In Memoriam: Food and Drink Figures Lost in 2013

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A look back at the memorable, the innovative, and the unforgettable people the culinary world lost in 2013
In Memoriam: Food and Drink
Facebook/Island East Markets, Charlie Trotter, Chris O'Meara/AP Images

Charlie Trotter, Jason Cevallos, and Marcella Hazan were just a few key figures who died in 2013.

Marcella Hazan, history-making author of The Classic Italian Cookbook, died in September at her home in Florida. She was 89. Marcella Hazan's cooking is famous for its commitment to freshness and simplicity. In 2000 she was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the James Beard Foundation.  Hazan was born in Italy and came to the U.S. with a Ph.D. in natural sciences and biology. She initially cooked for her husband, then she began teaching Italian cooking classes out of her New York apartment. Those classes went on to become a lifelong career for both the Hazans. Hazan wrote The Classic Italian Cookbook in 1973, which earned her a reputation for being the Julia Child of Italian cooking.
Read More: Marcella Hazan, Famed Italian Cookbook Author Dies at 89

Kadir Nurman, a Turkish immigrant who was credited as a founder of the popular Berlin fast food called the doner kebab, died in October at the age of 80. The street food is made from meat sliced from a rotating skewer, a practice common in Turkey, then layered with a salad inside a flatbread. Nurman who set up a stall in West Berlin back in 1972 and did not patent his invention, helped popularize a food that these days, the Association of Turkish Doner Manufacturers in Europe estimates numbers  some 16,000 doner outlets in Germany, with more than 1,000 spots in Berlin alone.
Read More: Inventor of the Doner Kebab Passes Away

Jason Cevallos, one of Chicago's best bartenders, passed away in November the age of just 35. Cevallos was part of a team that won the James Beard award for Outstanding Bar Program. Cevallos previously worked at Brasserie Jo, Perennial, 33 Club, and Folklore. His most recent job was a sous chef for the cocktail programs at The Office and The Aviary. He died in Asia due to salmonella poisoning complications.
Read More: Chicago Mixologist Jason Cevallos Dies at 35

Art Ginsburg, a television chef known better as 'Mr. Food' during the three decades that he was on the air, died in November at his home in Florida at the age of 81. While he didn’t have the national branding of many nationally-known television chefs, Ginsburg was locally famous, endearing himself to home cooks via 90-second segments syndicated to 125 local television stations across America. According to The Huffington Post, Ginsburg published 52 Mr. Food-related cookbooks, selling more than 8 million copies.
Read More: Mr. Food Dies at 81

Charlie Trotter, the renowned Chicago chef who may have introduced the tasting menu to America and who helped revolutionize the dining scene, died of a stroke in November in Chicago at the age of 54. Named the country’s Outstanding Chef by James Beard Foundation in 1999 and recipient of the Beard Award for Outstanding Service in 2002, Trotter also received the James Beard Foundation’s Humanitarian of the Year award in 2012, in part for creating the Charlie Trotter Education Foundation to provide scholarships for culinary students. He was often credited with running one of the best restaurants if not the best restaurant in America. Trotter had closed his famous namesake restaurant after 25 years last August, with plans to return to graduate school to study philosophy and political theory.
Read More: Charlie Trotter Passes Away

Judy Rodgers, the “quiet giant of American cooking” and Chez Panisse alum who beginning in 1987 with Zuni Café in San Francisco helped redefine casual California dining, died earlier this month at the age of 57. While she wasn’t a TV superstar, Rodgers was a chef and a cook and a restaurant owner, and she quietly won the hearts and excited the palates of just about everyone who ever ate her food. Rodgers' menu was religiously seasonal, but the basics never changed very much: impeccable oysters, house-cured anchovies with celery and Parmigiano, a definitive Caesar salad, and above all a brick-oven-roasted chicken for two, with bread salad and greens, and at lunchtime a pizza with Wagon Wheel Cheddar and an irresistible grass-fed burger on grilled rosemary focaccia were always on offer and never failed to delight. Zuni was one of those restaurants that everybody who knew and appreciated real food — as opposed to trendy fodder — always went whenever they came to San Francisco.
Read More: What Judy Rodgers Meant to American Cuisine

Seamus Heaney, the Irish poet and playwright known for his lectures on poetry and criticism, his translations (including a famous one of Beowulf), a couple of plays, and above all for an immense outpouring of verse, died in Dublin in August at age 74. Heaney, who won the 1995 Nobel Prize in Literature, wrote on many subjects — history and legend, family, other poets, Ireland itself — but much of his work was grounded in farm and rural life. He wrote about hay bales, a cow in calf, landscapes, barns, and trees. And he wrote about food not so much the cooked variety (though there were exceptions) but the raw materials, the sustaining treasures of his country's rich soil and generous waters.
Read More: Seamus Heaney, Whose Poems Celebrated Blackberries, Oysters, and Potatoes, Dies at 74

John Egerton, the writer on Southern history and food, died of a heart attack in Nashville this November at the age of 78. Egerton, an independent journalist and author, earned respect as an historian and cultural analyst for his books “The Americanization of Dixie” and “Speak Now Against the Day: The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South.” But it was his book “Southern Food: At Home, on the Road, in History” that brought him acclaim from the country’s food-lovers. John T. Edge, director of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the University of Mississippi, once called it “the closest thing to a definitive book on Southern cooking.”

Todd Mills, the idea-man behind the billion-dollar Doritos Locos Taco fast food mash-up that gained national attention this year died on Thanksgiving from brain cancer at the age of 41. Mills, who Taco Bell called a “true friend” of the company, started the Facebook page "Taco Shells from Doritos Movement" in 2009. The experiment paid off big-time for Taco Bell, exceeding a reported $1 billion in sales.

Jimella Lucas, the longtime Long Beach Peninsula chef who with her partner Nanci Main helped raise the profile of Pacific Northwest cuisine, died of cancer earlier this month at her home in Oysterville at the age of 69. Lucas and Main established became nationally known chefs by using the Peninsula’s abundance of fresh seafood and produce first at The Ark Restaurant in Nahcotta, Wash., which they bought in 1981, and later with a seafood market and deli in Klipsan Beach, eventually with Jimella and Nanci’s Market Café. The two also authored four cookbooks, including “The Best of The Ark and More!”

Think we missed a key culinary figure who died in 2013? Please let us know in the comments and feel free to memorialize them. 

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Arthur Bovino is The Daily Meal's executive editor. Read more articles by Arthur, reach him by email, or click here to follow Arthur on Twitter.

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