- Ja'Nel Witt outside Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill.
- Gordon Ramsay and Ja'Nel Witt.
- Ja'Nel Witt and Gordon Ramsay.
- Mary Poehnelt, Jon Scallion and Ja'Nel Witt.
- Gary Selesner, president of Caesars Palace, Hell’s Kitchen Season 11 winner Ja’Nel Witt and chef Gordon Ramsay.
- Jon Scallion, Christina Wilson, Ja'Nel Witt and Mary Poehnelt.
Houston chef Ja'Nel Witt wants to have her own cooking show. The first dish she mastered was wild mushroom soup. Now her dream to head up one of Gordon Ramsay's kitchens came true. Last night she won the 11th season of Hell's Kitchen with a viewing party replete with dishes from the restaurant, her family on hand and Gordon Ramsay himself making an appearance to introduce her to Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill, the kitchen she will helm for $250,000 for the next year as head chef.
"From the very first day in Hell's Kitchen, I knew this competition would be unlike anything I had ever experienced," Witt says. "This has been a life-changing journey, winning Hell's Kitchen is even more proof that I made the right decision to follow my heart and turn my passion into my career."
"Ja'Nel is an incredibly passionate chef and a strong leader, and I am thrilled that she will join our team at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill," Ramsay said in a press release. "From the very beginning, she was determined to succeed, and I look forward to seeing her grow even more as a chef."
Witt, 31, starts working as head chef under executive chef Jeremy Berlin at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace pretty much now. Witt — who described herself as driven, passionate and focused — will undergo training at the restaurant before she can bring her own touches to the kitchen that serves up English pub food for lunch and dinner. She says her signature dish is Thai-grilled prawns with Asian pesto. Witt worked as the executive chef of Tintos, a tapas bar in the River Oaks neighborhood of Houston, as well as Kiran's Restaurant & Bar, an Indian restaurant in Houston.
Also on hand for the viewing party, Mary Poehnelt, a butcher from Belchertown, Mass., who competed against Witt in the two-hour finale. For the final challenge, both contestants created their own menus and were able to select and lead a team of their past competitors through one final dinner service. Jon Scallion, who came in third in the competition, was also on hand.
Christina Wilson, who won season 10 of Hell's Kitchen and the $250,000 a year head chef job at Gordon Ramsay Steak at Paris Las Vegas, also attended the viewing party. Wilson's contract expires in September and she says she would like to stay on board at the restaurant.
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