Paulie Giganti, a contestant on Season 16 of “Hell’s Kitchen,” was found dead in his Philadelphia home on Thursday. He was 36.
James Garrow, spokesman for the Philadelphia Medical Examiner's office, confirmed his cause of death, telling Philly.com, “It is an accidental death by drug intoxication.”
The ME’s office did not release the type of drug or drugs used.
The reality star and Brooklyn native was the former chef at Philadelphia’s Birra restaurant. The owner, Gordon Dinerman, told Philly.com that they mutually chose to part ways in November.
“I’ll miss him,” he said, while adding that Birra owed some of its success to Giganti’s cooking. "He brought a consistency to our product, which is why we are still around,” Dinerman said. He also acknowledged Giganti was “definitely a personality, which is how he got on TV.”
It is with a heavy heart that we celebrate the life and mourn passing of Paulie Giganti. 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.
Giganti never went to cooking school and told My Take on TV, “I was going to be an engineer. I just wanted to see how I stacked up against other guys, like 'school-y' guys and other people.”
He went on to say that being on the show and being “critiqued by world-renowned chefs" was “life-affirming.”