"Hell's Kitchen" Season 11 winner Ja'Nel Witt is parting ways with chef Gordon Ramsay.
Less than one month ago, Fox TV audiences saw Witt raising a glass of bubbly with Ramsay after enduring the job interview from hell to land a job at the Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill in Las Vegas.
But production company ITV Studios took to Twitter Friday morning to say Witt would not fill the position: "The team at 'Hell's Kitchen' was incredibly excited about Ja'Nel Witt's season win, and her opportunity to move in to a head chef position at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill in Vegas. Recent unforeseen personal circumstances will now unfortunately prevent her from accepting the position, which is a huge disappointment for Ja'Nel and all of us. She's an incredible talent, and we all wish her much success with the next chapter of her career."
[Updated at 1:46 p.m.: Witt Tweeted the following Friday afternoon: "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. 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."]
A "Hell's Kitchen" spokeswoman declined to elaborate, but we did learn this much. Fox says the job will NOT go to runner-up Mary Poehnelt, a butcher from Massachusetts. That might not sit well with fans of the show, who watched Poehnelt transform from — in her words — Mary the Butcher to Mary the Chef.
One Tweet after the news asked Ramsay himself to explain: "@GordonRamsay since janel witt who won last season of HK can not accept it, does runner up Mary now given the rest & 250,000??"
Witt's calm, cool demeanor and her creativity gave her the edge over Poehnelt, even though Poehnelt had one of the most who impressive runs in "Hell's Kitchen" history. She was solidly a middle-of-the-pack player when the season bega, and in fact was nominated again and again for elimination by her teammates. But she fought back and outlasted the very competitors who tried to undermine her.
Efforts to reach Poehnelt for comment were unsuccessful by the time this story was posted. If that changes, we will update this post. What do you think about this controversy? Why do you think Witt and Ramsay are parting ways? And do you think the job should go to Poehnelt?
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