The signature dish challenge is the first challenge the chefs have to do for Chef Ramsay when they enter Hell's Kitchen. The purpose of this is to see how the chefs are right now, and to give them knowledge on Ramsay's standards.
In the first five seasons, the challenge was individual and didn't earn anything. Ramsay would choose a dish at random and call up whoever made the dish. He would then criticize the dish for anything he found terrible. Very rarely would he find a dish that was great, and sometimes he finds a dish that was okay but not perfect.
Beginning in Season 6, the Signature Dish Challenge becomes the first team challenge of the season. Each member of the Blue and Red team would go head to head with their dishes. Ramsay would taste each of the dishes, and either give praise, or criticism. At the end of each round, Chef Ramsay would either give a point to either team, both teams, or neither team. The team with the most points at the end would be declared the winners.
In the event of a tie, Ramsay will decide the losing team by looking at the worst dish on either team. So far, this has only happened in season 8.
Season 13 saw another change to the rules as Ramsay now scores the dishes on a 1-5 point value. 1 being absolute terrible, and 5 being absolutely perfect. Season 17 (All Stars) featured a variant of this challenge with Ramsay giving the chefs selected ingredients and creating a new signature dish. They will then go head to head on main proteins.
- The Blue Team has won this challenge most at 6 seasons (6, 7, 8, 9, 14, and 15).
- Ramsay has thrown up two times due to some of the signature dishes being absolutely terrible. This has happened only in Season 4 and 8.
- Since Season 11, the signature dish challenge has been done in front of a live studio audience.
- Season 11, 13, and 15 are the only seasons to do the challenge outside of Hell's Kitchen
- Meghan from Season 14 is the first person to receive a perfect score in the signature dish challenge. She was later followed by T from the same season.
- Paulie from Season 16 is the first male to get a perfect score.
- One of the biggest cardinal sins in this challenge is to send Ramsay food that was pre-made in the kitchen. If this happens, Ramsay will either refuse to eat it, or eat in and give it a lousy score.