AUBURN – Heidi Parent wishes she could tell you how she fared as a contestant on “Hell’s Kitchen,” but she can’t.

So she won’t.

Nobody outside the show circle can know the outcome until the end of the season, and the season will just get started on Friday.

Did the 35-year-old Auburn woman win it all and land a $250,000 Las Vegas chef contract? Was she humiliated and beaten down by the chronically angry chef Gordon Ramsay?

Sept. 23, that’s when you want to start watching. When the season gets underway, Parent herself will be watching at The Green Ladle in Lewiston with the man who trained her.

“There’s no other place in the world,” Heidi said, “that I’d rather have the viewing party.”


Parent is sworn to secrecy about her role on the show, which actually concluded filming nearly two years ago in Los Angeles. She can’t talk about it. Won’t talk about it.

But she can talk plenty about the experience of being chosen as a contestant and then being tossed into a hot kitchen with the surly Ramsey and 17 other chef hopefuls.

“It was exhausting,” said Parent, the former head chef of Fish Bones American Grill in Lewiston. “It was almost like you were in a daydream the whole time. There were cameras everywhere. Being from Maine, there’s nothing like that around here.”

And Ramsay? A man who achieved fame by reducing young chefs to tears before an international television audience?

“That’s kind of for TV,” Parent said. “We understood that he’s really, really passionate about what he’s doing. When we screwed up, it meant a lot to him and he just wanted to get the point across that you need to be doing this right.”

Heidi knows a thing or two about passion. If you don’t have it in the highly-competitive field of culinary arts, she said, you’re bound for failure.


“The long hours, the holidays, the weekends that you work, it’s brutal,” Heidi said. “If you don’t have that passion, you’ll get burned out.”

When she trained under local chef Dan Caron, Heidi left such an impression on him that he continues to seek out “my next Heidi” among current students even 16 years later.

“When she was in my program, there was something special about her,” said Caron, director of the The Green Ladle. “She was self-motivated. She was excited about being a chef. She’s an amazing young lady; just a naturally good cook, a natural take-charge kind of person.”

Amazing and self-motivated enough to win it all on “Hell’s Kitchen?”

Sept. 23. Until then, Heidi’s lips are sealed.

Of course, if she doesn’t win the quarter-million dollar Las Vegas chef’s position, Heidi isn’t exactly out on the street. The wife and mother of three recently took on the job as culinary arts teacher at Capital Area Technical Center in Augusta.


If she keeps that job (assuming she didn’t win the Las Vegas position. Which we don’t know because she can’t tell us) she doesn’t plan to adopt Ramsay’s red-faced, high-volume style of motivating her students.

“I don’t think I’m allowed to yell like that,” Heidi said. “But in that way, I can relate to Ramsey. I hope that my students can see the passion I have for the craft and I hope they acquire it, too.”

At the Augusta school, some of Heidi’s parents like her so much, they’ve said they hope she doesn’t take the top prize on “Hell’s Kitchen.” They don’t want to lose her.

Like the rest of us, those students won’t know for sure until next week.

When Heidi, Caron and others gather at The Green Ladle on Sept. 23 to watch the airing of the show, the mystery will be solved, but there will be other beneficiaries of the night, as well.

Although some of her “Hell’s Kitchen” cast members have chosen to watch the show at bars or night clubs, Heidi wanted to gear her big night toward helping others – all proceeds from The Green Ladle event will benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation.


The night will feature a boy who was granted a wish through the foundation two years ago.

Heidi, meanwhile, will be doing what she does so well; she’ll be cooking in front of an audience while a cardboard cut out of a snarling (presumably) Ramsay looks on.

“It’s going to be exciting and it’s going to be emotional,” Heidi said. “It’s going to be a huge night.”

What: Premiere showing of “Hell’s Kitchen” featuring Auburn chef Heidi Parent.

Where: The Green Ladle, 156 East Ave., Lewiston

When: VIP event with meal cooked by Parent at 6 p.m., general admission at 7 p.m.

How much: VIP $40, general admission $20

What else: All proceeds will benefit the Make-a-Wish Foundation

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