‘Hell’s Kitchen’ post mortem: Payton Cooper apologizes to Gordon Ramsay for ruining daughter’s 21st birthday

Payton Cooper did the unthinkable during the July 5 episode of “Hell’s Kitchen” when he cooked a bland dish for Megan Ramsay, daughter of host Gordon Ramsay, on her 21st birthday. Megan had taste-tested the Thai noodles with soy peanut sauce earlier in the episode and loved it, which is why she was confused when she was handed a watered-down version during dinner service. After being nominated for elimination (along with Josie Clemens and Sam Garman), Payton fought for his life in front of Gordon, but things didn’t go according to plan.

“Chef, I know that I’ve made some mistakes and I feel absolutely s***** about it, especially for your daughter,” the 21-year-old sous-chef from Kentucky apologized. “I’m sorry I sent her a flavorless dish tonight. But I feel like I’m growing stronger and stronger every day and I know I can do better, Chef. I really do.”

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Gordon weighed his options, then told Josie to return back to the group, leaving only the two guys standing in front of him. He instructed Payton to hand over his jacket, thereby saving Sam from elimination. “I love the fight,” the host said to Payton, “but I’ve given you so many chances, and right now you are not ready to become my head chef. Good night and good luck.”

Outside the kitchen, Payton explained in his exit interview how he was “disappointed” in himself. “I know I could have done better, but I gave his daughter a s***** entree on her 21st birthday,” he noted. “This has been an amazing journey and I’ve learned so much to be a better chef, to be a better me.”

Gordon hung up Payton’s jacket in the flaming-hot hallway, declaring, “Payton struggled on the Blue Team and the Red Team. One thing’s for sure. I don’t want him on my team.”

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After Payton was eliminated, an even dozen contestants still remained in the running to claim a head chef position at Gordon’s steakhouse at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas. They are: Red Team members Josie, Sam, Brynn Gibson, Keanu Hogan and Kiya Willhelm and Blue Team members Antonio Ruiz, Emily Hersh, Kevin Argueta, Megan Gill, Steven Glenn, Trenton Garvey and Victoria Sonora. Who are you rooting for to win it all?

The other five young guns from “HK20” who’ve been sent home so far this season are: Morgana Vesey (21 from Connecticut), Alex Lenik (22 from Illinois), Jayaun Smith (23 from Missouri), Matthew Francis Johnson (24 from Minnesota) and Ava Harren (23 from Alaska).

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