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'Hell's Kitchen' eliminates another chef

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Gail Novenario from Hell's Kitchen

© Fox

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Gail Novenario has become the latest chef to be eliminated from Hell's Kitchen leaving just four contestants in the running for the elusive LA Market job.

The 28-year-old executive chef from Wantagh, NY, had won this week's individual cooking challenge but was sent home by Gordon on Wednesday night following another disappointing dinner service for the group which saw Gordon leaving the kitchen in frustration after a series of unacceptable dishes were produced.

The episode had opened with Gail voicing her anger that Sabrina threw her under the bus during the previous elimination by telling Gordon that she should go home. "Now I really have to show Chef Ramsay I have a lot of fight in me," she said. Elsewhere, Jillian told Nona and Russell that she didn't think Gail did a good job at dinner service and might not be able to handle the pressure. Russell agreed: "If that happens again, she's gone."

First up was an individual challenge that tested the chef's ability to serve an "exquisite lunch" to the professional clientele that would be expected at lunch service if they won the LA Market job. The chefs thought they would be cooking at the restaurant but soon found they would be preparing their meals in individual food trucks. They had one hour to prepare 80 portions of their signature lunch before a group of downtown professionals arrived to sample the dishes.

Nona chose chicken salad and bacon sandwiches with sweet potato chips, Jillian cooked herb chicken with mixed vegetable and Trev opted for penne pasta with Italian sausage and tomato sauce. Russell selected grilled octopus and saffron aioli salad, while Gail chose skirt steak salad with mangoes and pecans. After sampling all the dishes, the customers chose Gail’s lunch as the winner with 40%. Nona was just 2% behind in second place. Russell landed in last place after 61% of diners said it was their least favourite.

Gail's prize was a pampering day in LA at the José Eber salon (hair, makeup and manicure) and a styling session with celebrity stylist and fashion critic Steven "Cojo" Cojocaru. The other chefs had to sweep the outside of Hell's Kitchen, touch up the paintwork and clean the food trucks. Gail returned later that night as the other chefs were lounging in the patio area. Trev admitted he was blown away by her new look although Russell wasn't as impressed. Jillian said that even though Gail won the challenge it didn't make up for the fact she "sucked" and needed to go next.

Next up was the dinner service, which was attended by guests including Cojo, Paris Hilton and a table of Marines. Problems started early as Jillian - who was on the fish station for the first time - overcooked her scallops and the group had to restart the first table's orders twice. The chefs eventually got back on track until Jillian struggled with the halibut and Russell stepped in to help meaning that the appetizers stalled leaving the kitchen because he was away from his station. Around two hours into service another stumbling block occurred when Gail's garnish wasn't ready on time and Trev undercooked the beef, prompting Gordon to say he was "done" and leave the kitchen in frustration. "Standing here with a bunch of idiots," he said. "Good luck superstars." He stormed away through the dining room and could be heard saying: "I'm going to do somebody some damage if I stay in there."

Nona and Russell stepped up to take control and ensure the food flow but both were unhappy with Trev's beef efforts and told him to re-cook the meat. However, his second attempt was also dismissed as unacceptable to serve, although Nona's scallops were deemed good enough for the diners and allowed to leave the kitchen. At that point Gordon returned having calmed down and decided to switch Jillian and Gail's stations to shake things up. Jillian was disappointed as she was starting to feel comfortable on fish, while Gail was nervous because she knew she had messed up on the fish station before. The move initially worked and the food flowed but problems returned when the team tackled their final table of the evening, the 12-man group of Marines. Gail was sent out of the kitchen for producing raw salmon ("I'm so disappointed in myself," she said. "I don't know why I can't cook fish.") and was followed by Jillian who handed Gordon a raw egg dish.

Gordon later told the chefs that it had been "the most frustrating time" he had experienced in Hell's Kitchen. "I feel really deeply let down," he added, pointing out that the Marines had returned from duty only to spend a long time waiting for appetizers: "It's like you didn't care." He suggested Jillian was better when she first arrived in the kitchen, while Gail might be better as a short-order chef as she can only cook for one table at a time. He also told Trev that his undercooked meat had been what drove him to leave the kitchen.

After the group discussed nominees, Nona stepped forward to reveal the first nomination was Gail (not communicating, in her own bubble, shut down) and the second was Trev (disaster on meat). Gordon again said he felt let down and picked out Jillian for her raw egg incident. However, he eventually told Gail and Trev to step forward. He said he wasn't convinced Gail really cared - although she insisted that she did - and questioned if Trev was over his head (he said he wasn't). In the end, he eliminated Gail saying that she had showed "so much" promise when she arrived and he had thought she would go further.

"I wish I could have stayed longer but my time was up," she said. "I thought I was a strong cook before I came to Hell's Kitchen but now after leaving I think I realise I have a few things to work on. I did disappoint myself but there are so many highlights - winning the challenges and getting to go on the rewards totally outweighed all the lowlights. I leave here with great memories, new friends, fantastic clothes and a great haircut!"

Hell's Kitchen continues next Wednesday at 9/8c on Fox

All Images: Copyright: Fox

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