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Hell’s Kitchen: Season Seven Runner Up Jay Santos Exclusive Interview

August 11, 2010 11:24 AM by Lisa Princ

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Last night on Hell’s Kitchen on FOX, we all watched as Jay Santos‘ dream of running The Savoy in England was squashed when Gordon Ramsay gave the win to Holli Ugalde. Jay took a few minutes this afternoon to chat with us about his experience on the show, his blue hair, and what’s next for him. Keep reading for all the details!

It was clear to me why Jay Santos was in the finale but of course you never know just how some folks react to losing. This calm, cool and collected guy had nothing but good things to say about Hell’s Kitchen and Gordon Ramsay despite the fact that he lost. Here is what Jay wanted to share with us.

RTVM: So sorry to see you lose last night Jay, what do you think went wrong?

Jay Santos: I don’t know, you’d have to ask Gordon Ramsay. I thought I had a great service and a strong finish with a great team. Holli was a great competitor, but I thought I had it. Ultimately, it was Chef Ramsay’s decision and I respect that.

RTVM: I know the finale was condensed as opposed to previous seasons and they seemed to show Ben taking over the kitchen a lot for you, do you think that hurt you?

Jay Santos: No, Ben had my back the entire time. And in the time frame you certainly couldn’t see everything that happened. As with every great chef, they have a great sous chef.

RTVM: So Ben was your strong sous chef last night?

Jay Santos: I like to refer to Ben as my bitch [laughing]. Yes he was, he had my back.

RTVM: Ben seemed to get mixed reviews from the other contestants, what is he like to you?

Jay Santos: Benjamin is harmless. And honestly, I don’t know one chef out there who doesn’t have a bit of arrogance to them, I just think they focused more on it with Ben. Ben is a phenomenal chef and we are great friends.

RTVM: Do you keep in touch with any other former contestants?

Jay Santos: Yes, a lot of them. In fact as soon I get off the phone with you I am heading to meet Salvatore and Ed for lunch, they are both in Boston.

RTVM: What did you enjoy the most about your experience on Hell’s Kitchen?

Jay Santos: The experience as a whole was great. It sucked being messed with by Gordon Ramsay but I loved every second of it. You know, I was there for two months and had no responsibilities aside from cooking, it was almost like a vacation for me.

RTVM: How did you maintain your composure during Ramsay’s rampages?

Jay Santos: The first few times, you think to yourself “Oh my God” but then it becomes normal and you just go with it. I’ve always watched the show and seen grown men cry. I’ve worked in tough kitchens before so this was nothing new to me, although it’s never been this tough. I have to be honest with you though, Sous Chef Scott scared me more than Chef Ramsay. I mean when I first saw Gordon Ramsay I thought I was going to pass out, but Sous Chef Scott was intimidating.

RTVM: What advice can you offer future contestants of Hell’s Kitchen?

Jay Santos: Take lots of valium [laughing]. You know for me, I actually had a friend who was on the show prior and when he asked me if I made the show, I lied to him and said no because I did not want to know. So I would just say expect the unexpected and be ready for anything.

RTVM: Before you go, I have to ask…is there a story behind your blue hair?

Jay Santos: I’ve had blue hair for the past 13 years. There is no reason behind it, not because of the blue team, blue jays or whatever else. It’s just my favorite color and this is me.

RTVM: What’s next for you?

Jay Santos: Well, I have been cooking in Boston for 13 years so I will keep at that but I would love to have my own radio or television show in the future. This experience has definitely elevated my exposure so I will just sit back and see where it takes me. My fans can keep up with me at chefjasonsantos.com.

Thank you Jay for taking the time to speak with me today, best of luck in all your endeavors!

Season Eight of Hell’s Kitchen on FOX premieres on Wed, 9/22 at 8 pm EST, be sure to tune in! Also, remember to catch Gordon Ramsay‘s newest show MasterChef at 9 pm EST!

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Photo credit: FOX

Topics: FOX Reality TV Shows, Hell's Kitchen |

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