Meet Bret Hauser, a 30-year-old, Miami-based sous chef who can be seen on the current 14th season of Hell’s Kitchen—you know, that competition reality show where chef Gordon Ramsay screams and yells at a crew of hopeful chefs who are all sweating their way through a gauntlet of grueling, culinary challenges all for a coveted, high paying job within Ramsay’s empire. This time, the last man (or woman) standing will score gig at Caesar’s Atlantic City. Known as the hot tempered one on the blue team, Bret is also one of the few inked contestants who recently got the Hell’s Kitchen logo tattooed on himself. We were able to chat it up with Bret and talk to him about his experience on the show and the rest of his food-themed tattoos. He even shared the recipe for his signature dish with us—a rustic bone in veal chop.
How long was your HK audition process? Can you tell us about your journey getting onto the show?
The audition process lasted quite a while from the time that I originally met with the producers in Miami to the time that I was flown it to LA. It had to have been probably a year.
During your first team challenge in the premiere episode, Gordon gave your bone-in veal chop a 3 out of 5 score. Not too shabby, but were you hoping to score higher?
Certainly a 3 out of 5 is decent, I mean, of course I was hoping for a 5 out of 5 but I knew my dish was very rustic and my style of cuisine is more simple so I knew no matter what, I at least would have gotten a 3 out of 5 or higher.
How often do you agree or disagree with the scoring by some of the guest judges?
These judges are legends in the food game so I would have to pretty much agree with their opinions.
Also in the premiere episode, Gordon psyched you guys out by making you all think you had to jump off of the roof and into an air bag. You had your hand raised. Would you have totally gone for it?
Oh, absolutely. I took martial arts for years growing up so I was all about jumping off the roof and bridge jumping. Stuff like that as a child was always fun to me.
Tempers tend to flare in the dorms and emotions got pretty high in episode 5. Is it hard to control yourself knowing cameras are always around? And how quickly did you get used to the cameras?
To be quite honest, you're so focused in the competition you almost forget about the cameras even being there.
What's it like watching the show from home and seeing all of the stuff you didn't get to see, like the testimonials from your teammates?
Oh my god, it's ridiculous, super nostalgic, almost surreal. Actually, I still have a hard time watching myself and we are only five episodes in.
We hear that you got a Hell's Kitchen tattoo right before the first episode premiered. What's the story there?
I have quite a bit of food tattoos on my body. For me, it is a lifestyle and being on the show is an accomplishment in itself so I felt that putting the logo on my wrist will always show me that with a little determination I could pretty much do anything I want.
Have you had a chance to show it to Gordon or any of the other contestants?
I don't believe Gordon has seen it. I put it on Instagram and Facebook so I'm sure that some of the other contestants have seen it.
Do you keep an eye on all the social media comments from fans of the show on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter?
As a matter of fact, I actually do. Some of them obviously more pleasant than others but that's expected especially because I do have a slight temper in the kitchen.
Do you have any other tattoos you'd like to tell us about?
I have a chef knife draped with Italian basil. I have a fork with spaghetti and meatballs on it that I like to call “the perfect bite” on my top right arm. On my right forearm, right above the HK logo, is roasted garlic and asparagus. On my left leg I have an artichoke grenade and a plum tomato comet.
What's the biggest thing you've learned during your time in HK? And are there any things you wish you'd done differently?
I learned a lot from Hell's Kitchen, from working under extreme pressure even more so than just being a chef. I learned some new recipes some new techniques. I also learned, even more so than I already knew before, that I don't like to lose [Laughs].
Want to find out if Bret survives another episode? Tune in to Hell’s Kitchen Tuesday nights on FOX to find out.
Bret’s Bone in Veal Chop Recipe
14 oz bone in veal chop
4 oz chicken stock
1 oz white wine
1 oz prosciutto da parma chiffinade
2 fresh sage leaves chiffinade
1/2 tsp whole grain mustard
1 tsp unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Grill veal chop to med-rare. Let rest
In a saute pan, render down prosciutto till crisp
Remove from pan.
Deglaze pan with white wine
Reduce by half, add chicken stock, also reduce by half
Add remaining ingredients to create sauce
Pour over veal chop, serve and buon appetite!