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'Hell's Kitchen' star Gordon Ramsay chops Cyndi Stanimirov from the competition

By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/19/2013 

Hell's Kitchen star Gordon Ramsay narrowed the Fox culinary competition's eleventh season to its Top 3 finalists and also revealed which of those finalists will get to advance to the Top 2 finale during Thursday night's broadcast.

Gordon decided to oust Cyndi Stanimirov, a 25-year-old head chef from Queens, NY, from the competition following a dinner service in which each of the four remaining finalists took turns running the kitchen and manning Gordon's usual hot place position. Gordon insisted she wasn't ready to lead his team at one of his restaurants in Caesars Palace.

Gordon chose to advance Mary Poehnelt, a 26-year-old butcher and cook from Belchertown, MA, to the finals and will reveal the other Top 2 finalist next week. Either Ja'Nel Witt, a 31-year-old executive chef from Houston, TX, or Jon Scallion, a 27-year-old chef de cuisine from York, PA, will earn the other spot in the finale.

Gordon noted that in the history of Hell's Kitchen, he never had a more difficult time deciding whom his Final 2 should be.

Earlier in the episode, the four finalists competed in a cooking challenge. For the task, each chef had 30 minutes to taste a dish and then replicate it without knowing its ingredients or protein. Cyndi won the challenge and received a $1,000 shopping spree along with some one-on-one time with Gordon over a nice lunch. The losing finalists had to load a moving truck.

The episode ended in a cliffhanger in which Gordon was about to announce the other Top 2 finalist.

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