Tune in to the new season of Hell’s Kitchen to catch one of Mason’s own, Brendan Heavey, BA History ‘o4, competing against 17 other contestants—and host Gordon Ramsay’s fiery temper—to be head chef at New York City’s BLT Steak, complete with a quarter-million-dollar salary.
Heavey, who went to Mason after serving in the military, discovered his passion for cooking while studying abroad in Florence, Italy. It was there that he took his first cooking class.
“I loved everything that the Italians did with food,” he says. “It was so simple and fresh—I was blown away. It dawned on me then that I could do this professionally after college.”
After graduation, Heavey used the remaining funds from his GI Bill to study at Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. From there, he moved to New York City and worked in several restaurants. That’s when Heavey made a life-changing decision to answer a Craigslist ad that turned out to be an audition for the FOX reality show.
While, contractually, Heavey can’t say too much about the details of the show, he will say, “I would sum it up as being the most incredible experience that I would never want to do again.”
While participating in the show has led to exciting new opportunities, he says, there is definitely a reason they call it Hell’s Kitchen.“We were going off of very little sleep and were thrown into crazy situations. There will be a few episodes where viewers will say, ‘I can’t believe they’re making them do this.’”
And as for the infamous Ramsay? “The second you make a mistake, Ramsay is all over you,” he says. “He’s like Batman, like a shadow. He comes out of nowhere, and will know everything that you did wrong with a dish.”
But, he concedes, “He’s a supremely talented chef. When you go into a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, you know that he has taken the time to give you the most perfect dish that the kitchen can provide.”
Be sure to root on Heavey Monday and Tuesday nights on FOX. He promises, “This season is going to be better than any other seasons they’ve had.”