Michael Chiarello, the celebrity chef and former Food Network star who hosted Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello, has died. He was 61.
The chef died at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, California, where he was being treated for an acute allergic reaction that led to anaphylactic shock, according to a statement from his company, Gruppo Chiarello, released on Business Wire. Chiarello was surrounded by friends and family when he died.
“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,” his family said in a statement. “He brought people together through the joy of shared meals, fostering lasting memories around the table.”
“As we navigate this profound loss, we hold dear the moments we cherished with him, both in his kitchens and in our hearts,” the statement continued. “His legacy 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.”
The celebrity chef also hosted NapaStyle on the Fine Living Network, as well as other shows on PBS and the Cooking Channel. He appeared as a guest chef on The View and the Today show. His long-running Food Network series Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello was nominated for multiple Emmys during its 10-year run, and he took home the trophy for outstanding service show host in 2005.
Michael Chiarello was born in Red Bluff, California, in 1962, to an Italian-American family. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1982 and then received his bachelor’s degree in hospitality management from Florida International University in 1984. The chef spent some time in South Florida, where he opened his first restaurant, Toby’s, in Miami. The following year, he was named Chef of the Year by Food & Wine magazine.
He returned to California in 1986, where he helped open Tra Vigne Restaurant in Napa Valley. Over the course of his career, he also opened restaurants like Bottega and Ottimo. Carrie Underwood praised Bottega, telling The Music news in 2018 that it was her “happy place.” Judy Greer also expressed her appreciation for the restaurant, noting it had the best “carbs to soak up the wine.”
“Chef Michael Chiarello’s passion for food and life will forever be etched in our kitchens and our hearts. While we mourn Michael’s passing, we also celebrate his legacy that continues with his restaurants, Bottega, Coqueta (San Francisco and Napa Valley), and Ottimo,” his longtime partners in Gruppo Chiarello said in a statement. “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.”