For finalists like Ryan O’Sullivan, meeting Gordon Ramsay for the first time left them utterly awe-struck. However, after the initial nerves faded, the contestants realized the show’s host wasn’t the type of person to be feared. “A lot of people say never meet your idol, but for me, it was the best thing that I’ve ever done,” O’Sullivan tells Mashed. “People say [after meeting them], your whole outlook of them is changed — but it just broadened everything for me.” Ramsay’s close mentorship proved invaluable for O’Sullivan, who ultimately walked away as the winner of Season 22.
Sammi Tarantino, one of Season 22’s final three contestants, couldn’t help but agree with O’Sullivan’s assessment of Ramsay. “I would do anything to work with Gordon more. He’s just a beast in the kitchen, and he’s just such a presence,” she says. “And he’s a great mentor; He has so much knowledge to share.” Tarantino admits she had some difficulty brushing things off throughout the show but working with Gordon Ramsay helped her to believe in herself more than ever. It’s no wonder why many of the show’s competitors refer to their time with the star as special.