Hell's Kitchen has 15 new chefs vying for Gordon Ramsay's praise. The contestants arrive at the Los Angeles airport and board a bus to take them to the restaurant. Yet they don't know that one among them is really Chef Ramsay in disguise. He hears them talk about him and the competition. After arriving at Hell's Kitchen, Gordon peels off his mask and orders them to quickly whip up their signature dishes in 45 minutes.
Craig presents his dish wearing a tall chef hat. If his dish were actually good, would Gordon tell him to take off the stupid hat? Yet no one's dish impresses Chef Ramsay. Matt's dish combines venison, diver scallops, caviar, capers and white chocolate. It's so awful that Chef Ramsay vomits on first bite. Rosann's dish is deemed perfectly seasoned. Petrozza manages to stuff a Cornish hen into a pumpkin that sits on top of a greasy potato mush. Obviously, Chef Ramsay hates it. Only Vanessa's halibut is up to snuff. Gordon begins to question whether anyone is worthy of winning the prize -- a senior chef position at his new restaurant in Los Angeles.
The contestants retreat to the dorms to select their own team captains. Vanessa is immediately appointed because Chef liked her dish. While the guys fight it out, the girls set off to learn all the recipes for the next night's opening. After choosing Bobby, the men head to bed. The women stay up late to cram the recipe books.
The next day in the kitchen, sous chef Gloria encourages the girls to speed it up. Chef Ramsay quizzes the men about the entrees on his menu. None of them have a clue, which infuriates Chef. The women silently have their hands raised to answer. Chef Ramsay names Petrozza and Shayna to represent their teams by serving flambé at tableside.
The dining room is opened and the appetizer orders fly in. Jason is in the back having a relaxing cigarette despite his team going into overdrive. Jen tries to take over Sharon's section when Chef hates her risotto. Jason's risotto is even worse, and Chef makes him re-do it. This wastes Dominic's scallops that were ready to serve. Captain Bobby just ignores it all to concentrate on his section, and Chef calls him out on his poor leadership. Sharon makes another attempt at the risotto but she can't do it, and Chef removes her from the section. Jen takes over.
With no food going out, Jean-Phillipe tries to appease the customers. Jason once again ruins the risotto and Chef has him sit down instead of work. When Jen's leadership churns bad fried eggs, Chef appoints Rosann to bring order to the red kitchen. Meanwhile, Dominic gets yelled at for wasting more scallops. Chef Ramsay demands that someone take control of the blue kitchen, but Bobby doesn't bother to leave his station to tend to his teammates.
Chef Ramsay finally approves Jen's risotto and appetizers get out to the red team's patrons. The men are at a complete standstill. "Useless f***ing pieces of sh**!" Chef screams. Chef has Bobby hand off his captain badge to Louross, who is at least trying. The women are finished serving appetizers and have moved onto dealing with entrees, but Chef Ramsay laments Corey's rubber chicken. No entrees are delivered from the red team. The blue team is still stuck on appetizers.
Despite some food getting out, the customers begin to leave in droves. Chef shuts Hell's Kitchen and everyone begrudgingly cleans their sections. The teams line up for rebuking. Chef calls Captain Vanessa a mouse. He thinks no one has won, but the men are the losing team. Louross was the best of the worst, and Chef wants him to choose two guys for elimination.
Louross names Bobby for being ineffective as team captain. He also nominates Dominic because he couldn't get his orders out on time. Dominic explains that he was misdirected by his captain even though he wasted about 30 scallops. Bobby insists that his entrees were ready to go but admits that he was not a good captain. Chef decides to get rid of Dominic. He tells Bobby to "wake up." Chef also notes that Jason dodged a bullet.
"This has been the worst ever start," Chef sighs.