Local chef Jon Scallion was eliminated in the opening moments of the "Hell's Kitchen" finale Thursday night.

During a July 18 episode, Ja'Nel Witt of Houston was guaranteed a spot in the season 11 finale. Head chef Gordon Ramsay had to select Scallion, 29, of West Manchester Township, or Mary Poehnelt of Massachusetts to compete against her based on how well they recreated a dish from his restaurant.

Ramsay selected Poehnelt and sent Scallion home, though he told him to keep his chef jacket from the show.

"This sucks not to be in the final pairing," Scallion told the camera. "But it was a hell of a ride."

But Scallion was able to come back and help the Poehnelt with her fish station during the final dinner service.

Witt won the top prize on "Hell's Kitchen" - a head chef position at Gordon Ramsay's Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

During a Thursday afternoon interview, Scallion said he had mixed feelings about the show being over. He was invited - along with Witt and Poehnelt - to a viewing party for the finale at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

He said he'd be watching the final episode for the first time Thursday night.

"It is what it is," he said. "It was such a fun time and very stressful. To get on the show and compete is an accomplishment."

Scallion complimented both finalists but said Witt was his toughest competition.

"Ja'Nel is very much about competing and not the drama and cameras," Scallion said. "I really respect her for that."

The season started out with 20 chefs, including a few with Pennsylvania roots. Scallion was the last Keystone State chef left standing. He said he was confident he would make it far on the show but enjoyed getting to know the other chefs.

"It was really great having this comradery and making life-long friends," he added.

The season 11 contestants were divided into two teams. Blue was all male, and red was all female. During the last few weeks of the competition, Scallion was the only male chef. It didn't matter too much, he added, after they got their black jackets.

"For the most part, I had to deal with myself," he said. "The girls were doing their thing on their own team. The drama was between them. I didn't know all the background there. It was nice to have an entire room to myself."

Scallion's family taught him about food. He cultivated a preference for fresh ingredients as a kid growing up in California. Later, his family moved to York County, he attended culinary school and cooked in Baltimore. He grew to love fresh seafood and Mediterranean recipes.

Scallion's worked for regional restaurants including Regents' Glen Country Club, Heritage Hills Golf Resort and Volt in Frederick, Md.

He tried out for "Hell's Kitchen" a few years ago, but wasn't chosen. When tried out again in February 2012, he landed a spot on the show's 11th season, which premiered March 12. On the show, head chef Gordon Ramsay tests chefs skills with grueling challenges.

During the season, Scallion hung out with local fans at Waterway Bar & Grill and Tailgaters Grille & Drafthouse. On June 27, he prepared canapés for about 70 people at a viewing party in New Grounds Roasting Co.

But he's faced other challenges outside the kitchen. On July 11, he was cited by West York Borough Police for carrying a firearm without a license. Scallion said he could not comment on the citation.

During recent interviews, Scallion said he planned to start a private chef company in the area and possibly host classes at New Grounds.

He didn't win the top prize but said he scored another: "Working with chef Ramsay ... and competing against other chefs who are good at what they do."

Jon Scallion shares his highs and lows from "Hell's Kitchen"

One of Jon Scallion's favorite moments was winning the burger challenge. Another proud moment for Scallion was when he earned best dish using quinoa - an ingredient Gordon Ramsay admitted he doesn't like.

But the all-male blue team got their share of punishment from the fiery head chef, Scallion added.

One of his biggest disappointments on the show was earning the best dish out of both teams on a challenge that his team ultimately lost.

Another tough time was when he had to run service.

"I was exhausted," he said. "I didn't think I did terrible (and was then) very disappointed in myself."

Read more

Read an interview with Scallion before the "Hell's Kitchen" premiere.

Scallion cooked for fans at New Grounds Roasting Co. in June.

Scallion eliminated on 'Hell's Kitchen' finale.