Unexpected Death of a Food Network Star

The head of the Chiarello family, Michael Chiarello, died. The adored celebrity chef and TV personality died on Friday (Oct. 6), according to his restaurant firm (Gruppo Chiarello), after spending a week in the hospital receiving treatment for a severe allergic reaction that led to anaphylactic shock. He was receiving care at the Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, California when he passed away at the age of 61. He was there with friends and relatives. Chiarello is renowned for his superb culinary abilities and his ability to bring people from many backgrounds together through a shared love of food.

Michael, our cherished patriarch, passed away, and we truly mourn his passing, his family stated in a statement. “His skill in cooking, inexhaustible imagination, and unwavering dedication to his family were at the very heart of his personality. By bringing people together over the joy of shared meals, he forged enduring memories at the table. In order to cope with this profound loss, his family has made the promise to “hold dear the moments we cherished with him, both in the kitchens and in our hearts.”

They understand that his legacy (both in life and in his career) will “forever live on in the love he poured into every dish,” as will the enthusiasm he instilled in each of us to savor life’s delights. Michael Chiarello is well known for his Italian-influenced California cuisine and was regularly featured on television. He received an Emmy for his Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello cooking show on the Food Network, in addition to having a popular culinary program on PBS, the Fine Living Network, and the Cooking Channel. On Next Iron Chef, where he ended the fourth season as Rick Bayless’s runner-up, he was always a fan favorite.

Chiarello has also served as an executive chef at a variety of eateries, including Caffe Museo in San Francisco, Ajax Tavern in Aspen, and Bisect in Scottsdale.

At the time of his death, Chiarello was the father of four children: an 18-year-old boy named Aidan, whom he shared with his ex-wife Eileen Marie Gordon, and three girls (Margaux, Felicia, and Giana) from a prior marriage. Chiarello and Gordon wed in 2003, but after the COVID-19 epidemic, they decided to get divorced in 2019. The Chiarello family is asking for donations to Meals on Wheels, a countrywide network of 5,000 community-based programs that tackles elder hunger and isolation, in instead of flowers. May he forever rest in peace.

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