…explains Kitchen casting director Sheila Conlin: “[Darnell] wants people who are passionate about cooking, for whom this is their true calling. Iron Chef has the masters. Top Chef is the middle ground. Then you have Hell’s Kitchen, which are really the worker bees — the line cooks, the prep cooks.”
“He went from absolutely nothing to being one of the top chefs in the world,” said Sheila Conlin, the “Hell’s Kitchen” casting director. “He’s been there and lived it, and that’s why he’s not easy on these guys that come in.”
“We always set up for a big marketing and advertising push, but I still truly believe in the grassroots element, which is picking up the phone and asking, “Who do you know, who’s this, who’s that?” Of course, by now, my database is huge and I can reach out to many people, but we still pick up the phone, call someone in Des Moines, Iowa, and ask, “Who’s the prettiest girl in your town that’s single?”
“We found Greg by searching for millionaires with an ability to connect with people in unfortunate circumstances. We saw that Greg had a special bond with his son Cole, so it was decided that they would be on the “Secret Millionaire” show as a team,” said Sheila Conlin.
“As far as people writing pages every day for people to say, that’s not happening…We’re not writing scripts. But the overall show has a structure….The writing is definitely happening in setting the outline and then guiding it,” Conlin says.