The Signature Dish Challenge is the first challenge the contestants have to do for Ramsay when they enter Hell's Kitchen.
The purpose of this challenge is to see the chefs' cooking abilities at the moment, and to give them knowledge of Ramsay's standards.
During the first five seasons, the challenge was individual and did not earn anything. Ramsay would choose a dish at random and call down whoever made the dish. Then, he would criticize it for anything he found terrible. Very rarely would he find a dish that was great, and sometimes he would find a dish that was okay but not perfect.
From Season 6 on, the Signature Dish Challenge became the first team challenge of the season. Each member of each team would go head to head with a member of the opposing team. Ramsay would taste each of the dishes, and either give praise or criticism. At the end of each round, Ramsay would either give a point to one of the teams, both of them, or neither of them. The team with the most points at the end of the challenge is declared the winners.
In the event of a tie, Ramsay would decide the losing team based on the worst dish overall. So far, this has only happened in season 8.
On Season 13 happened another change to the rules, as Ramsay would score the dishes on a 1-5 scale, with 1 being absolutely terrible, and 5 being absolutely perfect. Season 17 featured another variant of this challenge, with Ramsay giving the chefs pre-selected ingredients and creating a new signature dish. Then, they would go head to head, based on main proteins.
- The blue team won this challenge most, at 7 seasons (6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, and 17).
- Ramsay threw up two dishes in the history of this challenge, the first was Matt's on Season 4, and the second was Antonia's on Season 8.
- Between seasons 11 and 16, this challenge happened in front of a live audience.
- Season 11, 13, and 15 are the only seasons in which that challenge happened outside of Hell's Kitchen, with the edition of season 15 happening inside the prize restaurant.
- Meghan, from Season 14, is the first contestant ever who scored a perfect 5 during that challenge, while Paulie, from Season 16, is the first male contestant who did.
- Van, from Season 17, is the first contestant ever who scored a perfect 5 during that challenge without making it to the black jackets, while Elise, also from Season 17, is the first female contestant who did.
- One of the biggest cardinal sins in this challenge is to use pre-made food. If that would happen, Ramsay will refuse to taste it, or if he does, he would give it a lousy score.