Mary Poehnelt was a contestant on Season 11 of Hell's Kitchen. She was the runner-up of that season.
Mary was one of the sweetest people in the show's history, but never hesitated to stand up for herself. She did not start the season as the strongest chef, but after three early nominations, she improved dramatically and became a strong link in the red team. She had the softest female voice in the history of the show.
Season 11 Edit
When the chefs arrived in Los Angeles, Ramsay surprisingly told them to meet him in Las Vegas. Arrived there, they were greeted by showgirls, got on a double-decker bus for a tour of the city, and eventually got tricked in believing they would go on a Las Vegas 4D experience. However, they arrived in front of a live audience, where Ramsay was waiting for them.
During the Signature Dish Challenge, Mary was the ninth person from the red team to have her dish judged by Ramsay, and went up against Christian. When she began to describe her dish, Ramsay plugged his ears as her voice was way too soft. She served a pan-seared duck breast with red wine and orange reduction, but her duck was not cooked properly and still had raw fat, which Ramsay retorted that she definitely butchered her dish. She lost the round to Christian.
The red team eventually won the challenge 5-4, and they were rewarded with a night out in Las Vegas, meeting Celine Dion, and get VIP tickets for the latter's show. When she entered the presidential suite at the Caesar's Palace, Mary said it was gorgeous, and revealed that she never went to Las Vegas before and that even the air was smelling good as they must manufacture delicious smelling air. When they came back from their reward, she showed the blue team their picture with Celine Dion.
The next day, during prep, Mary acknowledged that the red team was screwed because of Gina's confused state. When both teams were lined up, she was excited to see Jean-Philippe come back as the maître d'. During dinner service, she was on the fish station with Gina. When Ramsay called the first ticket, Gina asked her where the spatula to flip the scallops was, but she was annoyed as Gina was not knowing what she was doing, reminded that she has not been there all day, and could not believe she wanted to cook scallops. Later, she was annoyed when Gina was constantly asking Nedra for a time, telling her to shut up. After Gina was kicked out, she managed to serve a lot of appetizers, along with Nedra. At one point, when Jessica took more than three minutes to slice her lamb, she got annoyed and said it was not rocket science. An hour and a half into service, she was dedicated to the garnish station after Susan and Danielle were kicked out, and after Ramsay sent entrées without garnish, she was told to fire new potatoes urgently, which overwhelmed her as she had to work two stations at once. She was helped by Amanda, but she struggled to keep up when the female customer who ordered the chicken came to the pass and told her garnish was missing. Finally, she succeeded to send the missing potatoes to the pass. She rallied to help the red team to serve all their remaining tickets, and the red team won the service.
The next morning, some soldiers from the US army came in Hell's Kitchen, went to the dorms, and gave a very brutal wake up call to the chefs by screaming and yelling to get up. When the teams were challenged to climb up the wall, Mary stayed on top of the wall to help her teammates getting over. The red team managed to get 31 lobsters in their bucket, compared to the blue team's 37, but fortunately for them, that was only the first part of the challenge.
During the Lobster Cleaning Challenge, Mary was paired with Amanda. Together, they scored at least one point, and the red team eventually won the challenge 11-8. They were rewarded with a day on a 85-foot luxury yacht, a master sushi chef preparing them lunch, and a massage.
During dinner service, Mary was on the appetizer station with Danielle. Before tickets entered, she motivated her team, saying they would do good. On her first attempt at the risotto, she said she needed seven minutes, and declared that despite being a butcher, she could cook circles around anybody, while adding that she was determined to show Ramsay she knew her flavors. However, her risotto was rejected as she put too much white wine in it. Ramsay asked her how much wine did she put, which she answered that she just put a few spoons, so he ordered her to reduce it. She was disappointed, and started over, but was taken over by Danielle. On their second attempt, there was still too much white wine in it, and they were helped by Ja'Nel. After receiving her help, their risotto was deemed delicious by Ramsay, and she celebrated with Ja'Nel. The red team was eventually kicked out of the kitchen after a lot of mistakes. Both teams were named joint-losers, and they were asked to nominate two people each for elimination. During deliberation, she was considered by Jessica and Ja'Nel, but she retorted that she bounced back from her mistakes.
Mary was the red team's second nominee for elimination, with Danielle being the first, and they joined Jeremy and Christian from the blue team. During her plea, she reminded that she fought back, and she survived elimination.
Back in the dorms, Mary acknowledged that surviving elimination was a wake-up call for her, and added that she could not be nominated again as she would likely go home without being ready to.
The next morning, all the chefs went outside for the next challenge, and saw Ramsay, dressed in a running suit, and a lot of runners waiting in front of a start/finish line. He introduced the HK3K Service Challenge, and when he asked for a volunteer from each team to run the course, Mary did not raise her hand, but was chosen anyway. She acknowledged she was out of shape but hoped to redeem herself in some way. During the race, she was much slower, being the last runner, and acknowledged it was really hard, while adding she was tired. Finally, she gave a checkpoint, much to Cyndi's relief. She was still struggling to keep up, and was still running when the runners started to enter the dining room. She finally arrived after service began, very exhausted, and asked for someone to catch her up. She said that she did not let her team down as she run the whole course, but added that she was exhausted, before being comforted by Amanda.
The red team eventually won the challenge, and were asked to go help the blue team finish their entrées. They were rewarded with a day at Temecula Valley's Wine Country for wine tasting and making, and flew on a private jet to get there. During the ride, Mary declared the view was awesome, and after lunch, the women went to squish some grapes with their feet, while she said that she wanted to do this her whole life.
During dinner service, Mary was on the fish station with Susan. She was not seen much, except when she expressed dismay about Jacqueline's raw chicken. The red team eventually lost the service, and they were asked to nominate two people.
She was not nominated for elimination.
Back in the dorms, Mary apologized to Jessica after the latter was nominated for no apparent reasons.
During the Protein Identification Challenge, Mary was paired with Amanda, and they were the fourth pair to compete for the red team. While tasting, she immediately noticed the bone thicker than the chop, so she went with veal, and got it correctly on their first attempt, which made her very happy and say that "Mary the butcher" came through. The red team won the challenge 6:37-10:33, and they were rewarded with a day at Malibu, in a $15M beach house, as well as getting there in convertibles.
During breakfast service, Mary was on the smoked salmon station with Susan. She was not seen at all, but the red team lost the service as they failed to complete their tickets before the blue team, and they were asked to nominate two people. During deliberation, she was considered by Nedra for being weak, and she did not appreciate that comment. She was confused as she did not commit any mistakes, and said that she worked really hard and that she was not deserving to be nominated. Finally, she asked if they should base their nominations on overall or on that service, as they should reach a decision soon.
Mary was the red team's second nominee for elimination, with Jacqueline being the first. That decision surprised Ramsay, and during her plea, she said that she was a fighter and that she was bouncing back after making a mistake. She survived elimination.
While going back to the dorms, Mary was glad to know that Ramsay thought she was better than Jeremy, while considering it as a chance at redemption, and adding that she would prove herself during the next service. Later that day, during prep, she thought that she may be pregnant as her period was late, and that she was nauseous. Then, she needed to go to the bathroom, so she went with a pregnancy test, being excited if she was pregnant, but also worried as she would not know her faith in the competition if she was. After a few moments, she got back in the kitchen, and announced to her teammates that she was definitely not pregnant.
During the break, Mary went to the fridge to take a snack, and on her way, Zach congratulated her for fighting back when being nominated. After she declared that the red team was loving her, Zach told her to not believe that. That angered her, and she asked him to shut his mouth and not talk to her anymore. She left, went back to the bedroom with her teammates while slamming the door behind her, making the men laugh. In the bedroom, she told to her teammates that the men were acting like jerks, and that she was pissed because they were trying to win by taking them down.
During dinner service, Mary was on the meat station with Nedra. When the team was working on appetizers, she was annoyed by the lack of communication between Susan and Amanda, and compared the two of them to clams. When she and Nedra sent their first entrée to the pass, the pork was raw. Ramsay asked what they were doing, and when she and Nedra told their new pork was still in the pan, he was dismayed, asked if they found it funny, which she answered that she was not laughing. After being threatened with ejection if one more mistake would happen, she sent her lamb and Wellingtons, with Ramsay commenting on her slow speed, but the pork was raw, and Ramsay kicked the red team out of the kitchen.
Both teams were named joint-losers, and they were asked to nominate two people each. During deliberation, Mary apologized about the raw pork, and was quickly considered by Jacqueline as an obvious nominee.
Mary was the red team's first nominee, with Nedra being the second, and they joined Dan and Raymond from the blue team. During her plea, she took responsibility for the raw pork, and in the end, she was asked to give her jacket to Ramsay, along with the three other nominees. After Ramsay declared that he would do something he never done before, the episode ended as a cliffhanger.
- She participated in the second all-female finals of Hell's Kitchen.
- She is the eleventh runner-up, and fourth female runner-up of Hell's Kitchen.
- She is the first finalist ever to kick out one of her brigade members during the final service.
- "I've never been to Vegas, and it is so cool here. Even the air smells good, like they must manufacture delicious smelling air!"