Fort Worth chef talks about her ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ experience
After North Texas chef Jordan Savell stepped out of the 11th episode of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen season 19 this month, he can finally talk about the reality show she shot two years ago.
She went to the nomination block five times, where host Gordon Ramsay decides to exclude one of two chefs from the competition. The first time Ramsay actually called them out. He waited for the Savell to take off her jacket before telling her to get back in line and fire her opponent. The fifth time, Ramsay called another candidate’s name before telling her to get back in line and send Savell home instead.
“You are very disappointed,” said 31-year-old Savell of the intensity of those moments. “The name of the game is really, ‘Don’t suck the most today.'”
Ramsay showed a surprising amount of emotion when he finally picked up Savell’s jacket. He encouraged her to continue working as a cook, but said she was a soldier in place of the general he needed. Savell says Ramsay has that off-camera teen sense of humor, he really wants everyone to be successful on the show, and he’s really that good at the kitchen.
“It’s ridiculous to see him perform,” says Savell. “There is no wasted energy or movement. And he doesn’t have to repeat himself in front of the camera. He can do everything at once. He’s a machine. He gets up every morning and goes to the gym with his bodyguard. He’s also a huge man wearing a size 15 shoe. “
Chef Jordan Savell prepares El Cubano, her signature Cuban sandwich with smoked pork shoulder, ham, Swiss cheese, Chef J pickles, horseradish mustard and Cuban bread in her Bullfish Foods food truck on Wednesday, March 24, 2021 in Fort Worth. (Lola Gomez)
Originally slated to air last year, the current season of Hell’s Kitchen was pushed back during the pandemic. After serving a decade as a sous-chef at restaurants like Eddie V’s in Fort Worth and Oceanaire and Chamberlain’s in Dallas, Savell decided to audition for the show. She had auditioned for months when she was told to get on a plane to Las Vegas within a day.
She had left her struggles with alcohol and drug abuse for only six months before competing with 17 other chefs for a quarter of a million dollars and a position as head chef at Gordan Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen Lake Tahoe for 25 days.
“My feelings were very raw and very close to the surface,” says Savell. “I was barely sober in a stressful situation in Las Vegas and watched people drink. Whenever you see me on the show with a champagne glass, there is cider in it. “
Confiscated with the other chefs, she was not allowed to have contact with anyone at home. Phones, televisions, and radios were banned, but they always had microphones and cameras with them – even in the bathroom.
“The mirrors are all one-way,” says Savell. “They can see you, but you cannot see them. There are cameras everywhere. You can hear them at night. When you start talking you will hear all the cameras turning to look at you. “
Then she couldn’t talk about the experience for two years.
Chef Jordan Savell poses on her Bullfish Foods food truck in Fort Worth on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. (Lola Gomez)
In January 2021, Savell opened Bullfish Foods, a food truck from Fort Worth that specializes in classic sandwiches with a bit of Texasness or a little spin. For example, the pork on their Cubans and the meatballs on their submarine are smoked. The dan dan, a sandwich with Nutella and marshmallow, is roasted in French.
She says Hell’s Kitchen notoriety got Bullfish Foods off to a great start and has dramatically increased her followers on social media. But when she looks back on the show, she’s just proud of herself for doing that.
“When you’re on national television, you really feel vulnerable,” says Savell, who returns to the show for the last two episodes of the season. “I had to see a background investigator, psychiatrist, and doctor before they put me on TV. They ask you all the inappropriate questions that you don’t want to answer. So the producers are all familiar with this information. “
On the show, Savell mentions that her mother was in jail for years as a child.
“I’m not ashamed of it,” she says. “But what they didn’t broadcast is that my dad is the best dad in the world and has been married to my stepmother for almost 30 years. I had a family. They presented it differently. “
But in the end it was better being in Hell’s Kitchen than she could ever have imagined.
“To be a soldier in Gordon Ramsay’s eyes makes me a general in everyone else,” says Savell. “If Gordon Ramsay gives you a three, it’s a five for everyone else.”
Follow Bullfish Foods on Instagram at instagram.com/bullfishfoods for locations and hours.
Chef Jordan Savell presents El Cubano, their signature Cuban sandwich with smoked pork shoulder, ham, Swiss cheese, chef J’s pickles, horseradish mustard and Cuban bread in their Bullfish Foods food truck in Fort Worth on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. (Lola Gomez)