‘Hell’s Kitchen’ Finale Recap

Danny Veltri is the winner by Vicki Hyman The Star-Ledger
Thursday May 14, 2009, 12:29 PM

Danny Veltri takes home the tocque in the finale of the fifth season of ‘Hell’s Kitchen,’ with Gordon Ramsay.

Self-described Florida redneck Danny Veltri walked onstage at the Borgata’s Music Box just minutes after chef Gordon Ramsay announced on the “Hell’s Kitchen” finale that he beat out more experienced cook Paula DaSilva and would helm a new restaurant at the Atlantic City resort.

Trading in his signature camouflage backwards baseball cap for a white backwards baseball cap, Danny also donned a white chef’s jacket and told the crowd, his voice breakaing, “It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Save a first disastrous dish, Danny had been high up on the list of contenders this season — usually calm and efficient in the kitchen, comfortable at the different stations, and impressing Ramsay in the team and individual challenges. The finale episode pitted Danny and Paula against each other during one final dinner service, each side of the kitchen dishing up their own creations, and each kitchen staffed by ousted contestants, some of whom (LACEY) continued to be annoying and useless to the point of — dare we say it? — sabotage.

Danny’s kitchen also seemed to move more smoothly, though Ramsay said that quality, not speed, counted. Ramsay also said it was the best kitchen service on both sides of any finale, and indeed the cussing, spitting and name-calling were pretty much kept to a minimum. In the end, he awarded the grand prize to Danny, who will work under chef Stephen Kalt at the soon-to-be-opened regional Italian eatery, Fornelletti. Welcome to New Jersey!

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Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
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2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
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