Real Time Web Analytics Foodie Gossip: Hell's Kitchen Winners: Where Are They Now?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Hell's Kitchen Winners: Where Are They Now?

The 12th season of Hell’s Kitchen is wrapping up, and with it, the curiosity of where the past Hell’s Kitchen winners are now. How many chefs actually received the prizes they were promised? How many of them went on to become successful chefs in the culinary world? Do any of the winners still have a chip on their shoulder from their experiences at Fox TV's Hell's Kitchen? 

Read on to see how the winners of the first 11 seasons of Hell’s Kitchen are doing! 




The first ever winner of Hell’s Kitchen, Season 1, was Michael Wray.  When he first won he chose to travel to London to train under Chef Gordon Ramsay, then later decided to focus on his family and stayed to be head-chef in some prominent Los Angeles restaurants, like The Standard. Since then, not only has he started his own custom knives company called Skull and Cleavers, but he also tried to open his own restaurant in Arizona called HK1. Sadly however, it never materialized due to lack of funds. Last we heard, Chef Michael Wray is residing in Arizona and teaches cooking at an Arizona college.



Heather West was the winner for Hell’s Kitchen Season 2. For her prize, she was to become Executive Chef at Terra Rossa, an Italian restaurant at Red Rock Resort Spa and Casino in Las Vegas. However, Heather only became Senior Chef for one year. She then went on to become Head Chef in a restaurant called Monterey Restaurant in Long Beach, New York. Having made a name for herself in the greater New York area at upscale eateries like Ciao Baby in Commack and Massapequa Park, and Thatched Cottage in Centerport, Heather is now the Executive Chef at Schafer’s in Port Jefferson, NY.



Rahaman“Rock” Harper was the Season 3 winner. He enjoyed his prize as the Head Chef at Terra Verde at Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, NV. After his one-year contract was complete, he then went on to work in restaurants throughout Washington, DC before finding the perfect fit as the Director of Kitchen Operations for D.C. Central Kitchen, a non-profit that feeds, educates and strives to save thousands from chronic homelessness, poverty and crime. He and business partner Aaron Gordon opened fatShorty’s in a D.C. suburb, it closed its doors in October 2013. Guess we’ll have to wait and see what Chef Harper has in store for us next!



Christina Machamer won Hell’s Kitchen Season 4, and the chance to become Executive Chef at the Gordon Ramsay restaurant in the London West Hollywood Hotel. Instead, she was given the position of Senior Chef under Executive Chef Andy Cook. She then took some time off to study wine and viticulture at The Culinary Institute at Greystone in Napa Valley. Today she works at B Cellars, helping to create wines that go well with food as well as helping around the winery and interacting with guests.




Danny Veltri won Season 5 of Hell's Kitchen and became Sous Chef under Stephen Kalt at Fornelletto at the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He later created a catering company called Back From Hell Catering, poking fun at his experience in "Hell's Kitchen.” Soon after, he partnered with a group of investors to create Gnarly Surf Bar & Grill near the Intracoastal Waterway in Central Florida, where he was Head Chef. Today, Chef Veltri is helping Chef Erik Amalfitano and management at Flip Flops establish a new menu.




Dave Levey won Hell's Kitchen Season 6, and the prize of Head Chef at Araxi Restaurant and Bar in Whistler, British Columbia. Unsatisfied with his role in the kitchen, he left the position shortly after the end of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Currently, he is in Nashville helping his sister with her music career.







Holli Ugalde won Hell's Kitchen Season 7, which was supposed to follow with the position as Executive Chef at The Savoy in London. However, she could not granted a visa to work in the U.K. Ugalde called that explanation an excuse, saying, "I don't know if they even applied for my visa." Instead of the The Savoy, Ugalde accepted an undisclosed amount of cash. She worked as the Signature Chef of a new restaurant in B Ocean Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida  B’stro on the Beach. She now lives in Beaumont, California & enjoys cooking for her family. 
** SIDE NOTE: It looks like Holli has left her website and social media accounts in the past with her restaurant career. We tried to visit her website, but found it had been hacked and implanted with a virus. If you're dumb enough to check it out anyway, here's some friendly advice - do not click on the warning popup. Clicking on that will actually infect your computer. Just do a force-shutdown of your computer or device and never visit that site again. 

Nona Sivley won Hell's Kitchen Season 8, along with the prize position as Head Chef at LA Market at JW Marriott Hotel in Los Angeles, and the opportunity to be a spokesperson for Rosemount Estate Wines. After returning to work at LA Market as Chef de Cuisine with Celebrity chef Kerry Simon, the two opened a new venture, Pork & Beans, in the Las Vegas Container Park in November 2013. It had only a short run before shuttering in April. Nona now presides as the Executive Chef at Vine and Tap, a gastropub and wine bar in Atlanta.





Paul Niedermann won Hell’s Kitchen Season 9, which was supposed to be a prize of head chef at BLT Steak in NYC. While is he currently in the kitchen at BLT Steak, he is actually working under Chef Cliff Crooks, a Season 2 Contestant of Bravo’s Top Chef. We can’t wait to see what comes of this talented pairing….








ChristinaWilson won Hell’s Kitchen Season 10 and took on the role of Head Chef of Las Vegas-based Gordon Ramsay’s Steak Restaurant at Paris Hotel & Casino. After a very successful year at Gordon Ramsay’s Steak, she has continued her partnership with Chef Ramsay as the Executive Chef at BurGR in Planet Hollywood Casino. She returned for a guest appearance on Hell’s Kitchen season 11.







Ja’Nell Witt earned the title of Season 11 winner and the prize of Executive Chef at Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, however lost the offer after failing a drug test.  Chef Ramsay has offered his support to Ja’Nell, and still awarded her a cash prize for the win on Hell’s Kitchen. In June, she was named the Executive Chef at Corner Table, a new American restaurant in Houston.

By the way, did anyone else notice the apparent trend that either HK winners do not get their prize, or get the title of the prize/but not the responsibility, or the winner leaves their position as soon as their contract is fulfilled? It almost seems pointless to go through all the pain and suffering that we witness season after season. However, every winner seems to say the same thing about the show… it is the BEST experience of their lives!


36 comments:

  1. It seems to be good that your restaurant won best restaurant award. I am really very happy for you and my best wishes are with you. Good luck!!

    San Francisco restaurants

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  2. Umm... did you notice that Ja'Nell Witt was an addict and could not receive the job for that reason. I hope you weren't including Witt in your last paragraph. She made a decision to use drugs. As for a chef position, I know a position should be earned through experience. No one just goes on a reality show to get a job... oh wait these people did.
    Some of these contestants seem incapable of behaving professionally let alone running a restaurant kitchen.

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    1. Ya that was an excuse ... drug use in the restaurant industry is extremely high and generally overlooked unless someone is looking for a reason to fire someone.

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    2. Yea, because all of those past winners on American Idol aren't doing anything now. It's just a TV show right? Kelly Clarkson hasn't been selling albums for how many plus years because of a TV show, right? Oh, and lets not forgets that most of the contestants that enter Hell's Kitchen have a degree in culinary arts. Therefore, they have experience. You also don't seem to know shit, considering the fact Ramsey has been in this business for YEARS, owns MULTIPLE five star restaurants BEFORE he even started Hell's Kitchen. Yea, because it's a reality show it suddenly untrue and staged bullshit. I love hearing people complain who doesn't know their facts.

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    3. nowhere does it say that she is an addict

      maybe she just had some herbal cigarettes...but reading the other fates of those winners it seems more likely that they just didn't really want her there...

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    4. She failed a drug test but that doesn't mean she's an addict and deserved to lose her job. That thinking is just plain naive. Every restaurant you've ever been in had a cook back there who smoked weed. In fact, I bet you've enjoyed many dishes that were first created while someone was high and getting creative with ingredients because they were hungry. So don't be judgmental and don't say drugs never did anything for you.

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    5. http://www.tmz.com/2013/08/23/hells-kitchen-winner-janel-witt-failed-drug-test-cocaine-caesars-palace/
      "Hell's Kitchen" champ Ja'Nel Witt tested positive for cocaine ... and that's why she wasn't allowed to accept the head-chef position at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in Vegas

      Read more: http://www.tmz.com/2013/08/23/hells-kitchen-winner-janel-witt-failed-drug-test-cocaine-caesars-palace/#ixzz3ShfUeTwn

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    6. A lot of butthurt losers on here.

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    7. a lot of people here seem to be upset that failing a drug test and losing her job was bs but i dont think a lot of them know what the fuck fine dinning is. You can not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol in any job. i mean really what job have any of you worked where thats ok? no one cares how stressful a job is, its your job to be the cook and its your job to be a good example for your crew. so what if some of them can cook while being high it doesn't excuse shit. people who are high also fuck up during work. my father works day in and day out at his restaurant for 14 hours a day 6 days a week and i never see him smoking it up. welcome to the real world people, drugs are fine when your a kid but when your an adult you better act like one.

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    8. The poster of the thread is clearly a donkey. You think just because it's on tv that it's not real? Are you serious? Do me a favor. GET OUT!!

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  3. They don't hand over multi million dollars restaurants to game show winners. The title head chef is usually relegated to lead chef in a working kitchen being subordinate to an executive chef or a director in the organization. It has always been just one year contract.

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    1. If the intent is not to give the winners the actual job then they shouldn't portray it as such. I am sure that the contract that the contestants sign spell this out but it is still a lie and they shouldn't be allowed to do this.

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  4. David levy isn't cooking food he's cooking drugs.

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  5. If the winner cannot perform the duties as Executive Chef due to lack of knowledge and experience then they are given a different position for their year contract. That is not the fault of the show

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    1. Someone who can make sense of this!
      It makes sense you enter selling a story that you are the best cook and or chef and you get out to the rest as Gordon Ramsay he cannot have some rookie take the lead and run his businesses into the group. Some seasons you can see they all just weak right up until the end where he doesn't even know but the show must continue and he can't just allow a weak chef in his kitchen. Some people do make a great success no great chef had it easy they all failed, got fired and kicked out of kitchens being a winner is just a boost not a garunteed career

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  6. I love Nona she's the best winner out of all the winners!

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    1. Fat mess you mean

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    2. I agree she was

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  7. David Levy got busted for being in a heroin trafficking ring

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  8. The show misrepresents the prize, just as it misrepresents much of the "reality" portion of the actual events.

    If executive chef is not the guaranteed position, then the show should not suggest as such. They could simply say the contestant wins a position on staff with Gordon Ramsey and a $250k salary.

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  9. Hell's Kitchen is a big joke! The only thing these chefs are qualified to cook is Risotto, Salmon, Beef Wellington and Scallops! That's all they cooked on each and every episode of HK for 12 years! And of course who could forget Gordon Ramsay repeating the same shit over and over again. This show is one big joke.

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  10. "By the way, did anyone else notice the apparent trend that either HK winners do not get their prize, or get the title of the prize/but not the responsibility, or the winner leaves their position as soon as their contract is fulfilled? It almost seems pointless to go through all the pain and suffering that we witness season after season."

    I have a serious issue with this comment by the Author because they're not considering a different perspective about this, or really thinking into why the contract is only one-year long.

    If you come back to this comment, then please let me help explain this to you. I mean this sincerely, by the way. No snark.

    You said that it seems pointless because they're leaving after their contract is fulfilled but it's really not.

    You see, the reward isn't a lifelong career at one of Gordon's Restaurant. The real reward is basically to give you a quarter of a million dollars to be his apprentice for a whole year as an executive Chef.

    Do you have any idea how valuable that is? How many doors that opens up for that chef? Also that 250 grand.

    It's for the winner to open up their own restaurant and pass their own food out onto the world. Hell's Kitchen is about creating a whole new wave of chefs and awesome restaurants. It's not just a reality TV show.

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    1. That is so true. When they win, they have a chance to become executive chef, not a guarantee. Hollie didn't win cause of her visa. Dave was a line cook but still! The chance of winning, opening your own resturant, winning money, is the chance they want to take.

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  11. Yassss!! About a chef or line cook in every restaurant in America smoking weed and creating great new dishes! Just today, I saw a Mexican cook some fantastic new hambone soup. Didn't know such a dish could be a culinary classic!

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  12. Thank you for taking the time to do the research. I must say that most of them at least went on to have successful careers that I'm sure are attributed to the experience on this show. Many weren't perhaps head chef material, but nevertheless, they at least were given jobs or cash when the winner wasn't suited for the Head Chef position. I don't fault the reality show for that.. after all, they do have a business to run when it comes down to it.

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  13. read Anthony bourdain's kitchen confidential.....drugs are everywhere.....at least they were in his day....and moving around from kitchen to kitchen is common as well....

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  14. Losers leave Ja'Nell alone. She isn't the first in history to do drugs. Ramsey supports her and so do I. LOL! #blowingyouaraspberry

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  15. What happened to Chef Scott the comeback kid? I don't see him in the list of previous winners.

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  16. As for the drug testing, all casinos have to drug test and the gaming commission takes it very seriously

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  17. Can we just talk about how the four winners who have moved on to become executive chefs are all women (including Mrs. Witt). Get it, girls.

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  18. If you listen, Ramsey states the prize as the title of Executive Chef with a salary! Title and actually doing the job is two different things!

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  19. The contestants need to be selected more carefully if the position offered does not meet the experience of the contestant.

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  20. Exactly. Look at this year, Jackie has only been cooking for 4 months ! She's dirt and obviously only still on for the entertainment factor.

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  21. Ramsey should just be straight with everyone and tell the audience that the winner get $250k and the opportunity to intern at one of his restaurants. The show is totally misleading!

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