YOUNTVILLE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Gruppo Chiarello today announced that its Founder and Chef Michael Chiarello passed away at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, where he was being treated for the past week for an acute allergic reaction that led to anaphylactic shock. He spent his final moments surrounded by family and friends, who respectfully asked for privacy during this immensely sad and difficult period.
The Chiarello Family shared, “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. As we navigate this profound loss, we hold dear the moments we cherished with him, both in his kitchens and in our hearts. 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.”
Born in Red Bluff, California in 1962, Michael Chiarello was not just a chef; he was a culinary visionary and a true pioneer. His culinary passion ignited in his mother's California kitchen, where he was enveloped in the traditions of his Southern Italian heritage. Michael's lifelong dream of becoming a chef led to remarkable achievements.
A graduate of the esteemed Culinary Institute of America in New York, Michael was a multitalented luminary. He earned accolades as a chef, vintner, specialty food trailblazer, philanthropist, accomplished author, and engaging television host. His culinary philosophy revolved around seasonal, sustainable ingredients, and he fervently supported the artisans and farmers who crafted them, fostering a culture of shared meals and unforgettable memories.
His love affair with the Napa Valley began in 1987 with his critically acclaimed restaurant Tra Vigne which created the spirit of what would become the Napa Valley culinary scene that we know today.
Michael’s impact on the culinary world was not only through his kitchens. In 1985, Food & Wine Magazine named him Chef of the Year, a mere three years after graduating from the CIA. In 1995, he received the CIA's Chef of the Year Award, followed by being named Alumni of the Year in 2011. His many cookbooks garnered recognition from both IACP and the James Beard Foundation. He revolutionized the olive oil industry with his innovative work with California olive oil in the mid-90s with his venture, Consorzio Flavored Oils.
“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,” said his longtime partners in Gruppo Chiarello. “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.”
Dedicated to sustainability, Michael ventured into winemaking in 1999, creating Chiarello Family Vineyards. His small-batch wines consistently earned high praise and acclaim. In 2000, he graced us with NapaStyle, a retail line of artisanal foods, kitchenware, and home products that bore his stamp of authenticity.
Michael Chiarello's captivating presence on television endeared him to millions. For a decade, he hosted shows on PBS, Food Network, Fine Living, and Cooking Channel. In 2003, he embarked on the Emmy Award®-winning journey with "Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello." His culinary prowess also shone on Bravo's "Top Chef Masters,” as well as frequently gracing our screens as a judge on Bravo's "Top Chef" and "Top Chef Masters." In 2011, he participated in Food Network's "Next Iron Chef" competition and made appearances and many television shows.
Funeral arrangements will remain private, and in lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to Meals on Wheels, ensuring his commitment to culinary excellence and sustainability lives on.