Celebrity Chef Michael Chiarello Dies at 61

The Chiarello family is mourning the loss of their patriarch, Michael Chiarello. The beloved celebrity chef and TV host died on Friday (Oct. 6) after spending a week in the hospital receiving treatment for an acute allergic reaction, which led to anaphylactic shock – according to his restaurant group (Gruppo Chiarello). 

He was being treated at the Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, California, and was surrounded by friends and family at the time of his passing – he was just 61 years old. Chiarello is remembered for his culinary excellence and ability to bring people from all walks of life together with his passion for cuisine. 

“We deeply mourn the loss of our beloved patriarch Michael,” his family wrote in a statement. “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.”

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While his family navigates this profound loss, they’re vowing to ‘hold dear the moments we cherished with him, both in the kitchens and in our hearts.’ They know his legacy (both in life and career) will ‘forever live on in the love he poured into every dish and the passion he instilled in all of us to savor life’s flavors.’ 

Michael Chiarello is best known for his Italian-influenced California cuisine, which he often showcased on TV. He received an Emmy for his Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello cooking show on the Food Network and also had popular cooking shows on PBS, Fine Living Network, and the Cooking Channel. 

Of course, he was always a hit on Top Chef, Top Chef Masters, and Next Iron Chef – where he finished Season 4 as the runner-up to Rick Bayless. Chiarello has also served as an executive chef at a variety of restaurants – including Caffe Museo in San Francisco, Ajax Tavern in Aspen, and Bisect in Scottsdale.

Chiarello had four children at the time of his death – an 18-year-old son named Aidan, who he shared with ex-wife Eileen Marie Gordon, and three daughters (Margaux, Felicia, and Giana) from a previous marriage. Chiarello and Gordon married in 2003, but divorced in 2019 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gruppo Chiarello Shares Statement on Michael Chiarello

Gruppo Chiarello – a restaurant group founded by Michael Chiarello – had nothing but nice things to say about Michael in their statement following his death. They praised his ‘passion for food and life’ and said it’ll ‘forever be etched in our kitchens and hearts’ – adding that they’re choosing to celebrate his legacy. 

“In remembrance, we ask that you join us in celebrating his remarkable journey and the incredible impact he had on the world of food, wine, and family by inviting you to share a meal with your family and friends to remind all of us that the bonds forged over a meal are among life’s most precious treasures,” they said.

They also praised him for his restaurants – Bottega, Coqueta (in San Francisco and in Napa Valley), and Ottimo – which will live on in his honor. His ability to make Italian cuisine both fun and delicious was a big reason why everyone loved him so much. His sudden death is nothing short of a tragedy to his family. 

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In an effort to honor his legacy, the Chiarello family is asking fans and followers to send donations to Meals on Wheels – a network comprised of 5,000 community-based programs across the country dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation – in lieu of flowers. May he forever rest in peace. 

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