‘MasterChef’ Gordon Ramsay Is Pretty Terrifying, Chef Kelsey Admits [Exclusive]

Having her food judged on FOX‘s MasterChef by Gordon Ramsay was a pretty “terrifying” experience, MasterChef winner Kelsey Murphy admitted.

Ramsay, who is known for his explosive reactions on shows like Hell’s Kitchen, is as intimidating in person as he is on the show. Perhaps MasterChef producers know chef contestants are nervous because Murphy said they had Ramsay sitting in the dark, which added more effect.

Gordon Ramsay is ‘terrifying’ on ‘MasterChef’

Murphy used one word to describe having Ramsay judge her food. “It was terrifying,” she told Showbiz Cheat Sheet. “Oh my God. Especially that first dish when you go up to try to win your apron, you’re walking into this panel of judges. Gordon Ramsay’s just sitting there in this dark room. It’s like, so ominous. You’re like, ‘Here’s my food.’ And you’re just terrified. You don’t know what they’re going to say. And then they eat it.”

Chef Kelsey Murphy cooks for MasterChef Gordon Ramsay and guest judge chef Niki Nakayama
Kelsey Murphy, Gordon Ramsay, Niki Nakayama | FOX via Getty Images

Thankfully for Murphy, Ramsay and the other judges loved her creations. “They ate mine, loved it,” she recalled. “Oh, my God, this is amazing. And even throughout the season, they keep eating your dish and saying, like, ‘I would serve this in my restaurant.’ Or ‘this is Michelin star level.'” She laughed and added, “Oh they’re just saying that.”

Gordon Ramsay and other ‘MasterChef’ judges loved Kelsey’s food

But Ramsay, along with chefs Aarón Sanchez, and Joe Bastianich weren’t “just saying” they loved her food. “I think that’s the hardest thing is to kind of build that confidence that, OK, maybe it is that good,” she remarked.

“And I think even it wasn’t till I came back [home] and started doing more kind of like high-end private dinners and cooking for a lot of people. And where I get that feedback from other people that they were like, look, this is insane. This is so good. That’s when I really started to believe it. Like, I’m actually good at this. This is where I’m supposed to be and what I’m meant to be doing.”

And while she realized that being a chef was her destiny, she also experienced a chef rite of passage on the show that was a lot more intense than what viewers may have realized.

Chef Kelsey recalls her horrific injury during a challenge on the show

During MasterChef Episode 13 Murphy sliced off the top of her thumb while preparing a sea bass appetizer. It was actually Ramsay who first sprung into action, quickly calling for medical attention. On the show, Murphy appeared calm and insisted on completing the challenge.

In reality, she was serious trouble. “It was pretty bad,” she recalled. “I had cut straight to the bone and we didn’t know about it. And I had to have full-on big reconstructive surgery when I got back here. And I was also 30 weeks pregnant. So it was a whole ordeal. And it was definitely tough to get through.”

“And I think it helped and hurt me in ways,” Murphy added. “It kind of helped me persevere through it and I just had to keep my blinders on and just keep going. There’s no other way to put it. We tough women, we just learn how to do that.

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