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A comeback never seen before in Top Chef, an inimitable laugh and unfailing positivity: if Danny did not win season 14 of the cooking competition, he will undeniably have left his mark. “I think that I have had an atypical path like my life and I find that it represents well what I experienced from starting at the bottom to arriving at the top. It’s funny because it’s a real parallel with my life. I won’t change anything,” the young man tells us during an interview.

Eliminated in the second week, Danny was able to re-enter the competition thanks to the hidden brigade, a parallel competition directed that season by Hélène Darroze. If a priori, there was little chance that the candidate would return to the quarter-finals, he managed to beat the candidates one by one, unheard of in the competition.

Every week, the public waited impatiently to see if they would succeed in winning the duel of the week again. Eventually, with each new challenge, Danny knocked out all his opponents. He then became the outsider of the hidden brigade and thus reached the final against Hugo Riboulet. If he did not win, he left his mark on the competition. Everyone remembers Danny Khezzar.

Exactly one year after his participation, what has become of this emblematic candidate? Between cooking and media craze, how did the young chef approach this new life. Encounter.

“Top Chef, it kind of clicked for me. I put a lot more emotion on the plate”

Danny Khezzar admits it himself, nothing predestined him for cooking and yet… “I thought I would end up in rap, but destiny pulled me towards the kitchen. He (destiny, editor’s note) wants me to be a cook. There is a star above that wants me to be a cook and nothing else.”

It is undoubtedly this lucky star that leads him to Top Chef. The show which will reveal him to the general public and which will serve as a real booster in his career as a chef: “It was definitely a life change. It’s always been a lot of work, it’s just that now more people know about it”.

A real turning point in the DNA of its cuisine. From now on, he cooks above all that he is: “The competition gave me maturity in my profession. Before Top Chef, I was a very technical person and I didn’t have that emotional side on the plate. After Top Chef, it kind of clicked for me. I put a lot more emotion on the plate. I put a part of me and that’s what changes everything in terms of the dishes. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves after Top Chef, a lot of work. I tried to develop my cooking as much as possible”.

“Then afterward, it was just crazy”

When Top Chef comes out, the challenge is significant. For Danny, there is no question of breathing. On the contrary, it’s now that it all begins: “Then afterward it was just crazy. It’s super hard because it was ultra-physical, even more physical than before Top Chef. It was just crazy”. Danny notably enjoys significant media coverage. The cook rubs shoulders with the media and thus carries out interviews with journalists. Everyone wants to have the feeling of this finalist with such an atypical journey. A not easy exercise for the young man: “It was a little hard because every day I had interviews and I felt like I was repeating the same things a lot. But it was intense.”

But this chef’s positivity never leaves him. If cameras were almost omnipresent when it was released, he puts things into perspective, again and again: “Here I am someone who has lots of energy, who is extremely happy to be alive. I don’t mind doing lots of interviews, being in the media. Knock on wood but there have only been positive things. There hasn’t been any negativity yet. For now, I’m living it well”.

“It was the start of a long marathon”

A year ago, we met Danny Khezzar after his exit from Top Chef. In this interview published on April 26, 2023, to the question “What are your plans for the future?”the young man replied: “For the future, I will become chef in the restaurant in which I currently work in Geneva. It’s taking back the reins of the restaurant, I really like that. I’m really happy and proud at my age. Afterwards for other projects, perhaps the opening of pop-up restaurants or collaborations with brands. I remain quite open but here I am focused on taking over the restaurant in Geneva”. A more than successful mission for the young man.

He confides that for him, “everything came together”. Indeed, many projects awaited it upon its release: “I had to take over the reins of the restaurant, the Bayview in Geneva. I had the pressure to keep the star, the 18/20 at Gault et Millau. I knew all the journalists were going to come and eat. It was the start of a long marathon” Danny explains. “I didn’t realize it. It’s like you take your head out of the water a little and you discover all this. It was just great, it came together straight away. Lots and lots of events. A lot of brands called me. There were lots of things.”

From Dior to PSG via the muse of Mercedes, the life of this cook takes on another dimension. If before Top Chef, the young man, who was already a little exposed, had already landed a few partnerships with different brands, everything accelerated and amplified after his participation in the show: “I was very lucky with that. I’m making the most of it.”

“I thought it would calm down but it doesn’t stop, it continues”

A year later, the enthusiasm is still the same: “It’s been a crazy year. It was crazy. I thought it would calm down but it doesn’t stop, it continues. When we do it, we are in our bubble and we don’t realize everything that will happen afterwards. It’s pretty crazy.”

Unfortunately, these many professional opportunities require time and a lot of investment. The other side of the coin. Danny is now very busy. For him, it is difficult to juggle personal and professional life. Today, the young man makes us understand that he had to prioritize cooking: “it’s true that with this pace I have scrounged on my social life. That means seeing my family, having my weekends. It no longer exists. So yes I work more than before. Ultimately before I took some time for myself, to rest and now not at all. It’s been a long, long time since I took a day off.”

If the young man puts things into perspective and hopes that this situation will only last for a while and then “we can rest”he recognizes that at the moment the situation is complicated to live with: “it would be a lie to tell you otherwise.”

“I am very grateful to these people who follow me”

During his season, the young man faces Léo for yet another duel during the hidden brigade. Accustomed to this exercise, the test is almost a formality for Danny. On the other hand, for Léo it is a first and this challenge is particularly complicated. Overwhelmed by stress, the candidate is in difficulty. Without thinking, Danny then comes to the aid of his competitor, trying to re-motivate him: “Don’t give up, grandpa,” he says to him, “It’s the first time I’ve come to help a candidate, it’s true, it could seriously harm me” Danny confided to Télé Loisirs at the time.

A rare gesture which perfectly defines the character of the young man. Although he is determined and hardworking, Danny wants above all to remain himself: natural and authentic.

An authenticity that we also find in the way he manages his new post-Top Chef life.

The young leader wants to stay close to the people who follow him, which is why he responds to all the messages he receives. “I am very grateful to these people who follow me… It impresses me every time. They thank you when you just did Top Chef, we have the impression that we changed their lives and it’s crazy”.

To thank these loyal people, Danny decided to offer meals at the restaurant where he works, the Bayview: “There are some who dream of coming but they can’t afford it because it’s a little expensive. So once a week I win a meal for two for almost 1000 francs each time. I try to thank people as much as I can”.

Danny also makes a point of taking care of everything on his own. No agency, no assistant, he manages everything including his social networks. An exception in the industry: “I’m the one who manages everything 100%. No communications agency, no nothing at all. It’s true that it’s rare, that’s why I say it. I didn’t realize it but I understood that I was a UFO because when I look at all the other chefs at the end of the day they all have agents, real estate communication companies, there are teams of filming who come to their home, etc…”.

For him, no need for film crews. Social networks, he is present but he does everything himself from the video to the editing. “With music I already knew a little about the role that social networks could have and their importance in communicating what we were doing. For me, it’s not extra work. On the contrary, it doesn’t take me much time, it’s 15 minutes of my day”.

Danny still gets help from his team to film but that’s it. The secret for him? Stay yourself and it works: “I just take my phone, I film a video alone or else it’s my clerks who take the phone and film. We don’t take a lot of time for that and that’s what people like and gets millions of views just from a phone. We show a little bit of what we do and people are happy because they’re in the kitchen with us and it’s great. I don’t have the role of an influencer who works on his phone all day and who has to do product placements all day. We’re just showing a little bit of what we do. It’s cool for everyone.”

“There are lots of things going on”

Obviously, Danny still has a thousand and one projects waiting for him and his schedule is unlikely to become empty in the future: “The goal is to continue with restaurants and look a little further into the stars.” On the television side, the young man appreciates the cameras and intends to continue in the industry: “I’m offered lots of things, I have to make the right choices, but I’m going to do it again and probably very soon. There are lots of things in progress that have already been filmed, I really liked it”.

Finally to the question: “Are you planning to open your own restaurant?”the young man bet on the mystery card: “I have the chance to open another restaurant in Geneva which is currently being built and which will open…we don’t know, before long”.

Suspense is therefore essential. Patience, patience… Sheesh (as Danny would say)!


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