'Hell's Kitchen' winner Ja'Nel Witt reportedly failed drug test for head chef prize
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/26/2013
Hell's Kitchen eleventh-season winner Ja'Nel Witt reportedly lost out on the head-chef position she won at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in Las Vegas because she failed the required drug test.
Witt, a 31-year-old executive chef from Houston, TX, tested positive for cocaine and was therefore unable to accept her job managing the kitchen at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill in Caesars Palace, TMZ reported.
A source told the website that Witt "failed miserably."
However, the chef won't completely miss out on her Hell's Kitchen winnings. Witt will reportedly still receive the $250,000 salary she was supposed to earn for her first year working at the pub.
Witt touched upon the speculation via Twitter yet failed to address the drug reports directly.
"I would like to express my sincerest thanks to HELL'S KITCHEN, Gordon Ramsay, Caesars Palace & my supportive fans for this amazing experience. Due to personal matters, I will not be joining the team in Las Vegas, but I wish them continued success," Witt tweeted Friday.
"This has been an incredible journey. I am thankful for everyone who made it possible and I am looking forward to my next cooking chapter. Thank you for the kind words, and the rumors are very entertaining, but I won't address the negativity or ridiculous headlines #celebstatus."
Witt was crownedHell's Kitchen champion in late July. She defeated runner-up Mary Poehnelt, a 26-year-old butcher and cook from Belchertown, MA, during the finale broadcast.
"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 following Witt's victory. "From the very beginning, she was determined to succeed, and I look forward to seeing her grow even more as a chef."