Hell’s Kitchen: Alex Belew talks about being part of the Battle of the Ages and cooking for Gordon Ramsay

HELL’S KITCHEN: Contestant Alex in the season 21 premiere episode of HELL’S KITCHEN airing Thursday, Sep. 29 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX.
HELL’S KITCHEN: Contestant Alex in the season 21 premiere episode of HELL’S KITCHEN airing Thursday, Sep. 29 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX. /

Are you watching Hell’s Kitchen: Battle of the Ages? If you are, then you may already know exactly who Chef Alex Belew is. After all, Chef Alex won a Punishment Pass thanks to his winning chicken wings dish to really kick things off in the competition.

And while his team was definitely on a losing kick through the first few episodes, things may end up turning around for him now that Gordon Ramsay has decided to go back to the men versus the women in the kitchen. Considering the older chefs were struggling in Hell’s Kitchen, it makes sense that Ramsay would be tired of the mess.

But we aren’t here for that. We are here to talk about Chef Alex Belew.

Prior to the third episode of Hell’s Kitchen: Battle of the Ages, we had a chance to chat with Alex Belew about cooking for Gordon Ramsay and what it was like being in Hell’s Kitchen. So what did he have to say?

Chef Alex Belew talks about cooking for Gordon Ramsay as part of Hell’s Kitchen Battle of the Ages

Alex Belew
HELL’S KITCHEN: L-R: Host / chef Gordon Ramsay, Alex Belew in the “Clawing To The Top” episode of HELL’S KITCHEN airing THURSDAY, Oct. 13 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. © 2022 FOX MEDIA LLC. CR: FOX. /

Guilty Eats: What made you want to be part of Hell’s Kitchen?

Alex Belew: “In 2013 I auditioned in Nashville when it was all in person and I made it through four or five rounds. And at the time, I worked at a church as a worship pastor. And so by the end of the [testing] with the video screens as I did, they asked me if I would cuss on screen or get in a hot tub with women on screen. And I was like, ‘No, you know, I really can’t do that like if I lose, I have to still come home and have a job.’

And they said, ‘Well, you’re one of the smartest contestants we’ve had apply in Nashville, but we just don’t think you’ll engage in the drama of Hell’s Kitchen.’ And I was like cool. So that’s a no.

And fast forward, I got fired from the church, owned and operated a restaurant through a pandemic and well it’s just easier to say that I’ve just taken on a little bit of bitterness in the last few years and life has changed me and maybe soured me a little bit. So my restaurant pivoted from fine dining restaurants with meal prep takeout business during COVID. And I was just really creatively kind of bored. Our sales were great. We were very successful, but I was just not in a place where I was enjoying my life. I was making chicken and rice and turkey taco bowls and healthy meals that people love. But I was just so depressed.

And I saw on Facebook from a guy that I went to culinary school with and he posted the link to the application and he said he might apply. And I was like, man, what the hell maybe I’ll give it a shot. And so I applied on the link online. And the last question said, Why do you want to compete on Hell’s Kitchen and I said, Well, in 2013 you all thought I was too nice. F*ck that. I’m ready to kick some ass. And I submitted the application and about five minutes later, I had a phone call from a producer in LA and we were coming off to the races.”

GE: How do you feel about it being Battle of the Ages this time?

AB: “I don’t know if you’ve seen the clip, but there’s a clip that shows Gordon telling us what the theme for the season is. And then it pans to all of us contestants standing there and I think I’m the last one to clap. I’ll be honest, I was not excited about it at all for two reasons.

One, I quickly realized that I’m in the old person’s crew and was not mentally prepared for that. And there was just something about the idea of working with people that had possibly been out of touch with the reality of actually cooking. The older you get you become more of a manager role. And food has changed so much in America in the last 20 years that I think these kids that were 20 to 30 had worked in some restaurants that were you know, we’ve had people that have worked in Alinea and Roister and 11 Madison Park that are in these 20 year old group and I just knew that that was going to be a formidable opponent.”

GE: Was there anything that surprised you about the first cooking challenge when you’re actually in Hell’s Kitchen and having to do this?

AB: “The first thing you notice is that it’s probably the hottest kitchen I’ve ever stood in in my entire life. Those French tops are ripping hot and you know, you’re running in there and you just found out what you have to make for your signature dish a few minutes before the competition starts. And you have no clue where anything is. You’ve never worked with any of these people. You’re bumping into each other. You’re having to find your ingredients. And you know 40 to 45 minutes goes by incredibly quick when you’re in a in a situation like that.”

GE: What was it like for you to be cooking for Gordon Ramsay?

AB: “Man, it’s very surreal. I mean, the first three days I’d think I was probably in a coma, like this was just some sort of medically induced dream that I was having. It felt so, so wild to just look around. You know, a couple days before that I was in my restaurant in Murfreesboro. And now I’m standing on this platform in front of Gordon and Christina and Jason with these 17 other contestants and all these cameras and it just feels… it doesn’t feel like real life. It’s just such a wild… He’s such a presence. He’s so fast. And he’s so smart. And he’s hilarious and it’s just, it’s hard to almost take it in all in that moment. There’s so many moments of just is this really happening. That’s it, that’s the best way I can explain it.”

GE: What do you hope viewers take away from your time on Hell’s Kitchen?

AB: “It was one of the best times of my life. Honestly, I had so much fun. We were pushed to our absolute limits every single day. Wow, that’s just such a hard question. I guess I want them to see that I did the best I could as a leader on my team. There’s a lot of things that I have knowledge about in the food world and there’s some things that I’ve still yet to learn.

You know, being a chef in Murfreesboro, Tennessee and in Nashville, I’m in a landlocked state. We don’t often get whole lobsters and have to take them apart. And that’s one of the challenges in tonight’s episode [episode 3] is taking apart a whole lobster and that’s not something that I’ve ever done. Most of the seafood that we get from a shellfish in this area comes already frozen taken apart. You know we get crab meat in containers. We don’t really have to take apart live crabs. And so I don’t know, I think I tried to be an incredibly positive person.

I want to help steer the team. It was never really about me personally. I’ve wanted to help my team succeed because I knew that if we could see succeed as a team, we will get through another day. And that was really what I was pushing for. The best part about being on the show for me was working with all of these like minded people that were pushing themselves to the absolute extreme and being as creative as possible and that just inspires everyone else to work that hard as well. And that was really, really cool to be around.

You know sometimes in a job you work with people that are just doing the job to do the job. They don’t really love it or enjoy it but every person that was there truly wanted to be there and they were giving their all and that was a really cool thing to be surrounded by.”

GE: My final question for you is what is your guilty eat?

AB: “My death row meal is a double stacked Smashburger that just runs down my chin. Just full of life and juice and flavor and textures and it’s got melty cheese and pickles and tomato and a wonderful sauce and a squishy but crispy bun and really great beef with a side of just banging Salt and Vinegar French fries. That would be my… You can kill me after that. I’m ready to go.”

If you are a fan of Chef Alex Belew and want to see more of him outside of Hell’s Kitchen, check out his YouTube to see more of his cooking and culinary journey.

Next. Bobby’s Triple Threat gets a second season renewal. dark