This week we had the opportunity to talk with Hell’s Kitchen season 10 contestant Dana Cohen. She is all business in the kitchen and is focusing on winning this season. Dana was a blast to talk to and has real passion for cooking. At the FoodBeat headquarters, we can see her reaching the finale and maybe winning! She is a real contender and someone to watch. Find Dana Cohen online at www.facebook.com/ChefDanaCohen and www.twitter.com/ChefDanaHK.
FoodBeat: So what is your culinary history?
Dana Cohen: Even when I was a child I loved food. I was really into trying new and unique things. My mom tells this funny story about when I came from a play date at a friend’s house. My friend’s mother was preparing snacks for us and I asked for goat cheese! I loved to watch my mother cook and I learnt a lot from her. I ended up going to the Culinary Institute of America and that solidified my love of cooking.
FoodBeat: How did you find out about Hell’s Kitchen?
Dana Cohen: They actually found me! I had recently worked on an audition to another television show but it ended up getting canceled. The Hell’s Kitchen casting people went looking for people they already knew about and found my name. It’s funny because when I saw who they ended up choosing for the contestants I thought I was the only normal person. It turned out we’re all a bit crazy, but we’re also just average people too. I made a point of staying out of the drama on the show though, so I think I’m still less crazy than most there.
FoodBeat: What has been the hardest part of the show?
Dana Cohen: Well, staying out of the drama hasn’t been too hard. I am there for one reason and one reason only- to win! I’m trying to do my best and prove to Chef Ramsay that I’m the right choice. The hardest thing was getting used to what Chef Ramsay expected of me. People who watch the show don’t understand how different his techniques are and we have to learn them all new. His standards are really different than a normal kitchen, and anything I knew before was totally thrown out the window.
FoodBeat: What do you think of the teams being women VS men? Would it have been better as mixed groups?
Dana Cohen: I think if there was mixed groups there would be less drama. If I was on the blue team there would have a lot less “catty-ness” to deal with. We were nine women on one team with nothing in common except our love of cooking. I do like that it is women VS men because I think women are not as recognised in the industry. The first few challenges we sure kicked the men’s’ asses! We proved people wrong and showed that women are just as strong in the kitchen as men.
FoodBeat: What do you think it will take to win? Passion or knowledge?
Dana Cohen: I think you need to be the whole package. Most of all you need to be vocal. Being the head of a kitchen means you need to be the strongest, loudest person and you cannot be meek. You also need the skills to back it up. Chef Ramsay needs someone who won’t break in the kitchen under that amount of pressure. While Gordon Ramsay is seriously mad in the kitchen on the show, part of it is testing you to see how strong you are emotionally. Not many people can handle it but that’s the point- finding the one chef who can.