Alex Belew Cooks In the Studio As Well As On Hell’s Kitchen

Fans of the Hell’s Kitchen reality cooking competition on the Fox network are probably familiar with this season’s contestants, including Rutherford County chef Alex Belew. A well-known presence in the Middle Tennessee culinary community, Belew has already outlasted several contestants. But will he make it through the broadcast season, which has already been taped and ends in February, and be the eventual victor over his fellow chefs? Not surprisingly, he can’t say.

“There’s a fairly extensive confidentiality agreement,” he said, explaining how he’s unable to answer, well, almost anything about the show beyond what we last saw in the previous episode, and the fact that the show was shot in the Los Angeles area. Belew had a long history of working and creating in the culinary industry before he made the cut to appear on the show, both during the years he was earning a psychology degree at MTSU and pretty much ever since. He also graduated with honors with a culinary arts degree from The Art Institute of Tennessee in Nashville.

Besides working in some of Nashville’s most high-profile restaurants, Belew taught meat cutting, food science, nutrition and more at the high school level and owned his own restaurant at one point. One thing that hasn’t been mentioned much, though, is the fact that, like so many creative people in the Nashville area, Belew is also a musician.

“I was working in restaurants, but there was no culinary stuff at MTSU,” he said, “culinary wasn’t really big then, so I went between recording industry and psychology. I was working in restaurants and I was in a band, and I tried to study music business but that was incredibly boring, there’s a big difference between being a musician and learning about the business. I’ve been a musician since I was around seven, in some form or fashion. I was a singer for the longest time. In college I was in like a blues-jam band, we did a lot of stuff like Allman Brothers, the Who, Sly and the Family Stone, we did all kinds of cool ‘60s-‘70s-‘80s stuff. As I got older I joined a rock band, we won the 102.9 The Buzz battle of the bands, we were writing a bunch of original stuff.”

“I wrote, like, 40 songs between September and November of 2021,” he continued, “and kept the best five and went into the studio, found a live band and cut the tracks. In November-December I was actually in the studio recording an EP when I got the call to be on Hell’s Kitchen so the EP kind of got put on pause, I put music on the back burner. So I have this EP sitting in the studio that I need to button up.”

While he plays guitar in addition to singing, Belew said he’s strictly rhythm, and that he doesn’t even necessarily pick up his guitar when starts writing something. “I write songs differently than most people,” he said, “I write words and then I figure out how to put it to music, which is awkward, a lot of people just play chords and start coming up with a melody and put words into it, and I’m very different. I write totally backwards.”

So maybe by the time the winner of this season’s Hell’s Kitchen is announced, Belew may also have new music to release. You can keep up with his progress in the kitchen and in the studio at

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