Hell's Kitchen star Gordon Ramsay cuts Autumn Lewis and Ben Knack
By Reality TV World staff, 08/04/2010
Hell's Kitchen star Gordon Ramsay narrowed the Fox culinary competition's seventh season to its final two finalists during Tuesday night's broadcast.
Gordon eliminated Autumn Lewis and Benjamin "Ben" Knack, leaving Jay Santos, a 32-year-old executive chef from Melrose, MA, and Holli Ugalde, a 24-year-old banquet chef from San Bernardino, CA, to face-off for a head chef position at his The Savoy Grill restaurant in London during next week's season-finale broadcast.
"I'm happy to have made it this far. I was able to overcome obstacles I didn't know I had the strength in me to do," Autumn said following her ouster. "I got stronger and stronger and I never gave up. Everyone elimination I was being told by my teammates [that] I wasn't passionate, I wasn't a team player, and I proved everyone wrong and I'm really prove of myself for that."
"Being in Hell's Kitchen makes you appreciate every moment. I gave it all and either I was going to show off or I was going to go down in flames because I was pushing it," Ben said. "The time I've spent in Hell's Kitchenhas definitely reconnected my passion. There's no way I can go back to teaching."
Autumn, a 29-year-old personal chef who currently resides in North Hollywood, CA, and Ben, a 33-year-old culinary instructor who currently resides in Malden, MA, were cut 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.
"I'm handing you the reins of Hell's Kitchen and each and every one of you are going to have to show me what it's like running it [as] your kitchen," Gordon told the contestants.
After they successfully completed the dinner service, Gordon then surprised the finalists with the news that two of them would be going home this week due to his decision to cut none of them following their last dinner service.
"Tonight it's going to be really difficult to sent one of you home, the only thing worse than that would be to send two of you home. And unfortunately that is what is going to happen," he said. "Now get upstairs and decide who's staying and who's going."
However after they deliberated -- and failed to come to any consensus -- Gordon told the finalists he wasn't interested in hearing their nomination decisions and decided to eliminate Autumn and Benjamin on his own.
"My decision is a tough one... the first person to leave Hell's Kitchen tonight is Autumn," he said. "Let me tell you something, you have shown the most amazing commitment, passion, dedication, and fight beyond belief. Don't you lose that."
Gordon then revealed Jay would be advancing to the finale, leaving Ben and Holli in the running for the other slot.
"The person going to the final with the chance to become the next head chef at The Savoy Grill in London is... Holli," he finally revealed.
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"Benjamin, do me one favor -- when you walk through those doors, you push yourself, do not give up," he told Ben, who had considered leaving the competition prior to the episode's dinner service after coming down with a sore back.
"I will not, Chef," Ben replied.
"Promise me now," Gordon said.
"I promise you, Chef," Ben answered.
"Thank you," Gordon said.
Hell's Kitchen's seventh-season finale will air Tuesday, August 10 at 8PM ET/PT.