Michael Chiarello, a renowned chef, restaurateur, and TV personality, passed away on Saturday at the age of 61. He was being treated at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, California, for an acute allergic reaction that led to anaphylactic shock. His family and friends were by his side when he took his last breath.
“We deeply mourn the loss of our beloved patriarch Michael. His culinary brilliance, boundless creativity, and unwavering commitment to family were at the core of his being. He brought people together through the joy of shared meals, fostering lasting memories around the table,” his family said in a statement.
A Stellar Career in Cooking and Media
Chiarello was born in Red Bluff, California, in 1962. He attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York and graduated in 1982. He soon earned the chef of the year award from Food & Wine Magazine in 1985.
He opened his first restaurant, Tra Vigne, in Napa Valley in 1987. It became a critically acclaimed destination for Italian cuisine and wine. He later opened other restaurants such as Bottega, Coqueta, and Ottimo.
Chiarello was also a successful TV host and competitor. He had shows on PBS and Food Network, such as Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello, which won him a Daytime Emmy in 2003 for outstanding culinary show host. He also appeared on Top Chef and Top Chef Masters, showcasing his skills and charisma.
Tributes Pour In from Fans and Colleagues
Chiarello’s death has shocked and saddened many people who admired his work and personality. Fans and fellow chefs have taken to social media to express their condolences and pay tribute to his legacy.
Robert Irvine, a celebrity chef and friend of Chiarello, tweeted: “A very sad day for me personally and the culinary world . My thoughts and Prayers go out to family and teammates. RIP my Dear friend you will be sorely missed.”
Tyler Florence, another celebrity chef who worked with Chiarello on Food Network, posted on Instagram: “I’m heartbroken to hear about the passing of my friend Michael Chiarello. He was a mentor to me when I first moved to Napa Valley and taught me so much about food, wine, and hospitality. He was a giant in our industry and a wonderful human being. My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Chiarello is survived by his wife Eileen Gordon Chiarello, his four children from his previous marriage, and his two grandchildren.