According to the Chicago Tribune, the 15-car pileup that occurred just after midnight on Saturday on Chicago’s Eisenhower Expressway was reportedly caused by black ice on the road. Poilevey was reportedly outside his car during the accident, and he was the only person killed.
Poilevey was on his way back from work at Le Bouchon, his restaurant in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, when the accident occurred.
“We’ve lost a very good friend,” chef Carrie Nahabedian, of Chicago’s Naha and Brindille restaurants, said to the Chicago Tribune. “He’s been part of the French dining community for 40 years. He’s an icon.”
Poilevey was a beloved fixture in Chicago’s fine-dining scene. He first came to the Chicago area in the 1960s as the chef at the Playboy Club in nearby Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and he later moved to the city to open a French fine-dining restaurant that was first called La Fontaine and later Jean Claude. He opened Le Bouchon in 1993, and La Sardine in 1998.
“We are heartbroken,” the Le Bouchon Twitter account posted Saturday evening. “The world lost an incredible man, chef, and friend.”