Salvatore Coppola the seventh contestant cut from 'Hell's Kitchen'
By Christopher Rocchio, 06/30/2010
Salvatore Coppola's problems continued to mount in the kitchen, and Gordon Ramsay decided enough was enough.
The 35-year-old pizzeria chef from Monte Di Procida, Italy who currently resides in Laurel Springs, NJ became the seventh contestant eliminated from Hell's Kitchen's seventh season during Tuesday night's broadcast of the culinary competition series.
"You mess up, you pay the consequences," said Salvatore after his ouster. "Yeah, I'm mad that I left. But at the same time, I messed up two or three times in a row, so I deserve to go home. It was the right decision."
Hell's Kitchen's seventh seventh-season episode began following the previous elimination of Scott Hawley, with Gordon also deciding to put Benjamin Knack, a 33-year-old culinary instructor from Elmont, NY who currently resides in Malden, MA, on the all-female Red Team.
"I'm not too psyched about being a part of the Red Team," opined Benjamin. "They're so fragmented, it's a f--king joke almost."
The Blue Team was also upset to see Benjamin go since he had been a good leader.
"We hate that he's leaving," said Jason Ellis, a 37-year-old personal chef from Greenville, SC who currently resides in Suwanee, GA. "But we're going to still handle our business."
The next morning the 10 remaining chefs met Gordon in the dining room, and he revealed the upcoming dinner service would host a 50th wedding anniversary and introduced them to the couple, Sal and Marcy.
For their challenge, the contestants would be updating the couple's menu from their wedding reception. The menu consisted of steak Diane, chicken kiev and trout almondine, and the contestants had 30 minutes to update it.
The challenge commenced and Benjamin immediately began to delegate duties in the Red kitchen. Siobhan Allgood, a 25-year-old pub executive chef from Rockledge, PA who currently resides in Philadelphia, PA, thought Benjamin brought "calmness" to their kitchen.
The Blue Team also got to work, with Jay Santos, a 32-year-old executive chef from Melrose, MA who currently resides in Medford, MA, trying to step into Benjamin's vacant leadership role. Salvatore suggested chicken meatballs, which made Autumn Lewis, a 29-year-old personal chef from Chicago, IL who currently resides in North Hollywood, CA, nervous.
Her fears were realized when Salvatore's meatballs were undercooked.
"Salvatore dropped the ball a little bit once again," opined Jay.
The challenge concluded and the dishes were tasted by Gordon and the couple.
The steak Diane dishes went first, and Nilka Hendricks, a 28-year-old line cook from Glen Cove, NY who currently resides in West Hempstead, NY, presented the Red Team's updated version -- however it lacked a lot of the original ingredients. Still, the couple enjoyed it.
Ed Battaglia, a 28-year-old high school cooking teacher from Burlington, NJ who currently resides in Edgewater Park, NJ, presented the Blue Team's take on it, a pan-seared filet. The couple also enjoyed it and gave the Blue Team the point.
The chicken kiev dishes went next, with Autumn presenting the Blue Team's meatballs. Salvatore also took credit for the idea. Gordon immediately recognized the meatballs were undercooked.
Holli Ugalde, a 24-year-old banquet chef from San Bernardino, CA, then presented the Red Team's dish. The couple loved it and awarded the point to the Red Team.
The trout almondine was the last dish. Benjamin presented the Red Team's dish, which Marcy thought was mild but Sal liked. Jay presented the Blue Team's dish, which was also enjoyed. Marcy wanted to award the point to the Blue Team, however Sal liked the Red.
"So it's a tie," said Gordon. "I will break the tie."
While the difference was "minimal," he gave the point to the Red Team -- which won their first challenge.
For their reward, the Red Team went to a 50's style diner. For their punishment, the Blue Team had to decorate the dining room for the upcoming reception.
"I don't mind losing if we deserve to lose, and unfortunately with Salvatore's dish we deserved to lose this," opined Jay.
The next morning, both teams began to prep for that night's dinner service -- which included Benjamin's trout almondine. He continued to take charge in the Red kitchen, and Jay's attempt to lead the Blue kitchen also continued -- until he cut himself.
"It's deep," he told the medic. "When I first pulled it I could see all the way in the finger."
The medic kept pressure on the finger, however Jay began to feel light-headed. He was eventually able to return to the kitchen. Gordon revealed the steak Diane would be served tableside and assigned Ed for the Blue Team and Nilka for the Red Team.
The dinner service commenced and the guests arrived for the anniversary celebration.
Since they won the challenge, the Red Team would serve Sal and Marcy the first course -- the appetizer. Things were going smoothly and the appetizers started to leave the kitchen for the other diners. A problem arose when it looked like the wedding cake was going to fall over in the dining area, and Gordon sent Ed and Jay to fix it -- which they did.
The Red Team finished their appetizer orders, however there was a problem when Benjamin served cold crab cakes.
"I like Ben, but I think he's a little pompous," said Fran Klier, a 44-year-old catering chef from Rockville Centre, NY. "He thinks that he's a better cook than anybody here."
Benjamin didn't like the criticism from Gordon and eschewed help from the other Red Team members in anger.
The Red Team began to work on the head table's entrees and Nilka was sent into the dining area to prepare the steak Diane. Ed also went into the dining area to begin preparing it for other diners. Timing was crucial with food being cooked in the kitchen and dining area, however the Red Team was able to pull it off.
The Blue Team also began to push their first entrees out, with Salvatore and Jason on the garnish station.
"It's a big night for me because it's do or die," said Salvatore. "Everything I'm doing I want to do perfect and not screw up anything."
However Salvatore's communication was lacking and he didn't serve enough garnish for the duck.
"I got confused and I'm scared to do anything because Chef Ramsay wants to yell at you," he said.
In the Red kitchen, Holli's duck was overcooked and her chicken was raw.
"It's a very rookie mistake," she opined.
Two hours into dinner service and more than half of the customers received their entrees. In the Red kitchen, Fran struggled to keep up with garnish and sent a hot pan to the pass, which got her a tongue-lashing from Gordon.
"Engage your brain!" scolded Gordon.
Salvatore continued to struggle with his garnish, as he fell behind.
"You need to wake up!" yelled Gordon.
"I'm not giving up," replied Salvatore.
The Blue Team pushed out their final entrees and the Red Team also rushed to finish. The dinner service came to a close, with no food sent back.
"I do believe we finished our tickets first, but Salvatore sucked once again," said Jay.
Gordon singled out Fran, Holli and Salvatore for not meeting his standards during the service before revealing the Red Team lost and would need to nominate two people for elimination.
"I felt like we had a good service and the girls all felt like it was the best service they've had," said Benjamin. "It wasn't good enough though."
Since there weren't many problems, Fran threw out Holli's name due to her problems with the meat and Benjamin due to his struggles with the crab cakes. Benjamin pointed out Fran struggled with garnish and also singled out Holli.
Nilka thought Siobhan and Fran without much explanation, and Siobhan nominated Holli and Fran. The group continued to discuss the nominations since there were lots of varying opinions. Benjamin called out Siobhan for lacking passion, which obviously upset her.
The contestants eventually returned to the kitchen and Holli revealed Fran was the Red Team's first nomination because she was a "little slow." Holli then revealed Siobhan was the second nomination because she was one of the "worst cooks" in the kitchen.
Fran and Siobhan both stepped forward and Gordon asked them to defend themselves, which they did. Gordon then sent Fran and Siobhan back in line.
"Yes, you did lose tonight," said Gordon. "But there is one chef that had the worst service. Salvatore, come here. Out of seven services, you've had one good one. Your time has run out."
Salvatore then left the kitchen.
"Salvatore had a big heart," said Gordon. "Too bad he couldn't cook with it."