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.
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