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Friends, Co-Workers Remember Keith Greene

Southampton native and Hampton Bays resident died Wednesday at 35.

On television, he was known as "K-Grease," a fan favorite contestant on the second season of reality show "Hell's Kitchen" — but on the South Fork, Keith Greene was known as a selfless friend and family man who was dedicated to his craft.

Greene, 35, of Hampton Bays, in Southampton Village.

That afternoon at in the village — where Greene served as chef — the staff and frequent customers had heavy hearts after learning of his untimely death.

"This morning, we knew something was wrong because he didn't show up for work. And he never misses work," said owner Dennis Schmidt.

His wife, Kristen, also works at Schmidt's, as a bookkeeper, as does his mother, Marge, as an assistant manager.

"He's got a lot of family in town, Schmidt said.

Greene also leaves behind a 2-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son.

"He was a big outgoing guy, fun-loving guy, but he was also very serious about his food," Schmidt said. Greene had a bad back, but worked through the pain, he added.

Dennis Schmidt's son, Daniel Schmidt, said he knew Greene all throughout high school and they became good friends.

"He was a great friend," the younger Schmidt said. "He would do anything for everybody. He would give you the shirt off his back."

Greene donated his time each year to prepare food for an annual gala for the .

The elder Schmidt added, "I don't know anybody who wouldn't like him."

Daniel Schmidt said Greene worked very hard to propel his career and provide for his family. "He was a big asset to this company," he said of Greene's time  as chef at and , which started eight years ago. "His cooking was unbelievable."

Greene was also clean and sober for the past 12 or 14 years, Daniel Schmidt said. "He was down in the dirt for a couple years, but he dug himself out. It was incredible what he did."

Greene made it to the final three when he competed on "Hell's Kitchen" in 2006, and spun his fame into a line of sauces and marinades.

He grew up in Southampton above BK's Southampton Restaurant and Saloon, his family's business. Over the years he worked at many South Fork restaurants, including Canyon Road, , 75 Main, The Black Buoy, JLX and JL East. He also worked in Miami and the Caribbean.

Please join in remembering Keith Greene by leaving your thoughts in a comment below.

Patty Bigelow August 15, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Just a lovely, talented guy. He was a pleasure and we were so thrilled to find him! Our hearts go out to his family and his entire Schmidt's family. A terrible loss.
jks August 15, 2012 at 11:28 PM
I am very sad to hear about the passing of Keith Greene, so young and so much talent. I had the pleasure of attending one of his cooking classes, he knew what he was doing and generously shared his recipes. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.
Taylor K. Vecsey (Editor) August 15, 2012 at 11:35 PM
My condolences to Keith's wife, mother, children and his entire family. What a talented chef and nice guy.
Shannon Whelan August 15, 2012 at 11:56 PM
This is very sad news! I haven't seen Keith in many years but he was always such an angel and helped me keep my chin up through hard times. My heart goes out to his family!
Daniel Gonzalez August 16, 2012 at 12:11 AM
The East End lost a fine fellow with the passing of Keith Greene. He was a fine chef which speaks of his generous soul, a person who greatly enjoyed cooking and giving to others. He could make a meal for 200 seem as if he prepared it only for you. Too soon to say goodbye. Daniel Gonzalez Raun Norquist
Tom Edmonds August 16, 2012 at 01:03 AM
This is a terrible and painful loss to our Village. Keith was an amazing chef and a great supporter of the Southampton Historical Museum. He loved to feed people and was incredibly generous with his talents. He will be sorely missed as well for his kind, warm and gentle spirit. Condolences to his family, Schmidt's Market and everyone who knew and loved him. Tom Edmonds, Southampton Historical Museum
Erica Jackson (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Eileen M Lauinger said via Facebook, "What a shame and a tragedy. He was a really nice guy and a wonderful chef. Just saw him Sunday. My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends."
Jen Hartman August 16, 2012 at 02:21 AM
Wow, very sad. I've known of Keith for many years now, frequenting the restaurants he was a chef at, & at Schmidts. Keith was always a really nice, & sweet man, & great chef. My thoughts & prayers go out to his family & friends. The entire local community will be feeling this loss.
joelle N Musso August 16, 2012 at 11:20 AM
My condolences to his family, Keith was a great guy, always kind. Gone to soon. Great sadness in the heart of who knew him.
Nick Mazzeo August 16, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Had some great times with this gentle giant! Surely, he will be missed! R.I.P. KG
Jennifer F August 16, 2012 at 02:52 PM
My sincerest condolences to all of the people who loved Keith, especially to Kristen & young fam. and Marge G. I can remember the first day I met Keith during high school and the years of hysterical memories that followed. Keith was massively kind, ever-generous, could always make you smile, and impressed all who knew him. You're greatly missed! Lovingly signed, Jenn F. a.k.a.- Pork Chop (what you named me)!
Mary Beth August 16, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Best to his friends and family.
Kristen Poulakis August 16, 2012 at 03:08 PM
The Poulakis family sends love and prayers to his family! We are truly sorry for their loss! He will be missed!
GOLD FINGER August 16, 2012 at 04:28 PM
God bless Keith. I guess God needed a good chef and good guy.
Tracy C August 16, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Will miss you! Now your chilling with the other class ham. R.I.P K.GREENE
Brendan J. O'Reilly (Editor) August 16, 2012 at 05:56 PM
Visitations and funeral times have been announced: http://patch.com/A-wYXh
Kris Roberts August 16, 2012 at 07:59 PM
I remember when keith was on hell's kitchen. I am completely SHOCKED over his passing. I read a post on the hell's kitchen Facebook page from a woman who said she spoke to keith in a doctor's office and about how nice he was to talk to. The name sounded familiar to me so after googling him and finding out he had passed away, i had to write how sorry i am and to let his family know that my prayers and love are with them. Live for the day, people! You just never know!
Linda Liehr August 17, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Keith was a brother to my children. I have known him through thick and thin!! What a GREAT human being he was!!! I respect him for the life that he made for himself!! He will be missed by everyone who knew him!!!!!!!!
Chrissy Dash Isms August 17, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Another HK tragedy. RIP.
Rudy Castillo August 18, 2012 at 02:39 AM
REST IN PEACE `JEFE"KEITH GREENE,YOU WILL BE MISSED!!!
Fastrudy Lehr August 18, 2012 at 08:33 AM
Any friend of Dennis, Dan and Jennifer is a friend of mine. RIP Keith.
Rudy Lehr August 18, 2012 at 08:34 AM
Any friend of Dennis, Dan and Jennifer is a friend of mine. RIP Keith.
Sandy Magura August 18, 2012 at 04:00 PM
I will always remember Keith as a big teddy bear. We had some wonderful vacations together and I will never forget all the good times we had. You were a fantastic chef and will be missed by many Keith. RIP. My sincere condolences to your mother, wife, children, family, and friends.
Colin Egan August 20, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Cairdeas agus Dilseacht.....Friendship and loyalty. Keith displayed these trates every day of his life. I'm proud to have known him. RIP buddy.
eso August 21, 2012 at 07:35 AM
I am so glad to have met him. Kevin Billy and Marge, my deep condolences. He was such a good one, much love
Charles Dominski February 12, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Keith was the most caring person that i ever knew. Me him and kevin used to have the best times when we were young. He helped me so much with the death of my mother. I`ll never forget you keith.

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