Can Amanda Giblin Stand the Heat?

The lesbian contestant battles Gordon Ramsay on Hells Kitchen Season 11

New Jersey native Amanda Giblin will be one of 20 contestants on the new season of Hell’s Kitchen, the culinary shark tank/reality show helmed by caustic British chef Gordon Ramsay. With her curly hair and angelic dimples, Giblin looks almost too delicate for her grilling in Ramsay’s kitchen—but the 28-year-old executive chef has 13 years of cooking experience beginning with recipes from her Irish-Italian family.

While in high school, her teachers noted her talents and encouraged Giblin to consider pursuing a career in culinary arts. She attended Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI, and after graduating she proved her skill as executive chef in a restaurant in Suffern, NY. “It was here that I really learned to push myself outside of my comfort zone; to develop my skill and cooking style. I was granted the freedom to experiment and explore my palate with seasonal fresh local ingredients, transforming them into simple, flavorful and artistic dishes,” she tells GO.

Giblin gave us a peek into the Hell’s Kitchen cauldron in advance of the new season’s premier on March 12.

GO: Which restaurants have you worked in, and where are you cooking now? 

Giblin: I was a personal chef for an incredible family in New Fairfield, CT for two-and-a-half years, sous chef at Savory in Manhattan for about a year, an executive chef in Poughkeepsie, NY for a short while, and most recently, I was just offered a position as a sous chef at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.

What is your culinary specialty?
My specialty is pan-seared sea scallops over roasted corn and crispy prosciutto risotto with a lemon butter nage.

What persuaded you to try out for Hell’s Kitchen?
My wife, Anna, and I watch the show a lot and she basically planted the seed in my head. After giving it some thought, I knew it would be an excellent opportunity to challenge myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I could survive “Hell” and that I had what it takes to make it to the end.

Are you ready for the infamous verbal assaults from Chef Ramsay?
Growing up, I was picked on quite often, so my mother raised me to let things like that roll off my back. It’s those experiences that have allowed me to become thick-skinned and I use that to motivate and drive me to push harder to succeed.

What skills did you bring to the table–literally–that you felt gave you the edge against your competitors?
I worked under a chef for three years who pushed and challenged me in ways I never imagined, every single day! That experience has prepared me mentally for what I was about to experience with Chef Ramsay. I was taught the skill of being able to stay focused under extreme pressure.

Give us a hint of your favorite challenge on the show. Did you ever have to scale a hundred pounds of fish after losing a round?
Though there were many memorable moments for me this season, I’m afraid you’ll just have to tune in to see what exciting challenges and rewards/punishments Chef Ramsay had in store for us!

Did you feel that being a lesbian was an asset in the competition?

I don’t feel it was a necessarily an asset, but I was excited for the opportunity to be seen on TV as a positive lesbian role model. I [also] have a strong assertive personality, which has allowed me to be successful in this male-dominated profession.

Finally, what did you learn about yourself from the Hell’s Kitchen experience?
I am much stronger than I ever give myself credit for! There is nothing in my profession that can break me. Since my time in Hell’s Kitchen, I truly am a stronger chef.

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