Inside the Casting of Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares with Debbie & Lisa Ganz

Yesterday, ICE students took part in a very unique demo from some of the people behind the scenes of one of TV’s top-related food shows.

Identical twins Lisa and Debbie Ganz are the owners of Twins Talent and act as senior casting producers of the hit shows Hell’s Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares, starring celebrity Gordon Ramsay. They are also the former owners and founders of Twins Restaurant, a restaurant staffed entirely by identical twins.

When asked what they look for in a contestant, the twins said that it was not so much about cooking ability, but it was more important to have the ability to withstand the tough conditions on the show and to have some interesting qualities that make for good TV. They said, “There is rigorous testing involved, not just cooking skills but psychological tests and exams as well.” The twins brought along eight former contestants from Hell’s Kitchen to answer the audience’s questions about reality TV and the craze for food on television.

On the panel were Vinny Accardi, Boris Poleschuk, Rob McCue, Craig Schneider, Fran Klier, Matt Segal, Seth Levine and Salvatore Coppola. The panel of former contestants talked about their experience before, during and after filming the show and how reality TV had changed their lives. When an audience member asked them how much the show actually resembled their day-to-day life as chefs, one panelist replied, “In general, it’s really similar. That is until Gordon starts yelling at you.”

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