‘Hell’s Kitchen’ post mortem: Gordon Ramsay ‘shocked’ when Alex Lenik ‘asked me for a breather’

After 20 seasons of “Hell’s Kitchen,” few things still shock Gordon Ramsay. But even he was caught off guard by Alex Lenik‘s eye-popping request in the fourth episode. “I was shocked when Alex asked me for a breather on the first ticket of the night,” the world-renowned chef said after taking the 22-year-old line cook’s jacket. “Fortunately for him, he’s got plenty of time for that breather now.”

Alex took a break at the start of dinner service because he was overwhelmed at the garnish station. He strolled through the “HK” museum, filled with various photos of the past 19 winners, as a way of catching his breath. “On garnish, when I see all those tickets it gets me flustered,” the Illinois resident explained. “Sometimes you have to take a breather, but that’s okay, that’s something that I needed to do. I have to own up to it and suck it up and get back to service.”

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Following dinner service, Gordon was so unimpressed with both teams that he told each of them to nominate two people for elimination. “What a night,” he grumbled. The Red Team put up Josie Clemens and Brynn Gibson (with Gordon swiftly replacing Brynn with Victoria Sonora) while the Blue Team nominated Alex and Antonio Ruiz. Each of the four bottom players then got a chance to fight for their lives.

“I believe I should stay in ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ Chef, because I don’t want to quit,” Alex pleaded. “I know I have the willingness and the drive to show you that I am capable. And I know that I can pick myself back up and learn from my mistake.” As this was the second consecutive week being in the bottom (remember last week’s “Chicken Gate“?), Gordon had no choice but to send him home.

Alex once again took a walk through the “Hell’s Kitchen” museum … this time on his way out of the competition. In his post mortem interview, he stated, “I’m kind of bummed out that I lost tonight, but having the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest chefs in the world makes me want to push even harder and show the whole world what this generation is capable of. And I am not gonna stop.”

Following Alex’s elimination, Gordon mixed up the teams by sending Victoria, Emily Hersh and Megan Gill to the Blue Team and Payton Cooper and Sam Garman to the Red Team. “Time for some drastic measures,” the host warned. How will these switcheroos affect the competition going forward? Stay tuned.