Dave Levey was a contestant on Season 6 of Hell's Kitchen. He was the winner of that season, and was rewarded with a Head Chef position at the Araxi Restaurant & Bar, in Whistler, British-Columbia, Canada, with a salary of $250,000, to welcome the world for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
Very early in the competition, Dave suffered a fracture on his left wrist, but lasted through the entire competition. He was affectionately nicknamed "One-Armed Bandit" by Ramsay, braving the immense pain while coming to the blue team's rescue on many occasions, even where they were a man less than the red team. He never used his disability as an excuse for messing up, and is considered by some people to be better with one arm than some other chefs with two.
Season 6 Edit
After receiving some tips from Jean-Philippe and former Hell's Kitchen contestants, Ramsay ordered all the chefs to cook their signature dishes.
Before tasting the signature dishes, Ramsay announced that for the first time ever, the Signature Dish Challenge would occur as a regular team challenge, with each contestant going head-to-head. Dave was the first person from the blue team to have his dish judged by Ramsay, and went up against Suzanne. When he tasted her risotto, he described it having a chalky texture. After that, he presented his ostrich with pan seared Brussel sprouts. Ramsay liked the cooking of the ostrich as well as its seasoning, but found the Brussel sprouts undercooked. Because of that mistake, he did not score a point, neither did Suzanne, and said he was heartbroken because Ramsay did not like his dish.
The blue team won the challenge 3-2, and they were rewarded with a dinner on the Hell's Kitchen patio, where they ate dishes from Ramsay's London West Hollywood, in Los Angeles. The next morning, because they drank too much and did not study the menu, the men were slow to do their prep. At one point, Dave was asked by Jim where was the pesto on one of the recipes, which neither of them could find, even when they got their heads closer to the book.
During dinner service, Dave was on the garnish station with Joseph. He was not seen much, except at one point when Jim sent the wrong number of scallops to the pass, saying he should not insult Ramsay's intelligence, and at another when he rallied behind Louie, who was struggling on the meat station, where he gave instructions on how to sear his lamb. After Louie's elimination, Ramsay shut down the service.
When the teams were lined up, Robert joined the blue team, and Ramsay declared the blue team winners for serving a few entrées out, compared to the red team's zero. At elimination, Dave and his teammates said goodbye to Robert, who was just integrated on the red team.
While being dismissed, Dave was worried because he knew Robert was strong and could make the red team win over the blue team.
The next morning, both teams got down in the blue kitchen, where Ramsay introduced the Shrimp Cleaning Challenge. Dave was the fifth person from the blue team to have his shrimps judged by Ramsay, and scored only 4 points. Despite that, the blue team won the challenge 45-44, and they were rewarded with a day at Newport Beach for a lunch of seafood, shrimps and raw bar with Ramsay, and a dessert on a 40-foot mega yacht.
During the reward, Dave said it was nice to go out with Ramsay and not being yelled at by him. Later, he was irritated by Joseph's behavior, saying he was hot-headed and intense in the way he was disrespecting Ramsay. On the yacht, he declared he would not want to lose anymore if that was what winning was like.
During dinner service, Dave was on the dessert station. He was not seen much, except at one point when he declared he did not want to take charge of the fish station, which was going down in flames. Later, when he acknowledged the end of the service was a desperate time and that everybody would go home, Ramsay ordered both teams to send shrimp cocktails in the dining room, and shut down both kitchens.
Both teams were named joint-losers, and they were asked to nominate two people each for elimination. During deliberation, Dave declared that the fish and meat stations were the biggest problem, adding that he would put himself up if he had been on meat.
Dave was not nominated for elimination, which was delayed until the following episode because of the infamous Joseph incident.
After Joseph's departure and Tony's elimination, Dave and his teammates welcomed Robert, who has just been transferred to the blue team as they were two men down. Back in the dorms, he told his team to forget what just happened with Joseph.
The chefs went to bed, trying to get some sleep, but very early in the night, alarm bells started to go, Sous Chef Scott, holding a flashlight, told everybody to get out of the restaurant immediately as an emergency was called. Then, fire trucks arrived to Hell's Kitchen and the chefs got outside. But, Ramsay was standing with the firefighters, revealing that it was a fire drill. He introduced the Firefighter Pasta Meal Service Challenge, and all the chefs got back in the dorms to change. During the challenge, Dave was not seen much, except when he revealed his pasta were perfectly al dente despite Andy not being ready with the garlic bread.
The blue team lost the challenge, and they were punished by cleaning the fire trucks left by the firefighters, as well as their equipment, and they would continue by cleaning the dining room inside. Arrived outside, Dave, along with Jim, Andy, and Van, was dedicated at cleaning the trucks. At one point, he got his left hand stuck inside the truck, and he yanked it out, feeling it was already swelling, but he did not want his teammates to know about his injury, and continued to clean the truck in pain. During the second part, he asked Kevin for an ice pack for a wrist, a medic checked his wrist, and he told her that it was hurting a lot, being worried that he could be forced to leave the competition. Him and Kevin were transported to the hospital before the end of the punishment. When he came back from the hospital along with Kevin, he revealed he had a torn FCR and a slight fracture, but he added that he was a tough guy and that he could take the pain.
When both teams were lined up before service the following day, Ramsay asked Dave how was his wrist, which he answered it was okay. After that, Ramsay announced that one member from each team would become waiters, and he immediately volunteered as he did not want to hold his team back because of his injury. He was given the nickname "One-armed bandit" by Ramsay. During dinner service, he did his job as a waiter without being seen much. Near the end, he went to the kitchen and told his teammates that both teams were neck-and-neck. The blue team won the service for having a 83% above average rating from the customers, compared to the red team's 81%.
During the Sausage Strings Challenge, Dave was paired with Kevin. Together, they got two sausage links approved. However, the blue team lost the challenge 4-6, and they were punished by cleaning up the dorms, which included the bathrooms, carpet, and kitchen.
During prep, Dave complained about how much pain he was in, but still wanted to push through it, while waiting for the doctors to find out what was going on with his wrist. Then, Sous Chef Scott told him that the doctor was on the phone with the results, and he headed back to the dorms to take the call. Unfortunately, he learned that he had a fractured wrist, would have to wear a cast for two weeks, meaning he would not have any use of his left thumb, and that it would be very difficult for him to continue in the competition. After the call, he was crushed that his dream would be over, and had no idea what to do. So, he went to Ramsay’s office, and told Ramsay about the news. Ramsay knew that it would be a great shame for him to leave now, but pointed out that the injury was only on his weakest hand, and asked if he would stay. After deliberating, he answered that he would stay and push through it, a decision Ramsay agreed with. Before leaving to get his cast on, he went to the blue kitchen, and told his teammates what was going on.
When Dave came back during the middle of dinner service sporting a cast on his left arm, Ramsay assigned him to the dessert station. He got to work fast, and pushed out his first order of desserts quickly, something Ramsay took notice of. The blue team won the service.
Back in the dorms, Dave knew that he was at a disadvantage as his left thumb was immobilized due to his cast, and even struggled to try and get a chicken pot pie wrapper open. Amanda asked if she could help him, but he said that he had to do things himself with only one arm, though he dropped the package on the floor, much to Van and Suzanne’s amusement.
During the Welcome Home Planning Challenge, Dave was not seen much, but the blue team won the challenge 2-1, and they were rewarded with a day of flying in fighter jets.
During the Welcome Home dinner service, Dave was on the garnish station. At one point, Andy offered him his help, but he said that he was doing fine, and helped serving another entrée to the dining room. When the blue team went to the red kitchen to help the women out, he noticed that the red team was in shambles. The blue team won the service by a mile over the red team.
During the 700 Calories Challenge, Dave paired with Andy on the dessert, and his attempt to add sugar in their filling was rejected. During the judging, he presented the blue team's egg white crepe with a fruit compote filling and blackberry yogurt cream, which caused Ramsay to chuckle at the minimalistic presentation, and it was criticized for tasting foul, while Ramsay stated that he would serve that to someone who just came out of a heart bypass. The blue team lost the challenge 1-3, and they were punished by collecting the ingredients for the red team's dishes at a supermarket on a conference bike, and prepping both kitchens for the next service. During the punishment, he got concerned over Robert's health problems when the latter left for the hospital.
During dinner service, Dave was on the garnish station. He got caught by Sous Chef Scott for cooking the wrong garnishes, and blamed himself for spacing out. Later, he had a minor spat with Kevin over the garnish timings. Both teams were named joint-losers, and they were asked to nominate one person each.
He was not nominated for elimination.
During the Craps Challenge, Dave got concerned when the red team's ingredients were working well. He rolled an F and chose figs. During the challenge, he prepped the figs, and to his and the team's surprise, they worked well with the tomato sauce. The blue team won the challenge, and they were rewarded with a trip to Las Vegas, where they stayed at the Palms Casino & Resort, in the Hardwood Suite.
When the blue team came back from their reward, Dave noticed that Robert was still not back. During prep, he and the rest of the blue team were not happy to see the latter returning.
During dinner service, Dave was on the appetizer station. He welcomed the chefs table, and promised that he would make sure the two of them would have a great night. His risottos were accepted, and the chefs table enjoyed them. The blue team eventually lost the service, but he was named "Best of the Worst" as he got the blue team off to a strong start on appetizers.
Back in the dorms, Dave told Tennille and Van that he thought Robert was a strong chef compared to Andy, and knew that if Andy would be nominated one more time, it would be his last, which Van agreed.
During the Blind Taste Test, Dave was the second person from the blue team to compete, and went up against Suzanne. He could only guess turkey correctly, and the blue team lost the challenge 4-6. They were punished by making palate cleansing sorbet for the next service, as well as cleaning the sorbet glasses and taking in deliveries of fruit. During the punishment, he found out that the berries were all in one container and had to pick them for organization. Then, he complained about the smoothie that was made from duck and risotto, and bluntly stated that duck was not supposed to be drank.
During dinner service, Dave was on the fish station. When Andy ran out of mashed potatoes, he grabbed more potatoes from the pantry room, and began making a fresh batch. Later, he managed to bring the mashed potatoes to the pass, and the blue team managed to serve all of their remaining entrées. The blue team won the service, and Ramsay singled him out for having the best overall performance, while he was urged not to stop.
During the Crepe Challenge, Dave went up against Sabrina in the dessert round, and served a cream cheese and mixed berry crepe. However, both Ramsay and Jean-Philippe were shocked at the poor presentation, with Ramsay comparing the look to diarrhea, and refused to taste it. Because of that, he lost the round to Sabrina, and the blue team lost the challenge 2-3. They were punished by prepping both kitchens for the next service, and eating boiled cow tongue, stale baguette, and head cheese for lunch. During the punishment, he apologized to his team for costing them the challenge, and almost threw up over the cow tongue's smell.
During prep, Dave expressed concern over Andy's well being after the latter got his fingers sliced on the mandolin, and believed that the blue team may not see Andy for a while. During dinner service, he was on the meat station. He decided to help Andy on the first order of risottos, and because of that, he got the team off to a fast start. Later, when Andy needed help again, he worked both Andy's station and his own at a fast pace, but it did not let either one off once. At that point, he was handling two servings of risotto, one tagliatelle, one lamb, and one steak by himself. Despite the difficulty, all of his dishes were accepted, and Ramsay told him that he was ten thousand times better with one hand as the blue diners received their entrées and appetizers. Both teams were named joint-losers, and they were asked to nominate two people for elimination together. Back in the dorms, he said that Suzanne had to go as everyone hated her.
Dave was not nominated for elimination, and later, he welcomed Suzanne as a new teammate, much to his dismay.
During the Fifteen Canadian Ingredient Challenge, Dave was the second person from the blue team to present their entrée, and made a rack of venison with a cranberry sauce and beet carpaccio. It was criticized for having a scary looking sauce, and he lost the round to Tennille. Despite that, the blue team won the challenge 4-2, and they were rewarded with a day at Campanile, and got Whistler beanies that Ramsay picked up on his trip, with Ramsay jokingly stating that he needed a clean one. After the reward, he set his mind back to full gear as he knew that nothing in Hell’s Kitchen was predictable.
During dinner service, Dave was on the appetizer station. At one point, he lifted a heavy pan, and aggravated his left wrist. In a lot of pain, he went to the back store to see a medic, and while he explained that he could move his fingers, they sent pain to his injured wrist when he did so. While he was experiencing a lot of pain, he refused to quit, went back to the kitchen, and immediately got to work, much to Kevin’s praise, while his bisque was accepted. Both teams were named joint-losers, and they were asked to nominate one person each.
He was not nominated for elimination.
The next day, Dave and the rest of the chefs received their black jackets. During the Taste It Now Make It Challenge, he was paired with Suzanne, although he was not happy about that. They used turbot, calamari, parsnip, and passion fruit to recreate Ramsay's dish, and ultimately, they won the challenge as they got every component correct, except for the purée. They were rewarded with lunch at Ramsay's London West Hollywood, along with Season 4 winner Christina. While he was not happy to share that reward with Suzanne, he decided to make the best of it. While going to the restaurant, he asked what to do for black jacket services, and Ramsay reminded him and Suzanne that while they were still cooking as a team, they had to focus on the individual aspect. During lunch, all of his attempts to talk with Christina failed as Suzanne was constantly talking over him.
When Dave came back for prep, he asked if anyone needed help, but got cold shoulders from them. Then, he knew that everyone was gunning for him. During dinner service, he was on the dessert station. When he noticed Ariel was struggling on the garnish station, he went over to help, and despite noticing that she looked defeated, her garnishes made it up to the pass. He was one of the three people that were not kicked out, and along with Kevin and Tennille, he completed service. When the three of them were lined up, Ramsay asked them to nominate two people out of the three that were kicked out.
Back in the dorms, Dave confronted Tennille for changing her mind and getting Van eliminated, and not only decided not to trust her, but called her a bitch, saying that she did not deserve to be there anymore. That led to an argument between the two of them that ended when he left the room.
During the Presentation Challenge, Dave made a rack of lamb with fingerling potatoes. Also, he criticized Suzanne's dish as a salad was not what the Bon Appétit staff were looking for, and did it as well for Tennille's dish as he compared her poor presentation to garbage. However, he struggled to describe his dish to the judges as he was not working well with crowds, and lost the challenge as his dish was only the third best looking. He was punished by cleaning up an adopted road, and the front entrance of Hell's Kitchen. He did not like the fact he had to spend time with Tennille, and later, he got annoyed by her constant complaints. While sweeping the front, his fractured wrist started to swell up, and he put ice on it. However, the pain continued to torture him as he lied on the bed groaning. Kevin came to check on him, and told him that he needed to think of himself, but he knew that Kevin wanted to see him gone, and chose to stay.
During dinner service, Dave was on the appetizer and dessert stations. When he asked Tennille on any additions on the menu, he was called a fucking idiot by her. Despite that, he was able to send his first order, and later, he was pushing his appetizers out as Ramsay was forced to send incomplete tables. On the risotto incident, he said that while it was Kevin who screwed up the rice, Tennille should have realized that the rice was overcooked herself. Also, he called the service a disaster as everybody was performing poorly. When the chefs were lined up, they were asked to nominate two people.
Dave was not nominated for elimination, and after Suzanne left, he said that the competition was going to get cutthroat.
Back in the dorms, Dave told Ariel that she was a talented chef despite her poor performance. The next day, he woke up early to give himself a pep talk, and during the mini Ramsay rant, he was informed that if he was a horse, he would have been shot long ago.
During the 80 Vegetarian Portions Challenge, Dave made a polenta tower with goat cheese and roasted peppers. He rejected Ariel's offer to help, but groaned when he lifted a heavy pot with his bad wrist. Then, he went to the pantry room to calm himself down, and refused to show weakness. When it was revealed that he would be serving to children, he was horrified as he was not working well with them, and served his dishes by making them think it was a sandwich, hoping that they would eat it, while selling himself out. His dish was the second best, and he lost the round to Tennille. He was punished by cleaning up the dining room. Back in the dorms, he, along with Kevin, wondered how Tennille's dish beat theirs as he believed Tennille may not have what it was taking to run the Araxi. During the punishment, he took some candy from the ground for himself.
During prep, Dave was unimpressed with Tennille's makeover. During dinner service, he was on the meat station. He got his lamb sliced, but then, he lifted the pan with his bad wrist and almost collapsed in pain. Then, he went to the back store as Ramsay followed him, with the latter admitting that he was watching him out of concern as he was sweating, looking dizzy and out of breath. Ramsay directed him to the medic, and after a quick check up, he returned and got his lamb approved by Ramsay. Later, he compared Tennille's poorly seared sea bass to a shriveled up piece of leather.
When the chefs were lined up, Ramsay told Dave that he has never seen a chef suffer in pain like he did, and was very concerned that he may not be able to continue in the competition. However, he responded that he could still pull through, and stated that his right hand was still strong, while begging Ramsay not to eliminate him because of an injury. Ramsay allowed him to stay, but warned him that he would be watched carefully. After, he said goodbye to Tennille as she was eliminated on-the-spot. Before the final three could celebrate their milestone with some champagne, Ramsay called them over for some unfinished business. In the dining room, while Ramsay admitted that he wondered if he made the right decision of keeping him around, he said that he knew he did, and then, he received visit from his fiancé and sister.
During the International Cuisine Challenge, Dave was the second person to choose his country, and got India, a choice he was not happy about as he never worked with Indian food before, though Ramsay told him not to get too intimidated by it. While cooking his dish, he decided to make a dish he knew already while adding an Indian flair, but admitted that he had no idea what he was doing. Fifteen minutes in, he struggled to pick what protein to use as he did not want to use one that was sacrilegious in the Indian culture, but in the end, he decided to use pork. He made a seared pork tenderloin with ming bean purée, but guest judge Vikas Khanna revealed that pork was not a good choice of protein as there was a lot of Muslims in India, and would have preferred either chicken or seafood. Despite that, the dish was praised for the spices working well together and having the lentils done creatively. In the end, he won the challenge, and was rewarded with a special lunch cooked by the guest judges, with his fiancée and his sister, and received a complete set of Demeyere cookware, which was the same used in Hell’s Kitchen. During lunch, he felt that it was an honor to eat some of the judges' dishes, and called it the best reward yet. After lunch, he went back to the dorms, and reminded himself that his next service would be his most important yet.
During dinner service, Dave was on the appetizer station. He was the second person who ran the pass, and not only called his first ticket with authority, but was very aggressive with his orders, until Sous Chef Scott warned him to watch it. Despite that, food was leaving the kitchen and the diners were happy with it. He failed to notice Sous Chef Scott's quality control test, but Ramsay stopped and reminded him to taste everything. Then, he failed another quality test from Sous Chef Scott, and a frustrated Ramsay pulled him aside, and he was warned that he was not focusing before ordering to get a grip. Then, he realized that he had to stay in control, and noticed that the tuna Sous Chef Scott sent out was cold. After, he rejected Sous Chef Heather’s garnishes for not having salt, and Ramsay praised the improvement from him. He continued to rally as diners were enjoying their entrées. When the chefs were lined up, they were asked to nominate one person who they think were not deserving to be in the finals.
Dave nominated Ariel as he felt more lost while she was running the pass, and did not receive any votes. When asked why he deserved to be in the finals, he said that he led himself through the competition and grew tenfold. He was the first person who advanced to the finals, and was eventually joined by Kevin. After Ariel left, Ramsay congratulated him, and reminded both of them that there was one more challenge for them to face. Then, Ramsay revealed that there was a limo waiting for them outside, and the episode ended as a cliffhanger.
Continuing from the previous episode, Ramsay revealed that for the final service, Dave and Kevin would be creating their own menus, with him cooking in the blue kitchen. After, he and Kevin got changed, and headed off in a limousine to an unknown hotel, in downtown Los Angeles, where Jean-Philippe was waiting for them. Then, Jean-Philippe told them that they would be heading to the roof of the hotel to meet Ramsay, and then, Ramsay told them that their final challenge was about to start, before introducing them to a live audience.
For the Final Tasting Challenge, Dave made a rack of venison with a sour cream and chive parsnip purée, and felt he was putting his ass on the line. He received three votes, and eventually won the challenge 3-2 over Kevin.
The next day, Dave put his menu together, and decided to go with a simpler menu so his night would not go badly. Later, he reunited with his former teammates and, because he won the previous challenge, was rewarded with the first pick. He chose Ariel as his first pick, Robert as his second, and Suzanne as his third.
During prep, Dave's team already picked up his simpler menu, with Robert praising him for making that decision. For his sample dishes, he made a wild mushroom risotto appetizer, a roasted loin of venison entrée, and a dark chocolate mousse dessert. While Ramsay noticed how simple and pedestrian his menu was, he got reminded that he had to explode as he was in the finals. Before service began, Ramsay gave him a Head Chefs jacket.
When service began, Dave called his first ticket, and pushed Robert to get the first table of appetizers out. It worked, and he called Robert his ace in the hole. Then, Robert told him that they were running out of mushrooms, and when Ramsay noticed that Robert's next order of risotto's had fewer mushrooms, he said that he told Robert not to go crazy on the mushrooms, and that he would have never sent them out. Later, he rejected Ariel's venison as it was well done instead of medium, and he refused to send imperfect food, but accepted her refire. Near the end of service, he was only four tickets away from finishing, but after Ariel's gray venison and raw salmon, Ramsay told him that he could not compare his team to friends anymore. So, he sent Robert to help Ariel, and because of that, he was able to get his last few tables out, and told his team that he was very proud of them.
After service, Dave wondered if he had the same performance as Kevin. Later, he and Kevin were called into Ramsay's office, and he was asked to stand 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.
Dave became the winner of Hell’s Kitchen, and he won the Head Chef postilion at the Araxi Restaurant & Bar, with a salary of $250,000. He was in a state of shock, and celebrated with his sister and fiancée, while noticing that he fought through a lot of pain during his time, and was happy to have earned Ramsay’s respect. Sous Chef Heather welcomed him to the club when he hung his portrait on the Hell’s Kitchen Wall of Fame.
Ramsay's comment: "Dave has a very natural ability and a very sophisticated palate. He fought through excruciating pain and excelled, and went on to win Hell's Kitchen. He's gonna be an amazing asset to the Araxi Restaurant & Bar in Whistler, and I'd like to wish him the best of luck. Honestly, I don't think he'll need it."
Season 10 Edit
Season 11 Edit
- During the opening sequence of the first episode, he was featured last, holding and blowing on a torch. From the second episode onwards, Robert took his place, and he was featured between Tek and Tennille.
- He participated in the second all-male finals of Hell's Kitchen.
- He is the sixth winner, and third male winner of Hell's Kitchen.
- He is the third winner who completely avoided nomination throughout the entire season, following Michael (Season 1), and Heather (Season 2).
- He is the first contestant ever to win the competition despite a physical disability.
- After his appearance on the show, he worked at the Araxi Restaurant until the end of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, as it turned out to be a line cook position instead of head chef as expected. In 2011, he was a guest speaker during the Appalachian Trail Conservancy’s membership drive as he hiked 2,180 miles of the Appalachian Trail in 2005. On 2014, he was arrested as part of a drug bust. Currently, he is in Nashville helping his sister with her musical career.
- "If Chef Ramsay takes my dish and tells me its crap, I think it could seriously do a permanent mental damage to me."
- "Brussel sprouts, HAAAAAAAA!!! It's like heartbreaking that he didn't like that."
- "Don't insult Chef Ramsay's intelligence."
- "You're not supposed to drink duck."
- "At this point, Andy is dangling off the edge of a cliff by a dandelion."