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Culinary World Mourns The Loss Of Chef Homaro Cantu

By Melissa McEwen in Food on Apr 15, 2015 5:05PM

The food world was in shock yesterday at the passing of renowned chef Homaro Cantu at age 38. Food writers, chefs, friends and family took to social media and blogs to memorialize a chef who died too young.

Cantu's wife took to Facebook to remember him and address speculation that lawsuit woes contributed to his death:

Thank you everybody for the outpouring of love for Homaro Cantu. Among his many gifts, he was the most generous person I ever met. If you are one of the hundreds of people who asked him to donate to your school or charity each year--I know for a fact that he said yes. If you are one of the many many who asked him for a favor, or help, I am positive he made a phone call on your behalf, or found you a job, or comped your meal. He truly believed that he could change the world by just working a little harder or coming up with a new idea. Please don't believe all the garbage in the news. It was just another case of someone trying to make a buck off of him or take credit for his ideas. If you want his legacy to live on, go try his food, experience his visions. That's all he wanted.

The New York Times dedicated an obituary to the chef whose "blend of science and dining put [him] among a small vanguard of American chefs who used chemical-laboratory techniques to coax food into novel and sometimes peculiar new forms. "

Michael Gebert at The Reader highlighted Cantu's many contributions to food writing over the years.

Anthony Todd, Chicagoist's former Food & Drink Editor, remembered Cantu in A Space-Age Dreamer in the Body of a Chef: Some Thoughts on Homaro Cantu

Homaro Cantu was not just a chef. He was a visionary. And like many visionaries, he wasn’t simple. He wasn’t good or bad. There was, to put it mildly, a lot going on within the man. But I will never forget him, and I was proud to know him.

Local food blogger Joe Campagna, who briefly worked with Cantu, wrote:

I’ll remember Homaro for the passion and love he had for his wife, daughters and restaurant family. He loved telling the story about how he met his wife in the Charlie Trotter kitchen. Homaro also relished his daughters talking about them often when we would see each other. When we lost chef Trotter, Homaro was the one who brought us together and opened his restaurant after the services. I know his restaurant family won’t let his spirit or memory fade.

David Zoltan of Geek Bar (1941 W. North Ave.) announced there will be a candlelight vigil held tonight at Geek Bar:

Homaru Cantu was a geek icon. He brought science to the kitchen in ways that few have dreamed of and even fewer have achieved. I am honored to have known him, to have called him a friend in that too short time that I knew him, and to have been inspired by his imagination…We ask you to join us in remembrance of a giant who loved science and food and especially their intersection.