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Daniel "Danny" Veltri was a contestant on Season 5 of Hell's Kitchen. He was the winner of that season and became Sous Chef at Italian restaurant Fornelletto, at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, with a salary of $250,000.


Danny was a downtown-home country boy and a proud redneck, who was also very confident in his abilities as a chef, and while this turned out to be arrogance, he very quickly matured and become among the most consistent chefs of that season, and was generally liked by all of his teammates. Despite some leadership setbacks, he also quickly improved to be the worthy winner of his season. He formed strong friendships with Robert and Giovanni and a closer one with Ben despite some early issues with each other and a friendly rivalry with Paula.

Season 5

Episode 1

During the Signature Dish Challenge, Danny was the sixth person to have his dish judged by Ramsay. He made a Mahi with grilled bananas, which Ramsay thought that he must've gone slightly bananas because he deemed it hideous. He then asked him where the idea came from and Danny admitted that he pulled it out of his ass, which led to Ramsay suggesting he put it back in there because it sucked.

When the teams were lined up, the men revealed their new team name, the "Blues Brothers". During dinner service, Danny was on the fish station. When he sent up an order of scallops, they turned out to be raw and was later chewed out for talking back to Ramsay about it, even getting threatened with elimination. During the power outage, Robert told him to keep his mouth shut and never argue with Ramsay ever again. His team lost the dinner service because of Giovanni's poor performance as a waiter.

He was not nominated for elimination.[1]

Episode 2

During the Scallop Cleaning Challenge, Danny managed to have nine of his ten scallops accepted by Ramsay. His team won the challenge 36-35, and was rewarded with a helicopter tour of Catalina Island along with a submarine ride.

During dinner service, Danny was on the meat station. His first lamb order was praised for being spot on, and his great performance allowed his team to push out entrées. His team won the dinner service.

At elimination, Danny participated in the standing ovation for Ji's departure, along with his teammates and the red team.[2]

Episode 3

During the Meat & Cow Challenge, Danny was not seen participating in it, but his team won the challenge. The blue team flew in a private jet to Sunstone Winery in Santa Ynez, California, where they had a wine tasting and a steak dinner with Ramsay.

During the Steakhouse double dinner service, Danny was on the appetizer station for the first seating and was a waiter for the second. He was not seen much in either seating, but was pissed off in the first seating, when Giovanni and Robert's steaks were sent back raw. His team lost the dinner service.

He was not nominated for elimination.[3]

Episode 4

Before the next challenge, Danny was asked by Ramsay who was the strongest chef on the blue team, which he answered it was himself. During the Football Team & Cheerleaders Breakfast Service Challenge, he was on the pancake station. He was not seen much during this challenge, which his team lost. They were punished by cleaning up the dining room and both kitchens, and prep them for that night’s service. Back in the dorms, Ben blamed him for being slow on the pancakes, but he argued that he was able to help him by sending them to the pass. When J reminded Danny that he said he was the best cook on the blue team, he still stood by that statement. However, Ben argued he was a better chef and that he could not even cook his cock, causing Giovanni to try and defuse the argument. Danny admitted he was cocky but also did not care if he was. While cleaning the kitchens, Robert admitted to him that he did not like how Ben argued with him, and the two of them agreed to take the chance of getting Ben out.

During dinner service, Danny was on the garnish station. After Ben messed up on the red team's sauce, he was forced to make another batch. He got the second batch perfectly, which rose his confidence. When it came to the entrées, he was unresponsive when Ramsay asked for a time on his garnishes, until he was threatened with elimination. Both teams lost the dinner service.

Danny was not nominated for elimination, even though Ben argued that he should have been. After elimination, he and his team welcomed Lacey as a new teammate, not being very happy about it.[4]

Episode 5

During the Asian Fusion Challenge, Danny was paired with Robert on the poultry dish. Their dish was a pad thai bbq chicken, and both judges praised it for the seasoning and the southern inspiration. They won the poultry round, but despite that, the blue team lost the challenge 1-2 and was forced to make fortune cookies and fold origami for the next night's service.

During dinner service, Danny was at the dessert station. He was not featured much during that service, which both teams lost. Giovanni was named "Best of the Worst" for the blue team.

He was not nominated for elimination.[5]

Episode 6

Danny was not seen much during the Bar Mitzvah Planning Challenge, but his team won it 2-1 and went to the Skin Haven spa for a day of relaxation.

During the Bar Mitzvah dinner service, Danny was on the meat station with Lacey. At one point, he sent up a plate of burgers that were dirty at the bottom due to his messy workspace, leading Ramsay to lecture him on properly cleaning his station. His team eventually won the service.[6]

Episode 7

Before the Tapas Leftovers Challenge, Danny and the blue team said goodbye to Giovanni, who has just been transferred to the red team. During the challenge, he made a grilled filet mignon with a wild mushroom ragu, which was praised for tasting great, and ended up tying with Paula. Despite that, the blue team lost the challenge 2-3, and had to prep both kitchens for that night's service and polish the tapa plates. During the punishment, he, along with the rest of his team, got annoyed with Lacey's complaints.

During dinner service, Danny was on the appetizer station. He was not seen much during that service, which the blue team lost. They also lost J during that service. Each member of the team was asked to nominate one person for elimination.

Despite considering Ben for his poor performance, Danny voted for Lacey, and received no votes.[7]

Episode 8

During the Blind Taste Test, Danny was the last person of his team to participate and was tasked to guess the ten ingredients in Ramsay's minestrone soup. Despite correctly guessing the first three, he failed to correctly guess the rest of them, and the blue team lost the challenge 7-8. Their punishment was to serve lunch to the red team and prep both kitchens for that night’s dinner service, much to his dismay as it was the third time he had to do it.

During dinner service, Danny was on the fish station. He was able to send scallops out to Eric McCormick’s table without problems, but when he saw Lacey struggling on the meat station, he went to try and help her. When Lacey was eliminated mid-service, and came back in the kitchen to give her farewells, he and his teammates were unresponsive as they were happy to see her go. After Lacey left, he was relocated to the meat station, and the rest of the team caught up on lost time while demonstrating the best teamwork since the beginning of the season. The blue team won the service by a mile over the red team.[8]

Episode 9

During the King Crab Challenge, Danny's dish was not used first, but after Ben's dish was not up to Ramsay's approval, he was asked to present his dish. He made a poached crab in a Madeira berblance with sautéed celery and fennel, which clinched the blue team's victory after a tough decision. He and his teammates were rewarded with a day a the Santa Monica State Beach with Ramsay for lunch and a Segway ride.

Before dinner service, both teams were tasked to create their own menus. During the menu designing, Danny was not impressed with Ben's idea of a "pomme fondant", and even stated he did not want to hear those words ever again after that night.

During dinner service, Danny was on the appetizer station with Ben. He was not seen much as he did not make the most mistakes, but the blue team lost the service as only 39% of their customers rated their entrées above average, compared to the red team's 54%. Ramsay named him "Best of the Worst", and asked him to nominate one of his teammates for elimination.

Danny eventually decided to nominate Ben, who was eventually joined by Robert. He was shocked when Ramsay announced Carol, from the winning team, to be the one eliminated.[9]

Episode 10

The next morning, before Ramsay introduced the challenge, Danny was asked by him who he thought was the weakest chef on the blue team, which he answered Ben. Instead of eliminating anybody, Ramsay gave all the remaining chefs a black jacket.

During the 14 Ingredients Challenge, Danny made a rosemary roasted chicken with shallots and salad. It was praised for its execution and being easy to eat. Even though his dish was singled out next to Ben's as the best ones, he lost the challenge to the latter and had to participate in Delivery Day. He was angry when Ben did not pick him to go on the reward with, and felt that Ben did it out of spite for choosing him as the weakest of the blue team earlier that morning. 

During dinner service, Danny was at the dessert station. He was not seen much as the service was shut down before the team reached the desserts. After service, Paula was named "Best of the Worst".

Danny was not nominated, and after elimination, Ramsay announced he was shutting down Hell's Kitchen. Then, the episode ended in a cliffhanger.[10]

Episode 11

Continuing from the previous episode, Ramsay announced he was shutting down Hell's Kitchen because the final five would go on a trip to Atlantic City, to visit their potential future employment, the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. When they came back to Hell's Kitchen, Robert, who did not return with them, announced that he would not be back in Hell's Kitchen. Danny gave him an emotional farewell, and hugged him goodbye, along with a standing ovation.

During the Borgata Signature Dish Challenge, Danny made pan-seared scallops with citrus basil champagne sauce and ginger. While Ramsay admitted it did not a creative presentation, it was praised for its flavor and perfectly cooked scallops. Despite that, he lost the challenge to Andrea, but vented, with Ben, that she should not have won due to not cooking anything for her dish.

During dinner service, Danny was on the appetizer station. Because of his strong performance, the team was able to push out appetizers in the first thirty minutes. Later on, he was sent over to help Andrea out on the fish station, but he was irritated by it, as he did not want to babysit the person who won immunity. After service, the final four were asked to nominate two people, apart from Andrea.

He was not nominated for elimination.[11]

Episode 12

Back in the dorms, both Danny and Ben agreed that Andrea should have gone home that night and that she was running out of chances.

During the Taste it Now Make It Challenge, Danny used red snapper, seas scallops, fish stock, and white wine, in an attempt to recreate Ramsay's Italian Fish Stew. He won the challenge as he was the closest to Ramsay's original dish, with the exception of the alcohol. He was rewarded with a biplane ride with Ramsay. On their way to the airfield, Ramsay noted that he matured a lot since the beginning of the competition, and had gotten stronger in the last 3–4 weeks. Danny said it was because he was determined to do well in the culinary industry.

During dinner service, Danny was on the garnish station. He was unresponsive to Ramsay's orders and, while it did slow the kitchen's momentum down, he was able to get a good order of carrot purée up to the pass. He was later seen trying to make new Wellingtons from scratch, along with Paula, after Andrea miscounted them during prep. After service, the team was asked to nominate one person who should be going home.

He was not nominated for elimination.[12]

Episode 13

Immediately after elimination, Danny was surprised to see his father and girlfriend come to visit him, but it sparked his motivation back.

During the 100 Portions Challenge, Danny made a lightly blackened halibut with mango-peach salsa and basmati rice. After it was revealed his dish was the worst, with 76% of the professional chefs hating it, he lost the challenge to Paula. His punishment was to clean the dining room up and reset it for the following night's dinner service while having to participate in Laundry Day with Andrea. During the punishment, he was still disappointed about his loss as he was a strong front-runner until then, but he knew he had to pick himself back from that loss.

During dinner service, Danny was on the meat station. He was the second person to run the pass. He got off to a rough start when he nearly froze on the first ticket and did not notice a missing time mark that Jean-Philippe did not put in until Ramsay told him about it. He also struggled on plating, which slowed momentum down, but he did manage to reject Andrea's overcooked scallops. However, he failed to notice that Sous Chef Gloria sent up raw potatoes until Ramsay pointed it out. Despite these problems, Danny managed to pick it up near the end and got more vocal, leading to more food being sent out to the dining room. After service, Ramsay asked each chef to choose who they thought did not deserve to be in the finals.

Danny and Andrea voted for each other. Instead of being nominated for elimination, he was nominated to not proceed to the finals but he survived and joined Paula in the finals.[13]

Episode 14

After elimination, Danny and Paula were introduced to their final task, which was creating their own restaurant. He would be cooking out of the blue kitchen. Back in the dorms, he and Paula celebrated with champagne, and he admitted he was surprised to get this far despite being the youngest competitor that season. The next morning, he woke up hungover and did not have a clear idea of what he would be doing.

During the restaurant construction, Danny met Hell’s Kitchen architect Jon Janavs to discuss his restaurant ideas. His initial idea of having a wooden fish on the wall was rejected as Janavs did not want it looking like Bob’s Bait Shop. After, he thought about using either “Velvet Hammer”, his old college nickname, or “Susan Marie”, his late mother’s name, as his restaurant name. Later, he discussed his menu ideas with Sous Chef Scott, which was shown to have a few ambitious items. Before leaving for Atlantic City, he reunited with his father and girlfriend and told them his ideas for the restaurant. On the plane trip, Ramsay reminded him of his Mahi Gone grilled bananas at the Signature Dish Challenge, and his rivalry against Paula. At the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, he got in contact with his loved ones and was happy by the progress, especially when he found out some of the compromises they had to make with Janavs.

During the Final Signature Dish Challenge, Danny made his Caribbean jerked lobster tail with lime chili salsa as his first sample dish, a baby arugula salad with crispy skin duck breast and ginger vinaigrette as his second, and a pan-seared filet of beef with twice baked potato and tempura fries as his third. While he lost the first round to Paula, he won the next two, therefore winning the challenge 2-1.

The next day, Danny was reunited with his former teammates, and as part of his reward from the challenge, he was awarded the first pick for his team. He chose Ben as his first pick, Giovanni as his second, and Carol as his third.[14]

Episode 15

Back in the dorms, Danny gave his team a pep talk, while reminding them that he was in charge that night. For his sample dishes, he presented his arugula salad with crispy duck breast appetizer, his eight-ounce pan-seared filet with baked potato entrée, and his cinnamon poached pear with mascarpone mousse dessert. Ramsay warned him about the cooking of the duck as it needed a little bit more pink on the meat, suggested that the tempura spring onion should be cut in half as the whole tempura looked phallic, and noted that his poached pear was undercooked. Later, he showed Ramsay his "Velvet Hammer" restaurant, though Ramsay was a little concerned as it was looking a little intimidating.

During dinner service, Danny called out his first ticket strongly, which caused his team to communicate with each other. Later, he gave Carol a sizzling pan so the lobster would not be boiled, and continually asked her for the lobster. He was able to get his entrées out at a great pace but slowed down after Giovanni sent up a salty sauce of the monkfish, and when he asked Giovanni for a time on the refire, the latter did not respond. Despite that, he continued to push out entrées to the dining room and managed to finish before Paula. While clearing down, he was visited by his father and girlfriend who congratulated him on a job well done.

Later that evening, Danny, along with Paula, went to Ramsay's office, where he was praised for his growth in the competition. After that, he stood in front of a door, knowing it would open only if he was the winner. After waiting nervously for Ramsay's countdown to end, he turned the handle and his door opened, making him the winner of Hell’s Kitchen. He won his own restaurant at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, in Atlantic City, with a salary of $250,000. He teared up as his deceased mother could not see him win, but knew she was looking down on him from heaven, extremely proud. Later on, he was introduced to the previous winners of Hell's Kitchen Michael (Season 1), Heather (Season 2), Rock (Season 3), and Christina (Season 4). He also hung his portrait on the newly revealed Hell's Kitchen "Wall of Fame".

Ramsay's comment: "Danny won Hell's Kitchen because in a very short period of time, he grew more than any other chef I've ever seen. He now has the talent, the maturity, to become a great head chef. Borgata Resort should consider themselves lucky. I know I would." [14]

Nomination history

Week 1 Safe
Week 2 Win
Week 3 Safe
Week 4 Safe
Week 5 Safe
Week 6 Win
Week 7 Safe
Week 8 Win
Week 9 BoW
Week 10 Safe
Week 11 Safe
Week 12 Safe
Week 13 Safe
Finale Winner

Season 6

Episode 15

Aside from fellow winner Heather who was a sous chef that season, Danny came back for the finale, along with Michael (Season 1 winner), Rock (Season 3 winner), and Christina (Season 4 winner). He was seen when Ramsay introduced the recently crowned winner Dave to them, and he saw the unveiling of the Hell's Kitchen "Wall of Fame".[15]

Season 8

Episode 8

Danny came back for the 100th dinner service of Hell's Kitchen. He ate at the red team's chefs table, along with Season 7 winner Holli.[16]

Post Hell's Kitchen

  • After his appearance on the show, he took the position as a Sous Chef at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, but left after a couple of months.
  • Danny started his own catering company called Back From Hell Catering, a reference to his time on the show, before moving to Gnarly Surf Bar & Grill, which he helped open with other investors.
  • Danny was arrested in 2012 for drunk driving.[17]


  • He is the second winner not to be nominated in the traditional sense following dinner service, but he was the only one nominated on why he should not be in the finale. However, since the nomination doesn't count, he remained safe from being nominated for elimination throughout the entire season.
  • At age 23, he is the youngest contestant to make it to the finale, and the youngest winner in the history of Hell's Kitchen.
  • He has the most instances announcing the nominees in Season 5, with 3, being called to announce them once, being involved in a vote once, and being "Best of the Worst" once. He is the third winner with this title and the first to have all types of nominee announcements.
  • He and Paula are the second pair of finalists to come from the same state (Florida), following Heather and Virginia (Season 2).
  • He is the first winner who hung his portrait on the Hell's Kitchen "Wall of Fame", which was introduced that season, themselves.


  • "I just pulled it out of my ass, sir."
  • "I'm not a hero, I never said I was."
  • "I am obviously the best cook on the team."
  • "A lot of chefs get up here and say, "this is all they know how to do". Well you know what, fuck that Chef, this is all I wanna do."
  • "I have a big mouth and I'm surprised Chef Ramsay didn't throw me off the line."
  • "Ben is all about these fancy terms or whatever, but I guess it's not even a pomme fondant."
  • "Dinner service didn't go well at all.....But at least we got all the food out."


Season 5

Season 8

External links


  1. (January 29, 2009). "Episode 501 - 16 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 1.
  2. (February 5, 2009). "Episode 502 - 15 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 2.
  3. (February 19, 2009). "Episode 503 - 14 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 3.
  4. (February 26, 2009). "Episode 504 - 13 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 4.
  5. (March 5, 2009). "Episode 505 - 12 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 5.
  6. (March 12, 2009). "Episode 506 - 11 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 6.
  7. (March 19, 2009). "Episode 507 - 10 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 7.
  8. (March 26, 2009). "Episode 508 - 9 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 8.
  9. (April 2, 2009). "Episode 509 - 7 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 9.
  10. (April 9, 2009). "Episode 510 - 6 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 10.
  11. (April 16, 2009). "Episode 511 - 5 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 11.
  12. (April 23, 2009). "Episode 512 - 4 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 12.
  13. (April 30, 2009). "Episode 513 - 3 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 13.
  14. 14.0 14.1 (May 7, 2009). "Episode 514 - 2 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 5. Episode 14.
  15. (October 13, 2009). "Episode 615 - 2 Chefs Compete". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 6. Episode 15.
  16. (October 13, 2010). "Episode 808 - 9 Chefs Compete Part 2". Hell's Kitchen (U.S. TV series). Season 8. Episode 8.
Hell's Kitchen Season 5

Gordon Ramsay (Head Chef) • Scott Leibfried (Blue Team Sous Chef) • Gloria Felix (Red Team Sous Chef) • Jean-Philippe Susilovic (Maître d'hôtel)


Coi BurrussJi-Hyun ChaColleen CleekLacey D'AngeloPaula DaSilvaGiovanni FilipponeAndrea HeinlyRobert HesseWil KocolSeth LevineAlicia "LA" LimtiacoJason "J" MaxwellCharlie McKayCarol ScottDaniel "Danny" VeltriBenjamin "Ben" Walanka

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