Hell’s Kitchen Past Winners: Where Are They Now?
After taking in the new season premiere of Hell’s Kitchen last night, my husband suggested I should write about where all of the past winners are now. I recalled reading a similar blog recently, and figured it sounded like a good idea to tackle.
One of the common themes I’ve heard is that the winner’s prize is often not as it seems. Either, they reportedly get the title and position they’re promised, though it’s not what it seems to be. E.g. “Executive Chef” ends up working under the Head Chef or something. So it isn’t really “their” kitchen. I’ve also heard that, in some cases, like with Holly, the jobs never happened at all, and the winner was given a cash payment instead. All things considered, regardless of how misleading the end prize might be, the exposure (for the good cooks, at least) is great for boosting anyone’s career. Though I imagine you wouldn’t want to show a prospective employer a video of a Michelin Star chef calling you a “donkey” because you burned a set of scallops for the third time in a row.
Anyway, all that said, here’s a quick list to satisfy your curiosities. Note this is based on a compilation of most recent information I could find available online, so things may have changed since:
Season 1: Michael Wray
This is the guy with all of the tattoos that absolutely rocked it in the kitchen, remember? He was given the choice to head up one of the restaurants, or go to London to train under Ramsay. He chose the latter, but changed his mind as he didn’t want to uproot his whole family. However, it appears Wray is one of the most successful to come out of the show, supposedly now serving as Executive Head Chef of Los Angeles hot spot The Standard.
Season 2: Heather West
Ahh, the young, hot blonde that fooled everyone because she had the skills to back it up. Apparently she’s one of the people who didn’t quite get the prize she was supposed to: her title was a notch done from leading the kitchen. “Executive” was replaced with “Senior.” Sneaky, sneaky. She has since moved on, and is most recently known to be heading up Monterey Restaurant in Long Beach, NY.
Season 3: Rahman Harper
You’ll remember him as “Rock,” the tough guy who beat out all of the competition in the end with his passion and skills. He worked his one-year prize gig, then moved on to greener pastures. He’s last known to be working at Next door in Washington, DC.
Season 4: Christina Machamar
Another hottie, young blonde that could deliver the goods. Instead of getting the top prize, she was reportedly still working under Andy Cook (the other blonde on Ramsay’s staff who appears on the show.) She moved on, studied wine at a culinary institute, and was last known to be working at Bouchon Bistro in Beverly Hills, CA.
Season 5: Danny Veltri
This cutie was a force to be reckoned with in the kitchen. Instead of becoming head chef at one restaurant as promised, he got the position of sous chef at another. What an insult. Naturally, he left, and decided to start his own catering company. It was humorously called Back From Hell. Gnarly Surf & Bar Grill in Central Florida was his last known place of employment, where he was chef.
Season 6: Dave Levy
How can you possibly forget Dave? This is the guy who kicked some serious butt with a broken arm through most of the show! He not only killed it, producing amazing food one-handed, but also worked more quickly then half of the people, and even stepped in to help others when they were blundering. All with his arm in a sling. Surely, this guy got the job of a lifetime, right? Wrong. He indeed got Head Chef at Araxi in BC, and got to work through the experience of the Summer Olympics there. But he is reported as saying that despite the title, he was treated like a line cook. So he didn’t have much incentive to stay once the contract was up. He’s one of the only ones not known to be working in food, supposedly just helping his sister launch her music career. What a shame. This guy has mad skills!
Season 7: Holli Ugalde
Ahh, the vixen. This gal wooed her runner up to fall in love with her, and was quite outspoken. That didn’t change once her prize to run a restaurant in London never panned out. It had something to do with a work visa, but she wasn’t quiet about expressing her reservations that it might never have been applied for in the first place, and chances are the intention was never to send her to England. She did get a cash payout, apparently. Sum undisclosed. She was last Signature Chef at B Ocean in Florida. Wonder if she’s still with her blue-haired love from the show!
Season 8: Nona Sivley
We all got to see Nona return last season in a returning contestant challenge. Though you had to do a double take as she was about a quarter of her old size. Good for her! At the time of her winning, though, Nona was a big gal with big dreams that supposedly were to be fulfilled when she took the title. Her position was supposed to be Head Chef at LA Market though she was last known to still be there, but as Chef de Cuisine.
Anyone know of any changes to this list? Who do you think will win this season?