Monday, August 15, 2011

Exclusive Interview: ‘Hell’ of a shocker for Bradenton chef Jamie Gregorich

Jamie Gregorich/
The biggest shock of the season on “Hell’s Kitchen” rocked Manatee County and viewers across the country Monday.

Bradenton resident and fan favorite Jamie Gregorich was eliminated.

“My mom was crying because I was crying on TV,” Jamie told the Herald from her parent’s home in West Bradenton shortly after the episode aired. “I was on the verge of tears, but more than that I had a headache because I knew it was coming.”

In a startling move, chef/host Gordon Ramsay decided that the two contestants up for elimination, Carrie and Elise, should stay and called out Jamie, a 25-year-old sous chef at Longboat Key eatery Euphemia Haye.

"It's not a good feeling. It hurts ... deep," she said in a teary confessional.
Colin Wilson, manager at Euphemia Haye, learned Jamie had been eliminated when the Herald called the resturant.

“It’s been so exciting having her be a part of the show,” he said. It has been a big boost for the restaurant and just an exciting time for everyone involved. Lots of people have been coming in asking about Jamie. Everything having to do with Jamie and the show has been positive.”

One of Jamie’s main mentors, Euphemia Haye Chef du cuisine Mark Keckstein texted: “Jamie showed a great deal of integrity and passion for our art and made us all better professionals.”

Raymond Arpke, Euphemia Haye’s owner and executive chef, called Jamie shortly before the Herald spoke with her. The winner of the show receives a $250,000 salary as head chef of the prestigious BLT Steak in New York City.

“I know my chef Mark is proud of me and Chef Ray called from Wisconsin to say he’s super proud and that I should have gone further,” Jamie said — then laughed. “But Chef Ray also said also glad that I’m still at restaurant and loves me.”

Facebook and Twitter were teeming with sympathetic messages about Jmaie within minutes of the on-air moment.

Even Jamie’s rival Elise reached out.

“It shouldn't have been you!” she wrote on the on the wall of Jamie’s personal Facebook page.
Another fellow Red Team member and remaining contestant responded to the Herald directly.

“Saddest day in the house,” Jennifer Normant messaged. “Lost a great friend and huge competitor.”
Jamie had about a half-hour to soak up all the feedback pouring in nationwide before talking to the Herald.

“It gives me goose-bumps to know I made such an impact in the time I was on the show and to know I have a true friend in Jennifer,” Jamie said. “It’s also nice to see the other contestants as shocked as my family was. They know I’m a good chef.”

Jamie added, “I’m still in shock now even though I’ve known for three months that it happened.”

Jamie Gregorich/
The episode started out good with Jamie's Red Team winning the sexy dessert challenge. The team was rewarded with an overnight trip to Las Vegas, complete with a five-bedroom villa, butler service and a visit from Playboy bunny/Hugh Hefner ex Holly Madison. She announced that they all had won a three day/two night return trip with a guest. It's the best reward for a challenge yet.

Dinner service was themed "Date Night" and at the end Ramsay said he would divorce all of them if he could. The Blue Team had problems with tattoed Tommy and his inability to cook seafood, but other than that they were able to finish service.

The Red Team had several problems with dinner service. The worst of which was probably "the hair in the garnish" incident. Jamie was preparing the garnishes and Ramsay called her out because there was a "disgusting, greasy black hair" on the plate. "Is that your hair?" he asked Jamie. After a bit of argument she fessed up and said "I guess it must be mine."

She seemed upset by the incident because she then had trouble on the zuchini side dishes and Ramsay made her taste a burned one she had made. After that though she sucked it up and finished getting the dishes out.

She wasn't the only Red Team member to have a bad night. Both Carrie and Elise got kicked out of the kitchen. Carrie for trying to serve burnt, greasy fish and Elise for her general bad additude, overcooking the oysters and serving vegetarian capellini with lobster. (Does anyone else think it's strange that they serve a large plate of pasta for an appetizer?)

The Blue Team won dinner service and the Red Team was asked to nominate two team members to go up for elimination. After several arguments, the disruptive duo of Carrie and Elise were voted in.

At elimination, Chef Ramsay asked each chef to expalin why they deserved to be there. They each pleaded their case and Ramsay said "both of you" and they both started walking towards him. "Both of you ... back in line!" They were shocked. We were shocked.

"Jamie, you're out of here."

Ramsay told the rest of the contestants that Jamie was in over her head and instead of getting better each week, she got worse.

"Walking out of there without a chef's jacket was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do," Jamie said.

Well don't worry Jamie, Bradenton is still proud of you.

The winner of the reality cooking show will get a $250,000 salary as head chef of the prestigious BLT Steak in New York City.

"Hell's Kitchen" airs 8 p.m. Mondays on Fox.

--post by Jana Morreale, features/day editor, and Wade Tatangelo, features writer/columnist

Carrie, Jamie and Amanda prepare for a dinner service. Fox publicity photo.

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Buzz Worthy:"Jamie Gregorich survives another night in 'Hell's Kitchen'"

Bradenton Herald front page story that ran Sunday, July 24: "‘Hell’s Kitchen’ contestant talks about surviving debut show, returning to Euphemia Haye,"

Buzz Worthy: "Bradenton chef Jamie Gregorich still standing the heat in 'Hell's Kitchen'"

Buzz Worthy: "Bradenton chef Jamie Gregorich on 'Hell's Kitchen' part 2 of the season premiere"

Buzz Worthy: "Jamie Gregorich survives first night on 'Hell's Kitchen'"

Buzz Worthy: "Bradenton chef Jamie Gregorich on 'Hell's Kitchen' season debut"

Bradenton Herald: "Bradenton chef heats up ‘Hell’s Kitchen’"

WATCH previous episodes of "Hell's Kitchen."

Jamie Gregorich page on

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