PHILADELPHIA – A chef who competed on the reality TV cooking show “Hell’s Kitchen” was found dead in his Philadelphia home on Thursday.
Paulie Giganti died of an accidental drug overdose, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was 36. The Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s office did not say what drug was involved.
Giganti competed on the Fox reality show’s 16th season last year. He had worked as a chef for five years at a South Philadelphia restaurant called Birra.
“It is with a heavy heart that we celebrate the life and mourn passing of Paulie Giganti,” the restaurant said in a Facebook post Friday.
“Paulie came to us as a line cook and eventually elevated to executive chef. His care for our kitchen was only exceeded by his personality and love of life. We would not be the restaurant we are today with Chef Paulie’s efforts.
“Our heart and condolences go out to his family and friends here in Philly, Pittsburgh, and of course, Brooklyn.”
Police officers were called to Giganti’s home by a neighbor who smelled a foul odor, according to TMZ.
Arriving officers found the door wide open and his body sprawled on the floor of his bedroom.
“I’ll miss him,” said Gordon Dinerman, the owner of Birra. “He brought a consistency to our product which is why we are still around. We did a little bit better than a lot of people because of him.”