This week we got to talk to Kimmie Willis about her time on Hell’s Kitchen 2012 Season 10. She was one of the most talked about contestants- people either loved her or hated her. Our interview got straight to the issue about the drama in Hell’s Kitchen and the people around it. Her answers will surprise you!
Check Kimmie out on twitter @Chef_Kimmie_HK and on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/kimwillis25
FoodBeat: So what is your culinary history?
Kimmie Willis: It was really my father that started my passion with cooking. I made him these spiced hotdogs and he said it was the best thing he’d eaten. I thought he was joking because it was just hotdogs but he was really serious. I thought I’d give cooking a go and started working in a restaurant when I was 15. My grandmother was also a big inspiration to me. When I started cooking I knew I was good at it and I loved the work, so here I am!
FoodBeat: How did you find out about Hell’s Kitchen
Kimmie Willis: I was working as the personal chef to Lil Wyte and some of the members of Three Six Mafia and they put my name in the show. I had no idea until Lil Wyte emailed and said they wanted to interview me! My personality took me far and they accepted me on the show.
FoodBeat: Is it harder than you imagined?
Kimmie Willis: It’s a lot harder! I used to make fun of people on the show. You watch and say, “why can’t you just cook a steak?!” When you’re actually on the show in that position it’s so hard. Just being in a house with the other people is so hard. I had no idea it would be like this. You can’t prepare for how difficult it will be.
FoodBeat: You and Barbie don’t seem to get along. In almost every episode we see you two arguing. Is it just personality differences or is there something deeper?
Kimmie Willis: Everything you see on the show is all real. It came down to our personalities. We just clash on the show. It’s funny because I just got back from staying for a few weeks at her place. Off the show we’re good friends. Watching how we acted on the show is really shocking. Everything was said in the heat of the moment. It didn’t make it easier when we never really slept. Working dinner service means that we get to bed really late. Things always happen during the service so you lay in bed thinking about all the things you mess up. If I got 3 hours of sleep a night I was lucky.
FoodBeat: It seemed like you made friends and then lost them through the season.
Kimmie Willis: I wasn’t there to make friends. I was really trying to win. It was a job offer- a really long job interview. I wanted to impress Chef Ramsay, not to make friends with my competition. Now that the show is over I’ve made friends with the other chefs, like Barbie.
FoodBeat: What was your strategy in the competition?
Kimmie Willis: I was just trying to stay focused and do the best job I could do. I also really wanted to lean from Chef Ramsay. I was the chef with the least amount of knowledge and experience so it was a great opportunity to learn from my peers.
FoodBeat: We saw you on meat station a lot. You seem like a steak expert.
Kimmie Willis: Yes! I love working with steak. I am from Memphis so I grew up with steak. It’s really my passion. The bigger the meat, the better. It was my favorite station to work on and I’m glad I got a ton of experience there on the show.
FoodBeat: I know you were eliminated this week. That must have been hard. What has happened since being on the show?
Kimmie Willis: It was really hard being eliminated but I got so much experience so I sort of won anyway. Since being on the show I actually got engaged! My fiancé and I were in Philadelphia at Christina’s house and he asked me to marry him. I laughed it off and thought he was joking. He asked me again a week later and I realized he was serious. I felt so bad for laughing! We just got ring tattoos and we’ll be married on 12.12.12. I didn’t realize just how much work wedding planning would be. It’s less than 5 months away! I’m having my brother cater it so that will be great. He’s a cook and he taught me a lot of what I know. I know Robyn and I had drama on the show but she’ll actually be in my wedding party. She’ll even be wearing a dress!
If anyone wants to follow my wedding story, you can find pictures and information on https://www.zoosk.com/profile/00602873388783937567 If you vote us to be the most romantic couple, my fiancé and I could win a romantic getaway. We really need a vacation, so please vote!
FoodBeat: Is there anything you want our readers to know?
Kimmie Willis: I want to let people know that my fiancé and I are making our own catering company. It’s called Lil Bitz Catering so if you’re in the area and need some great food, give us a shout!