Jennifer Gavin the twelfth cut from 'Hell's Kitchen's fourth season
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/18/2008
Jennifer Gavin was the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of Hell's Kitchen, a quality that finally caught up with her as the competition entered crunch time.
The 24-year-old line cook from Chicago, IL became the twelfth culinary contestant cut from Hell's Kitchen's fourth season by Gordon Ramsay during last night's broadcast of the Fox reality competition series.
"From Day 1, I came here banking on the fact that I'd make it to the top. I don't see anybody here more passionate about cooking then me, and I know I had a really good chance of winning this," said Jen after her ouster. "But I need to improve on my attitude. The competition started to get the better of me. This was a great opportunity, but this is the end of it for me. It hurts. I just have to stay positive, stay strong, and do what I do best, which is cook."
Hell's Kitchen's twelfth fourth-season episode began following the previous dinner service, which saw Gordon eliminate Bobby Anderson. Christina Machamer, a 25-year-old culinary student from St. Louis, MO, thought Jen should have instead been booted and called her "vicious" and only "out for herself."
"I'm happy that I made it to the Final 4 but I do feel like the people here might be threatened by me," said Jen.
The next morning the four remaining contestants met Gordon in the kitchen for their next challenge, which he said would be the "toughest" so far. Each contestant would prepare a luncheon dish that they'd need to make for 80 "demanding" customers. The contestants would have one hour and a fully-stocked kitchen to prepare their dishes.
The challenge commenced with Christina preparing an island turkey sandwich with avocado and heart of palm salad; Corey Earling, a 25-year-old private chef from Brooklyn, NY, preparing a salmon sandwich with vegetable chips; Louis Petrozza, a 47-year-old catering director from Charlotte, NC, preparing a monte cristo with spicy sauce; and Jen preparing a grilled grouper with mango salsa.
All the chefs had a hard time since one hour isn't very long to prepare 80 portions, but Corey especially struggled and was subsequently the only one to not finish when time expired.
Gordon then revealed that there were actually 160 guests for the luncheon, as the restaurant would be serving 80 pregnant women. Each contestant had their food placed on a different colored plate, and the women would sample each and determine who won the challenge. Corey quickly found herself at a disadvantage when she kept several of the women waiting.
"I kind of felt like I was losing from the beginning," opined Corey, as her competition worked their personalities and pushed their dishes.
After all the votes were tallied, Gordon revealed Corey received the fewest and Jen finished third. He said only two votes separated Christina from Petrozza, but she ultimately won the challenge -- her second consecutive challenge victory. For her reward, Christina would be accompanying Gordon on a $1,000 shopping spree at Lisa Kline.
"For somebody with only three years experience, I've kicked ass on these individual challenges," said Christina.
For their punishment, Corey, Petrozza and Jen would have to clean the kitchen for that night's dinner service. After an afternoon of shopping, Christina returned to the kitchen and flaunted her new duds to the Corey and Jen, who -- not surprisingly -- were jealous.
"Let's see how you do in service tonight mama," said Jen under her breathe to Christina. "Somebody's going home."
As Christina changed and came back to help with prep work, she received the silent treatment from her fellow contestants.
"That's a little cold," she said, adding it could hurt her in the dinner service. "I definitely feel a little scared."
However Petrozza continued to preach teamwork -- a common theme with him throughout the season -- so he went and helped Christina.
Hell's Kitchen's twelfth fourth-season dinner service commenced, with Gordon imploring the four finalists to "unite as a team and emerge as individuals."
Orders began to come in with Jen and Corey working on appetizers, and both realized the importance of the service and had good communication between each other. It paid off, as Jen's risotto and Corey's scallops were complimented by Gordon.
Appetizers continued to fly out of the kitchen until Gordon compared some of Jen's risotto to mush and implored her to concentrate and move faster. She did just that and Gordon was pleased with the results but commented on her inconsistency.
"It's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it," he told her.
Petrozza was working the meat station while Christina was working on garnish and vegetables. Christina accidentally left the handle of a pot containing carrots over a stove burner, and when she passed it to Gordon, he burned his hand. He gave her a good tongue-lashing for it.
"If a handle is over the f**king flame, say something will you please!" he yelled. "One more time and you're f**king finished!"
As if on cue, Christina immediately burned Gordon's hand again, this time with a pot containing garnish.
"I've had enough!" screamed Gordon, as Jen commented she could smell his flesh burning from across the kitchen. "Now I think you're doing it on purpose... Wake up!"
With Christina bearing the brunt of Gordon's ire for the time being, Jen refused to cook eggs for Corey's scallops because she was too busy stirring a risotto -- not exactly the most time-consuming task. Christina helped Corey with the eggs until Gordon preached teamwork with Jen, which is when she finally decided to help.
One hour into the service and all the appetizers were out. Corey knew that some of the Jon Dory she was cooking wasn't completely ready, but since she was being pressured by Gordon to hurry, she decided to serve it undercooked. Gordon didn't notice, however the patron did and sent the fish back to the kitchen.
"If I wanted sushi this would be perfect," the patron told maitre d' Jean-Philippe Susilovic.
Petrozza was the one contestant who seemed to avoid making any mistakes throughout the entire service, as his meat was constantly complimented by Gordon for being properly cooked. However as has been the case all season, his work station was criticized for its messiness.
"Clear down and stop working like a pig!" yelled Gordon.
Petrozza did his best and since his food was almost flawless, Gordon seemed to relent.
"You can work like a pig from now on," he told Petrozza. "Your meat has been excellent."
The dinner service then came to a close in record time, and Gordon was genuinely pleased with the effort put forth by the Final 4. After calling the service the "best so far," Gordon sent the contestants upstairs into the dorms to come to a consensus between them on two nominations for elimination.
Jen immediately gushed about how she felt she was having a "heart attack" about one of the Final 4 leaving, which Petrozza found convenient since Jen hadn't been concerned with anybody but herself until her fait laid in their hands.
"You cold bitch," said Petrozza. "You finally feel like you have a heart? Why, because you know that there's a good chance that your ass is going on the chopping block? That's why you feel like you have a heart? You're just full of s**t."
The contestants decided to each write down two nominations in a secret ballot, with the stipulation that you couldn't vote for the same person twice. However a problem quickly arose when Christina garnered three votes -- which was impossible unless somebody voted for her twice. All fingers pointed at Jen for being the culprit.
"I don't think I need to be up there," said Jen. "I do feel like the people here might be threatened by me, that's why they continue to put me up. I just look around and be like, 'Damn, I can't see that anybody here deserves this more than me!'"
The four contestants then reconvened in the kitchen. Christina revealed they decided to nominate Jen because she clearly lacks teamwork skills and is currently the "weakest link;" and Corey because of her poor performance during the challenge.
Corey defended herself and so did Jen, who attempted to bill herself as "definitely a team player." However it was too little too late for Jen as she was booted from the competition.
"A great chef should not only be consistent with their cooking, but with their attitude," said Gordon. "I never knew which Jen I was going to get at dinner service, and that's why it was her time to go."
Hell's Kitchen's penultimate fourth-season episode will air Tuesday, June 24 at 9PM ET/PT on Fox.