Robyn Almodovar’s passion for cooking started simmering when she was 2 years old and making meatballs with her grandmother. More than 30 years later, Almodovar has graduated from Le Cordon Bleu Culinary School, come in sixth out of 18 contestants on “Hell’s Kitchen,” opened a food truck and brick-and-mortar restaurant called Palate Party and appeared in eight food-related TV series, winning Food Network shows “Chopped” and “Cutthroat Kitchen.” This week, the co-owner and executive chef at Rumors Bar and Grill in Wilton Manors will return to “Hell’s Kitchen” for the Fox series’ first all-star season. To celebrate, she’s hosting a free viewing party at Rumors on Friday, Sept. 29.
“I received a phone call from one of the old producers … who was part of my Season 10, and she asked me if I ever wanted to return to ‘Hell,’ ” Almodovar says. “I was like, ‘Duh!’ Who doesn’t want to go back for redemption?”
This season of the cooking competition will be unlike the previous 16. For the first time, the show will welcome back participants from previous years. Almodovar is one of 16 contestants vying for a prize of $250,000 and a job as chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen restaurant at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
Even though contestants may have some sense of what they’re getting into, Almodovar says, “Hell’s Kitchen All Stars” was a more intense experience.
“We’ve grown since the show, so we all have different expectations,” Almodovar says.
Almodovar says Friday’s party at Rumors will be the first of many. She’ll continue to host them every Friday throughout the “All Stars” season. The first one will be co-hosted by South Florida drag queen Sasha Lords and event coordinator Seph Mason. The event will feature two drag performances as well as passed hors d'oeuvres such as mushroom risotto, ahi tuna wonton tacos and the dish she makes in the first episode’s challenge (she legally can’t name it before airtime). Almodovar says party guests will receive prizes such as “Team Robyn” shirts and gift cards.
The “Hell’s Kitchen All Stars” Viewing Party will begin 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at Rumors Bar & Grill, 2426 Wilton Drive, in Wilton Manors. “Hell’s Kitchen All Stars” airs 8 p.m. Fridays on Fox. Call 954-565-8851 or go to RumorsBarWiltonManors.com.