'Hell’s Kitchen' Contestant Paulie Giganti Found Dead From Overdose

By Bryan Le 04/24/17

The 36-year-old chef had made it into the top five of the competitive cooking show's recent season before being eliminated.

Gordon Ramsay and Paulie Giganti on Hell's Kitchen
Paulie, who made it to the show's final rounds, watches Ramsay work. Photo via

Paulie Giganti, a chef who competed on the cooking show Hell’s Kitchen, was found dead in his apartment last Thursday after neighbors reported a foul smell. The cause of death was determined to be an accidental drug overdose.

“It was accidentally death by drug intoxication,” Jim Garrow, Public Information Officer of the Philadelphia Medical Examiner, tells Radar.

But although authorities have already determined the cause of death, they will not yet release any information about what drugs in particular were in Giganti’s system at the time of his death.

“Toxicology usually takes longer,” Garrow said. “But sometimes we are able to do a urine drug screen. In this case we were able to determine [the cause of death] from the urine screen.”

A precise time of death has yet to be determined.

The 36-year-old chef was featured during season 16 of Hell’s Kitchen, a competitive cooking show hosted by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. Competitors work in Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant kitchen, overcoming challenges in hopes of winning a head chef position at a Las Vegas restaurant and a $250,000 cash prize. Giganti made it into the top five before being eliminated from the show.

Giganti was a self-taught cook who had originally planned on becoming an engineer. While working in a restaurant during college, Giganti met a chef who mentored him.

“I got into a little bit of a trouble … and I had a chef, who was working at the restaurant who said, look, kid, you’ve got a little talent for this. You can keep ripping and running and hit that jail cell, or you can do something that you’ll always find work,” Giganti said. “He kind of took me under his wing, showed me a [few] things. I just worked diligently for him, and it was just a job that I had that I enjoyed. I figured out that I was actually good at it, and then, so the story goes.”

Back in September, Giganti talked to MyTakeOnTV about his decision to enter the cooking competition. "As a life experience, I figured when I’m 65 years old, and sitting at the bar stool, what stories am I going to have to tell? I figured it would be a good life experience. I don’t think I’d ever do it again, you know what I mean, but I think it was good for the one time. I enjoyed it; it was an experience for life.”

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter