He was about to send up his scallops to the pass despite Vinny saying that he needed four more minutes on his spaghetti, and was convinced to re-fire them. When the team moved on to entrées, he brought up his salmon, but Ramsay found that he cooked it in a disgusting stock that was not needed, forcing the blue team to start over. Later, he said that he was ready with the re-fired salmon, but backtracked and said he needed one more minute, causing Ramsay to call him a fucking bozo. He managed to bring up the salmon, but it turned out to be raw and Ramsay smashed it with his hand in frustration. Oblivious as to why the salmon was rejected, he attempted to ask Ramsay about it, ignoring that Ramsay had both of his ears plugged and Rob urged him not to say anything. Eventually, Ramsay angrily told him to cook his fucking dish and shut his fat mouth. Then, Ramsay had Vinny help him out, and because of Vinny, the team was able to get their first table out. Later on, Boris caught him eating the rejected fish at his station and begged him to stop. Soon after, Ramsay caught him eating and mockingly told him that he already had enough in there, while patting his stomach, but he said that the food was delicious, much to Ramsay’s annoyance. Later on, he was seen delivering his halibut which was accepted, but Ramsay saw that he cooked three Dover Soles that were not even ordered, and was told by Vinny that there was no way Ramsay would accept them from that moment. Ramsay called for the Dover Sole, but he revealed that there was no more left despite the fact there were three on order. That horrified Ramsay and the rest of the blue team, and after much thinking, Ramsay ordered him to go out to the dining room and inform the diners who ordered the Dover Soles what happened. However, he tried to argue that he could not go out due to a dirty apron, but Ramsay angrily ordered him to leave, and when he struggled with dropping his apron off, Sous Chef Scott aggressively ordered him to drop it and leave. Once in the dining room, he told the table about their predicament and offered other fish dishes instead. Despite all of his problems, the blue team won the service as they received a 54% approval rating from the customers, compared to the red team's 46%.

Despite the fact that he was on the winning team, Raj was eliminated for being the worst performer in the first three services and being way out of his league. After being eliminated, he was shocked to leave Hell's Kitchen while noting that he never got along with his teammates, Ramsay, and Sous Chef Scott, but said that he had a great experience and was really glad that he did it.

Ramsay's comment: "When the going gets tough in the kitchen, a chef puts his head down and cooks. All Raj wanted to do was put his head in the freezer, and that's why his stay in Hell's Kitchen was a short one." [3]

Nomination History

Week 1 Nominated
Week 2 Nominated
Week 3 Eliminated

Post Hell's Kitchen

  • After his appearance on the show, Raj returned to his previous career as a personal chef.
  • As of 2019, Raj is working at Frankel's in Brooklyn and for various venues as a catering chef including Rockefeller Center.

Trivia

  • He is the third contestant to survive the opening night elimination as the first nominee, following Joanna (Season 3) and Bobby (Season 4).
  • He is the third contestant to be eliminated despite being on the winning team, following Carol (Season 5) and Salvatore (Season 7).
  • He was controversially named the "Number 2" Worst Contestant on the show on Top 10 WORST Hell's Kitchen Contestants by WatchMojo.
  • At age 49 (58 now) he's the oldest of the season, however, he's not the oldest at time adjusting.
  • Despite being one of the worst chefs in the history of the show, he oddly is one of the most popular contestants in the history of the show due to his eccentric behavior and wacky tendencies.

Quotes

  • "Everybody loves my food, everybody knows my food. I've been written on, just Google my name."
  • "Thank you Lord, thank you Jesus. I feel great! Now I am definitely gonna win this competition, now I know it!"
  • "I start drinking, and I start doing karate... It's a bad habit."
  • "Well, Raj. This is gonna be a loooong night."
  • "It was fairly abusive on his part. I'm worried about Chef Ramsay's, you know, karma."
  • (To Trev) "Shut up...SHUT UP...SHUT UP... SHUT THE FUCK UP!"
  • "Everybody's just completely jealous of me, and that's the only reason why they want to eliminate me because they know I'm gonna win."
  • "I'm being targeted, I'm being harassed, and I am really at the point where I don't know what to do."
  • "I know that the guys in my team are shitting in their pants knowing that Raj is going to destroy them. I'M HERE TO STAY, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT, 'CAUSE I AM THE BEST!"
  • "I know that the guys of my team have absolutely no chance, so they're doing anything they can to get rid of me."
  • "I'm a professional chef. I'm working with a bunch of kids. I'm in a situation where it's me versus them."
  • (To his teammates) "FUCK ALL OF YOU MOTHERFUCKERS! You guys are a bunch of SNAKES, YOU FUCKING SNAKE!"
  • "They just blame me because I'm an easy target for them. You know, here I am, I'm in that snake pit, and I'm the mongoose and the mongoose is trying to fight the cobra."
  • "Trevor, he's, he's really not a nice person, and he's also being very mean."
  • "I personally cooked thousands and thousands and thousands of pieces of salmon in my life."
  • "I see all this food, and it looks delicious, so I just, you know, ate it. How can Chef Ramsay blame me for eating this delicious food? It's fantastic."
  • (After his cooked salmon was rejected) "My personal techniques are not working for Chef Ramsay."
  • "I try to really only drink once a week, but you know I drink pretty heavily that once a week."
  • "Chef Ramsay is like, 'OH MY GOD! There's no salt. There's no pepper!'"
  • (While arguing with his teammates) "This is harassment now."
  • "I'm not this timid man who's just going to sit back and just say, 'Okay, chef.' You know, I'm going to try to make a case for myself. But, um... it's-it's hard."
  • (When trying to explain to guests that they've run out of sole special) "Couple things are going on in my head. 'My God, look at this. I'm a star'. Then next thing you know, "Look at this, I'm an idiot". So then there's this elation and then there's this degration, all at the same time."
  • (After being eliminated) "I can't believe it, it's just a shock. I didn't get along with anybody, I didn't get along with Chef Ramsay, I didn't get along with Scott, I didn't like the menu. But it was a great experience, I had a great time and I'm really glad I did it."
  • "I am an excellent poissonnier."

Gallery

External links

References

Hell's Kitchen Season 8
Staff

Gordon Ramsay (Head Chef) • Scott Leibfried (Blue Team Sous Chef) • Andi Van Willigan-Cutspec (Red Team Sous Chef) • James Lukanik (Maître d'hôtel)

Contestants

Vinny AccardiAntonia BoregmanRaj BrandstonSabrina BrimhallLewis CurtisMelissa DoneyJillian FlathersRussell KookEmily KutchinsLisa LaFrancaRob McCueTrev McGrathGail NovenarioBoris PoleschukLouis RepucciNona Sivley


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