With his original laugh, his infectious good humor and his two-tone dreadlocks, Danny Khezzar does not go unnoticed.
Especially since the 26-year-old has many talents.
Emeritus cook, he works as sous-chef in the starred restaurant Baywiew by Michel Roth in Geneva but also has a passion for song.
Author, composer and singer of Latin trap (a mixture of reggaeton and rap in French and Spanish), he will soon release a second album.
Normal, therefore, that he is one of the key personalities of season 14 of “Top Chef” broadcast on M6, even if he was eliminated from the second broadcast.
Because, the young cook of 26 years continues a parallel course.
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Affinities with Hélène Darroze
He was drafted to his greatest surprise to participate in the secret competition called "The hidden brigade", orchestrated by Hélène Darroze, allowing program graduates to have a second chance and the possibility, for whoever beats all the others, of reach the quarter-finals in the starred chef's brigade.
"The production first told me that we had to shoot videos
," he explains.
I was going backwards.
When I found out the real reason, I found it incredible!
, he confides.
He first faced Miguel head to head, then Gaston and, finally, Jacques last week.
Still racing, he likes this exercise:
“We are far from the large configuration that exists at “Top Chef”, it is more intimate, there are only two of us and the chef has time to see what we are really doing.
It tastes as soon as we finish, so hot!
Afterwards, we only have an hour, it's a big constraint and we don't know what's in the pantry”
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Over the tests, Danny also gets to know Hélène Darroze with whom the current goes well:
“I did not know her at all
, he continues.
It's a superb encounter because she resembles chef Michel Roth, my mentor: she is very humble and natural.
When she needs to say something, she does it, she is very frank.
I love him very much”
Every week, he hangs on to stay in the competition but can't imagine going all the way... even if he would love it:
“I can't imagine winning this secret event, the road is too long.
But if I got there, it would be a bit like my life, that is to say, starting from the bottom to go up…”
A life-changing brunch
Originally from Rosny-sous-Bois in Seine-Saint-Denis, Danny was born into a family that has cooking in its blood.
If his dad followed another path by becoming a plumber, the two grandfathers of the young man were in the restoration.
One of them even worked at Lucas Carton.
If he died when he was four years old, some shots have immortalized the little one with his grandpa's hat... Quite a symbol for someone who has been in the kitchen since childhood.
"I inherited his cookbook
," says Danny.
What I liked the most was not the cooking itself but when my loved ones found themselves at the table with a smile and that they were happy with what I had prepared for them.
I like that they are proud of me.
The passion anchored in him, fate will then give him a nice boost.
For his 15th birthday and while he is in the process of deciding his future professional path, his parents offer him a brunch at the Ritz in Paris.
That day, by chance, Michel Roth, who holds the reins of the gourmet restaurant, is present in the room.
Pushed by his relatives, he will present himself to him.
"He was super nice and hugged me
," says Danny.
He suggested that we visit the kitchens.
I had stars in my eyes.
Then he gave me his card telling me to call him back if I wanted to do an internship.
he did as soon as he entered hotel school.
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Hired by Pierre Gagnaire thanks to... a water leak!
After this beautiful experience, fate will smile on him a second time thanks to his father.
When he is urgently called to a restaurant to repair a leak, he hears that the establishment is looking for staff.
He then speaks of his cook son.
“It was at Pierre Gagnaire!
, enthuses Danny.
I was going to pass my technical baccalaureate in hospitality and commerce and I got hired the following week.
The beginnings were complicated because, even if I was full of desires, I didn't have the level.
It was very formative, especially in terms of creativity.
I remember television cameras coming to film it.
Ten seconds before the start of the report, he did not know what he was going to do.
He was composing live.
He was composing live.
He is very inspiring!
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Danny stayed six months at the triple-starred restaurant before chef Roth called him back to offer him the opportunity to join the new restaurant he was launching in Geneva, on the shores of Lake Geneva.
Eight years later, Danny is still working there.
He is now sous-chef of the establishment which has one Michelin star and 18/20 in Gault & Millau.
Between the two men, it's almost a family affair.
"He has the image of the chef that I would like to achieve: humble despite his notoriety, accessible and very unifying"
, he notes.
“'Top Chef' fell on me!
Danny Khezzar, candidate for season 14 of “Top Chef”
It is therefore supported by the latter that he decided to participate in “Top Chef” when the production called him.
A proposal that cannot be refused according to him:
“It fell on me!
I took it as an opportunity, I was so happy.
I always watched the show in replay but I never imagined going to the other side of the screen.
A boosted musical career
If this brings Danny an undeniable visibility in the world of cooking, his participation in “Top Chef” also boosts his musical career carried by his group, Frères Bizzy.
"It adds streaming and shazam, we feel a craze
," he admits.
A good omen for the musician who will release a new song
and its clip on April 6 on all platforms before a second opus very soon.
Approached by the major record companies, he prefers to remain independent.
His passion for music blossomed when he was twelve or thirteen with rap.
"We quickly recorded songs, I took up the guitar, we did festivals, concerts, freestyle..."
He then discovers the Latin hatch which corresponds well to his cheerful character.
With his group, he records millions of views on the Internet.
For years, Danny never mixed the two worlds, preferring to leave home in jogging before changing into a suit on arriving at the establishment that employed him or, conversely, hiding his dreadlocks under a big hat.
“I hid where I came from to avoid the cliché 'he's a commuter, he doesn't know how to work'.
I also didn't want people to think that because I was rapping, I couldn't get into the food industry.
I continued like that until 'Top Chef'
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Whether in music or in the kitchen, Danny owes his success only to his hard work.
After his defeat in “Top Chef” during a test on transparency, the young man preferred to act than to mope.
“I questioned myself and, back at the restaurant, I changed my entire menu and worked on transparency”
In particular, he creates a translucent ravioli containing pearls of oil and welded… thanks to a straightening iron.
“After 80 tries, it is now à la carte
,” he explains proudly.
He knows what he owes in the kitchen.
“I could have taken another path.
It allowed me to leave my suburbs to go to Paris and open my mind.
Without it, I would never have gone to Geneva, it changed my life.
Today, Danny revealed himself in broad daylight.
Whatever the branch in which he will succeed the most, we have not finished hearing about him.