by Joseph Pimentel/AJPress
LOS ANGELES – There’s an old saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”
FilAm Hotel Chef Louross Edralin couldn’t stand the heat of the foul-mouthed, fiery renowned Chef Gordon Ramsey. The 24-year-old Ritz Carlton Las Vegas chef Edralin, more commonly known as “Louross,” was ousted by the host for undercooking meat in one of the episodes of this season’s Fox Hell’s Kitchen reality TV show contest.
“Louross was never short on energy, he was just short… on cooking ability,” said Ramsey after ordering the 5’1″, mohawk-rocking Louross to hang up his jacket wardrobe.
He was the ninth contestant to be booted off the show.
The Bodog gaming site, however, had him as a slim favorite to win the show.
A few weeks after being expelled, Louross was back in his own kitchen at the Ritz Carlton Galileo lobby lounge, still wondering how things went wrong.
“I was representing Filipinos,” said Louross to the Asian Journal. “Filipinos can cook. You know, the show is an individual competition…but we were supposed to work as a team, as a family. I’m Filipino and you know, Filipinos work together. I tried to bring that [team concept] way to the [men’s] team. I was telling, Matty, Craig, and Jason, the people I was rooming with, to all work together.”
Louross told his team that “Ramsey is already giving us the blueprint to win,but some people were working for themselves. When you win, you’re going to win as a team. I got tired of telling them. When I got kicked off, everyone was being fake and doing their own thing.”
Ironically, most of the people that Louross mentioned were booted off the show earlier than him. Without a strong ally, Louross was left to fend for himself when it came down to decision time.
He’s not angry that he fell so soon. He’s not angry that Petrozza (that episode’s winner from the men’s team) chose him to be on Chef Ramsey’s chopping block on episode 9.
“My true colors were showing,” he said. “I’m a team-oriented guy. When it comes down to cooking, I know I’m a good chef. Unfortunately, I messed up on some of my steaks. Petrozza had to make a decision. He chose me to eliminate the threat.”
Back at the Ritz Carlton, Louross is disappointed but glad he represented well in the show.
“I held my weight down,” he said. “No one can understand what we went through. We were mentally gone.”
Going Through Hell
Louross decided to enter Hell’s Kitchen after being an avid fan. There would be days he would sit in his couch yelling at the TV, screaming at the top of his lungs whenever a chef contestant made a bonehead mistake.
” I need[ed] to be on that show,” he said. “Some people want the challenge, some want to do it for fun. I went there to win it. I was a die-hard fan.”
“There were never any Filipinos on that show,” Louross observed. He wanted to change that. He felt he had the right qualifications.
Originally from the Eagle Rock area in Los Angeles, Louross started his chef career inside his mother’s kitchen.
A caterer herself, Louross’ mom guided then 14-year-old Louross to the ways of Filipino cuisine.
Some of the things Louross learned from his mom — cooking hotdogs to perfection in making Filipino spaghetti, picking the best ingredients in making lumpia and knowing the best cooking time for pancit noodles so they don’t get soggy.
In his high school years, he ventured out for more experience. He worked at a kosher bakery store in Pasadena before landing a job at Toto’s Lechon Manok where he continued to hone his expertise in Filipino cuisine.
He had to choose between taking up nursing(as most Filipinos do) or going to culinary arts school when he hit his college years. He chose his passion and went to the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena.
His parents were doubtful at first when they learned of his decision.
Louross related what his dad said: “Well, at least we have another member of the family who knows how to cook.”
After college, he strayed away from Filipino cuisine to hit the mainstream. He landed a job at the Ritz-Carlton in Las Vegas. When word got around that a Hell’s Kitchen casting crew was holding open auditions at the Mirage, Louross jumped at the opportunity.
Asked why he should be on the show, Louross blurted, “You need a Filipino up there.”
“They were cracking up. They just liked my personality,”said Louross about the production staff’s reaction.
Despite being only in nine episodes, Louross made an impression to the national TV audience. He wanted to bring Filipinos to the forefront. His quick flirtation with fellow contestant Corey and overt passion about cooking (he broke into tears when the team wouldn’t work together) gave the Mohawk rocking, “metrosexual” instant popularity.
He wanted to represent Filipinos and he thinks that he really went far in doing so.
“When do you ever see a Filipino on national TV? Now, people recognize me. When I come out of the kitchen, it’s Oh my God. We found you. We didn’t know you worked here. If you could only see the reaction from them when they see me. People are mad. They’re not happy that I got kicked out,” Louross said.
He describes Hell’s Kitchen as a “culinary boot camp.” Surprising as it may seem, he has nothing but kind words for the hot-tempered host Ramsey.
“He’s a gentleman. I learned so much from him. These are the guys that you want to work for. I have a newfound appreciation of food. I have passion for cooking but when I went on Hell’s kitchen, my Filipino eyes were stretched even more. He opened it up to another level.”
Louross will still be at the Ritz Carlton cooking and happy that he accomplished some of his dreams.
“My dream was to work with Chef Ramsey and it happened. That was a blessing,” he said. “I also came to represent for the Filipinos. I really wanted people to know that Filipinos can cook. We Filipinos are a welcoming people so why not welcome others with our food.”