Big ups are in order for former Mercato chef Christina Wilson. Last night she was named the winner of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen, and with that victory comes her next big gig, chef at Gordon Ramsay Steak at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel, according to E! Online. She bested fellow North Jersey native Justin Antiorio to secure her place at the top, and the $250,000 a year job. Wilson’s rise is something of a Cinderella story. With little restaurant experience, she landed an unpaid apprentice position in the kitchen at Conshohocken’s Stella Blue, and steamrolled it into a kitchen manager job at nearby Gypsy Saloon while she paid her own through Temple University.
Later she joined the staff at 13th Street’s Lolita, rose through the ranks to become chef de cuisine, and then moved around the corner to head the kitchen at Mercato.
According to the Morning Call, El Gordo himself praised Wilson, calling her the “real deal,” adding that he had “never met a more passionate chef.”
Back in May, Wilson was quoted saying that she cried herself to sleep several nights while shooting the reality TV show. She had also at that time stepped down from her role at Mercato and claimed to be working as a private chef, which now seems a lot like a cover story for her new job and Hell’s Kiychen victory.
Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef Double-Whammy Finales: Winners Are In! [E! Online]
P’burg chef wins top prize in ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ [Morning Call]