Gordon decided to keep all the Top 5 finalists in the running during Thursday night's broadcast after they collectively performed an "absolutely perfect dinner service."
However, Susan Heaton, a 29-year-old culinary student from Whittier, CA, and Cyndi Stanimirov, a 25-year-old head chef from Queens, NY, were nominated for elimination by their fellow aspiring chefs after Gordon asked the team to pick out their weakest individuals.
Susan and Cyndi were declared the weakest chefs following a dinner service in which each of the five remaining finalists took turns running the kitchen and manning Gordon's usual hot place position. Susan apparently had an issue with timing the preparation of her pasta, while Cyndi had sent out a plate of bloody meat.
The eleventh-season finalists competed as one team against five previousHell's Kitchen winners for the dinner service task. In the end, the returning champions won the challenge because 95% of the dining guests said they'd return to the restaurant for their dishes to the Top 5 finalists' 93%.
"You leave me no choice. My decision is Susan and Cyndi, keep your black jackets. Get back in line, both of you. All of you listen carefully. When you put in a service like that and almost match five returning champions, I saw you as champions. So no one is leaving this competition tonight," Gordon explained.
"But I'll have no choice in the future to continue to cut until there's only one of you. The challenges will be harder, dinner services -- more complicated, and tomorrow's elimination, who knows. It could be one, two or even three of you."