If you missed Fox’s first season of cooking reality show Hell’s Kitchen, which offered its char-broiled finale this past Monday, you missed soiled dishes, spoiled souflees, master Chef Gordon Ramsay’s blistering wrath, twelve would-be restaurant owners in a back-stabbing-but-nicely-plated cook-off for the top, and one damn fine lesbian kiss. Let’s rewind to that last part: Hell’s Kitchen’s Jessica Cabo, who made it all the way to the final three before she was cut, may have landed the first ever open-mouthed lesbian kiss on a primetime network reality show, when she greeted her girlfriend Courtney during a suprise visit in her final episode. No Survivor-style cutaway this time!
What else was different about this kiss? No hype. No commercial after commercial featuring Jessica and her girlie leaning in, to entice the guaranteed contingent of lookieloos out for that dose of oh-so-hot, commodity lesbianism. No caption reading “Jessica, 27, Lesbian Headhunter.” The fiery, platinum-spiked Jess, who matches people with jobs by day, and her friends with fancy gourmet spreads in her Venice Beach pad by night, was neither kept in the kitchen closet by the network, nor marketed as the newest slice of lesbian-chic bread.
And this on one of the summer’s more popular TV shows–Hell’s Kitchen averaged around 7 million viewers each week–on a network not usually known for its respectful treatment of lesbians.
A few days ago, Jessica talked to me over a Rasberry Stoli and soda (or three) about last week’s smoking kiss, why she doesn’t plan to become a professional chef anytime soon, and how she got revenge on the show’s winner, Michael, with a lap dance from his wife!
AfterEllen.com: You mentioned that fans have been coming up to you constantly the last few days. What does that recognition feel like?
AE: Have you been invited to cook places?
AE: Did you go to culinary school?
AE: Were you really looking forward to the idea of owning a restaurant? Is it a dream of yours?
AE: You have to afford to lose money for awhile to make it.
AE: How did you first get involved with Hell’s Kitchen?
My only real experience is that I made pizzas when I lived in New York and so when I went down to college in North Carolina, I ran this little pizza place.