Diners at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace will have to wait a couple of weeks before seeing “Hell’s Kitchen” winner Ja’Nel Witt claim her prize as the restaurant’s head chef.
Witt, whom Chef Ramsay declared the Season 11 victor on July 25, said she needs to relocate from Houston, her hometown, to Las Vegas before assuming her post.
“I have been to the restaurant a few times meeting with staff,” she told me Tuesday afternoon. “I got to see the kitchen today for the first time and did a little bit of tasting.”
Witt, 31, was executive chef at Tintos, a tapas restaurant in Houston, before trying out for the Fox TV show.
“At Tintos, I learned how to lead a kitchen and run a staff and how to be creative and work on a menu,” she said. “When I went to ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ it was a refinement of what I had already been doing, but at a much higher standard.”
It seats nearly 300 people, about three times the size of her Houston restaurant.
Although her win was announced just recently, she had known about it for nearly a year. Taping concluded last summer, which, Witt said, meant “mum’s the word,” for her and her fellow contestants.
While waiting for the season finale to air, she spent 11 months traveling, reuniting with friends and doing a bit of Indian cooking.
“I did as much as I could to keep busy so I wouldn’t leak the win,” she said.