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Craig Schneider the fourth cut from 'Hell's Kitchen's fourth season


By Christopher Rocchio, 04/23/2008 

Craig Schneider's questionable kitchen skills and bad attitude were a recipe for elimination.

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The 30-year-old sous chef from Coram, NY became the fourth culinary contestant cut from Hell's Kitchen's fourth-season by Gordon Ramsey during last night's broadcast of the Fox reality competition series.

"My dream when I came to Hell's Kitchen was to get my own restaurant," said Craig after his ouster.  "I didn't do the job I was supposed to.  I had a lot more to prove.  I'm stunned and amazed.  This sucks."

Hell's Kitchen's fourth fourth-season episode began following the previous dinner service that saw the elimination of Jason Underwood.

"I know that I have it in me to dig down and turn it out," said Vanessa, a 31-year-old line cook from Bozeman, MT, who was also nominated for elimination but survived.  "I can't fail at this because this is all I have!"

While the 12 remaining contestants mostly just wanted a good night's sleep, they were sent back down to the kitchen at 12:35AM to clean.  Corey, a 25-year-old private chef from Brooklyn, NY, continued to get on the Red Team's bad side when she suggested they do less talking and more working.

However she didn't exactly set a good example, as she retreated back upstairs to the dorms to sleep without telling anyone else on the Red Team, which continued to clean.

The next morning the contestants met Gordon, who asked both teams which member they thought was the strongest.  Corey nominated herself for the Red Team, however they instead pointed to Jen, a 24-year-old line cook from Chicago, IL. Shayna, a 28-year-old catering-company owner from Buffalo, NY, gave Gordon the example of the previous night's cleaning session as to why Corey's not the leader.

Ben, a 29-year-old electrician and former chef from Charlotte, NC, said he felt like the Blue Team's leader, and he was supported by both Bobby, a 37-year-old executive chef from Niagara Falls, NY, and Louross, a 24-year-old hotel cook from Las Vegas, NV.

Since Gordon said the previous dinner service was an "all-time low" for Hell's Kitchen, the upcoming service would be a first for the show -- a special family night in which kids would also be invited to dine.  Since it would include a new menu that would feature pasta, making fresh pasta would be the theme for their next challenge.

Each team was required to make as much perfect pasta as they could in 20 minutes.  The challenge commenced and the Blue Team had the obvious physical edge while the Red Team relied on determination, with Jen constantly rallying her troops.

Matt, a 35-year-old sous chef from Pinehill, NJ, was criticized by both Gordon and his teammates for not helping and instead standing around and waiting to dry the pasta, which came at the end.  Craig also caught some flak for failing to feed the pasta into the machine in a proper manner.

The challenge ended and Gordon called it a "bloody good effort" from both teams before weighing the pasta to see which team won.  The Blue Team properly prepared 4.82 pounds of pasta, while the Red Team prepared 6.57 pounds of pasta, and the ladies claimed their second consecutive challenge victory.

For their punishment, the Blue Team would be prepping both kitchens for that night's dinner service; while the Red team would be rewarded by a trip to the amusement park at Santa Monica Pier.

"It was amazing to win the challenge today.  It felt so good," boasted Jen.  "I led our team to a victory."

As the girls readied themselves, the Blue Team opined Craig's lack of effort during the challenge.  With the Blue Team exhaustively working in the kitchen, the Red Team enjoyed their day at the pier as they relaxed and refocused. 

Sous chef Scott asked a Blue Team member to help with something, and Ben nominated himself.  He went outside, where he was met by several animals for family night and was instructed to pick-up their poop before the kids arrived.  He found the task embarrassing, which was only compounded when the Red Team returned from the pier.

The teams then prepared for the dinner service, and the Blue Team had a slight advantage since they had been working with the new menu all day while the Red Team was out having fun at the amusement park.  Despite that, Jen was still confident since it was such a simple menu.  Craig was also confident he'd be okay since he was on the pasta station.

"Craig, focus man!" implored Petrozza, a 47-year-old catering director from Charlotte, NC.

"I'm working the pasta station.  Pasta's easy to cook," said Craig.  "It's not rocket science to make pasta."

Right before Hell's Kitchen's fourth fourth-season dinner service commenced, Gordon explained the rules were simple -- the first team to complete the dinner service would be safe from elimination.

The families poured into the kitchen and the first orders went to the Red Team's kitchen, and Gordon was impressed by Vanessa's work with the appetizers.  The Blue Team then received their first orders of the night and Gordon immediately warned Matt about not serving him raw chicken while Ben was promptly criticized for dousing the onion ring appetizer in sauce and making them soggy. 

Forty-five minutes into the service and the Blue Team's appetizers were finally being served, however Gordon's warning came to fruition when Matt served raw chicken.  Matt apologized.

"Oh my God.  That's pretty major," commented Craig.  "If a kid is biting into a piece of chicken that's raw, that's just f**king nasty."

Orders for entrees started to come into the Red kitchen as they continued to push out appetizers.  However they would soon be slowed as Vanessa's hand was seriously burned while she was moving a pan containing hot oil.  Vanessa went into the backroom and was treated by the show's medics, but since she was still in obvious pain she was taken to the hospital. 

Gordon told the Red Team what had happened and encouraged them to get a grip and not panic.  Two hours into the service and the Red Team continued to thrive despite Vanessa's absence, having only 12 tickets left to fill.  While the Blue Team was also on track, things would soon take a negative turn when Matt served hamburgers that Gordon compared to hockey pucks.

Bobby took control, barked orders at his teammates and had his "gold star" burgers compliment by Gordon, while Jen readied the Red Team for their final push.  The Blue Team was done in when Craig rushed and served spaghetti with meatballs instead of clams, thus allowing the Red Team to finish first.

Gordon sent the Red Team into the Blue kitchen to help them finish, and Craig immediately refused the help of Shayna.  Gordon was visibly becoming furious with Craig, who was letting his emotions get the best of him as he failed to communicate and smashed dishes in anger.

With the dinner service over and both teams having completed all their tickets, Gordon stuck to his previous statement and rewarded the Red Team the victory for finishing first.  Since Bobby was "the best of the worst" on the Blue Team, he'd have to nominate two members for elimination.

"Let's be honest, you're not short on choices," Gordon told him.

Upstairs in the dorms Vanessa returned from the hospital and explained she'd need to see a plastic surgeon since her hand was so severely burned.

"Right now, I don't know what's going to happen," said Vanessa.  "Right now I can't even move my hand."

Craig complained to Ben about everybody on the Blue Team having an "ego."

"I know right now I didn't perform up to my standards," said Craig.  "But then again, did Matt?  Did Ben?  If I'm up for elimination, I'm up for elimination.  I'm not going to go chasing after [Bobby].  I'm not anybody's f**king pet dog."

Craig was further upset when Bobby took Ben for some alone time to discuss his impending decision.  Since the two are friends, Bobby wouldn't be nominating Ben.  Matt then arrived in the room and suggested that Craig was the obvious choice to be booted.

"I had a bad service, but Craig is hopeless," said Matt.  "He needs to go next.  He's a pain in the f**king ass."

The Blue Team then reconvened in the kitchen.  Bobby revealed he nominated Craig because he's "like a broken compass in the kitchen -- whatever station he's at, he's pretty much lost;" and he also nominated Matt because he's a "little nervous" when he's working a station.

"Honestly, I don't want to go any further right now," said Gordon.  "There's one person I need to hear from.  He knows who he is. Without even mentioning his name, I'd appreciate it if he'd step forward."

Ben stepped forward, and Gordon told him he was "really, seriously disappointed" in him.  Ben promised to work harder, and Craig and Matt followed with similar pleas when it was their turns to defend themselves.

While Gordon said all three of them should be leaving, he ultimately only booted Craig.

"I can teach someone how to cook," said Gordon.  "But Craig was a bad cook with an even worse attitude.  There was no hope for him."

Hell's Kitchen's next fourth-season episode will air Tuesday, April 29 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox.



(Photo credit Fox)


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