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Denton chef competes in ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ 20th season

Denton chef competes in ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ 20th season

Denton chef competes in ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ 20th season
September 30
10:00 2021

Commands were shouted across the kitchen as cooks rush to fulfill them. Stoves were flipped to life, filling the space with a scalding heat that steals their breath.

Denton resident Megan Gill, 25, finished as runner-up after competing in the 20th season of “Hell’s Kitchen.” The season was filmed in 2019 and aired this summer.

Megan has nine years of experience as a line cook, but this was her first time cooking in a fast-paced environment.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” Megan said. “You’re getting your butt kicked every single day, but I think that was the fun part of it. That’s where you grow the most, you know, when you’re most uncomfortable.”

She and 16 other contestants flew out to Las Vegas, Nev. where the show was filmed. This season also marked Megan’s TV debut.

“The TV part, 24/7 cameras, always being mic’d up, that’s something I definitely struggled with just because I’ve never lived in that world,” Megan said.

Over the course of the show, the contestants participated in various challenges or prepared food for dinner service. Contestants were expected to complete their tasks quickly and efficiently, all while putting their kitchen knowledge to the test.

 “I think that’s really the best part because I learned so much about food, about being a chef and just about myself,” Megan said.

Teamwork was also an aspect of these trials, as the contestants had to work with and lead their fellow cooks. Host and judge Gordon Ramsey presented another level of difficulty while directing competitors, Megan said.

“I definitely underestimated how hard it was to understand him just because of his accent and he yells so fast,” she said. “I think that was hard for me.”

Megan’s family and friends had previously never seen her work in the kitchen, but the show let them see her in a different light.

“I was just incredibly proud,” said Barton Gill, Megan’s father and UNT alumnus. “We used to watch celebrity chef shows together and she just got hooked and ever since then that’s what she wanted to do.”

Megan’s parents flew out to Las Vegas after she made the finals so they could witness her second place win.

“I feel like I have the best support system and everyone’s just been so loving and accepting and encouraging,” Megan said. “They’re constantly pushing me to be better and do better and follow my dreams.”

Barton said as a parent, he was proud to see his daughter find her voice as a chef and grow as a leader in the competition.

“She was always a cool, grounded, easy going kind of person that didn’t get worked up very easy,” Barton said. “I think that helped her in the show.”

Megan cites the show for giving her a change in perspective, teaching her to lead others and keeping her on her toes.

“The most important thing I learned was probably being able to be confident and comfortable with myself,” Megan said.

Her favorite styles of dishes to cook are American steakhouse, Italian and Latin American.

“She has wanted to be a chef even since [fifth grade],” said Lindsay Wilson, Denton resident and Megan’s friend. “I’ve never known her to want to do literally anything else except for cook.”

Wilson said seeing Megan make it to the final round led her to an overjoyed feeling.

“It’s weird in general just to see your best friend on TV but just knowing she was doing what she wanted to do,” Wilson said. “I was so proud of her.”

Megan is currently taking classes at Collin College to put toward a bachelor’s degree with an entrepreneurship major. She hopes to one day open her own restaurant in Denton.

Image courtesy @chefmegangill on Instagram

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Arelys Morales Conty

Arelys Morales Conty

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