Saturday, August 24, 2013

In Memoriam: William D’Arduini

My uncle Billy passed away a few days ago. He’d been having health issues over the last few years, but the news still came as a sudden, and very sad shock. He was one of my earliest inspirations for becoming a chef, and as many of you know, we filmed several recipes together over the years from his kitchen in Manchester, NY.

After I left the California Culinary Academy to start Food Wishes, I gave him one of my chef coats, and whenever I’d visit, he’d be wearing that coat, busily cooking away, looking every bit the part. He was a barber and hairstylist by trade, but Uncle Billy could have been a world-class chef. His passion for food, and for life, was boundless. Running up the stairs from his second, basement kitchen, carrying a giant pan of food, smiling broadly, talking loudly, wearing that old, white chef coat, is how I will always remember him.

I can think of no better tribute than to re-post the videos he was involved in below. In the “Homemades” video, you can actually hear Uncle Bill helping me with the narration. Of course, in true Food Wishes style, we only see his hands, but by watching the stylish way he handles the food, it’s very easy to see that he had a special touch.

Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to my Aunt Angela and the rest of the family. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult this is for them, but hopefully they can take some comfort in knowing just how much pleasure Uncle Billy brought to those around him. Not only did he feed the party, but he was usually the life of it too. He will be dearly missed.

Rest in peace, Uncle Billy. We loved you, and will continue to love and remember you through all the amazing dishes you so generously shared. I know one thing, the food in heaven just got a lot better. Enjoy.

Homemades - Making Pasta with Uncle Bill (read original post here)

Chicken D’Arduini (read original post here)

Arancini - Italian Rice Balls (read original post here)

73 comments:

Tamara Gerber said...

Dear Chef John & family, I am very sorry for your loss. Sounds like Uncle Billy was a wonderful person.

loodje said...

I'm sorry Chef John to you and your family for your loss in your uncle Billy. May you keep his image fresh in your minds!

Albert Westling said...

I am sorry for your loss.

cookinmom said...

So sorry to hear of your loss...it's always hard with a loved one. Prayers for the family in this hard time.

George said...

Oh man, I loved his chicken. God bless his soul. I didn't know him, but his food told me that he was a wonderful person. I will miss his cooking. May he rest in eternal happiness. I'll keep cooking that chicken my entire life:

Monica said...

So wonderful to have shared your passion with a loving uncle. He will always be in you heart and memories. So nice to have a video that includes him.

Judy said...

I am very sorry for your, and your family's loss, Chef. I am glad you have lots of great memories! Thanks for sharing him with us via your videos.

Gerry Graham said...

Chef John, I'm so sorry for your loss. We're so blessed to have special people in our lives, but it's so hard when we have to say goodbye. In the end, we hold on to the memories of the good times and smile when we remember them. God bless you and your family.

Ice Pandora said...

I'm sorry to hear this :c
be strong and keep on cooking!
Xx

CWR032 said...

What a great way to honor a loved one. I'm sorry for your loss.

La Fee Vert said...

Please accept our condolences. What a lovely tribute you have posted to an obviously wonderful man.

Chibby said...

Sorry for your loss CJ and family :(
We absolutely love his chicken recipie.It's one of our favorites!

Kris Fininen said...

My sincere condolences Chef John. We will keep you and your family in our prayers. After following and enjoying your posts for so many years I almost feel like they're my family too. So sorry for your loss.

Matthew said...

My Condolences.

Food Junkie said...

Sorry for your families loss. I sounds as though he had a real zest for food and life.

Simmon Mariani said...

My condolences to you and your family, Chef.

Jennifer Sweet said...

So very sorry for your and your family's loss, Chef John. Thank you for sharing your wonderful memories and recipes from Uncle Billy. You will be in our thoughts.

S/V Blondie-Dog said...

Sorry to hear about the loss of your loved one. May you and your family find comfort in his loving memory.

Bethany said...

I am sorry for your loss. Praying for you and for all of your family...

Dave said...

Very sorry to hear that, Chef John. My condolences to you and your family.

Steve said...

Deepest sympathies to you and your family Chef John. I loved, LOVED learning how to make those Arancini with you and Uncle Billy. Thank You!

Eitan said...

My condolences Chef.

Unknown said...

He inspired you and you've inspired millions, which means he isn't really gone.

Sandra from Montreal said...

My condolences to you and your family, Chef John...

Scarlet Jones said...

I'm very sorry for you loss. Many thoughts and prayers for your family.

Jim Spatz said...

RIP

Pat Dohaney said...

John, we keep you and your family in our thoughts and prayers. I have just watched Uncle Billy's hands as they made homemade pasta and the chicken dish. What a beautiful light touch Uncle Billy had. Just like an artist.
Thank you for sharing Uncle Billy with us.
Blessings,
Pat and Family

Joey said...

Chef John, my thoughts are with you and your family at this sad time. Uncle Billy sounds like a wonderful character. While you'll never know most of us fans from a bar of soap, I think most would agree that it's an honour and a privilege to be permitted a peek at your wonderful family life as part of your blogging, and I'm very sad that you're hurting. Much love from down under xo

Rita said...

Death is never easy, no matter how much you think you're prepared for it. Please extend our thoughts, prayers and our sincerest condolences to your Aunt Angela and the whole entire family. May your Uncle Billy rest in eternal peace.

Becky said...

From the videos, your family always seems awesome.
I'm so sorry.

RangerJoe said...

I'm new here, found you while searching for homemade Mac N Cheese recipes...love your recipes, especially the Italiano ones. Very sorry to see that you lost your uncle, but thankfully you have these videos and the memories to continue to enjoy in his honor.

God bless,
Joe

Chez Us said...

John, I am so sorry to hear this news. Thinking of you!

Toshiko Suisei said...

Dear Chef John, You wrote a very sweet and moving post regarding your Uncle Billy. My condolences for your family's loss.

Debbie Kohn said...

My heartfelt sympathies to you and your family. His legacy and light lives on in you.

Fernando CanĂ³ "Mr. Balagan" said...

Dear Chef John, you've become one of my inspirations as a chef too, sorry for your loss.

Lish & Matt said...

Dear Chef John, I'm sorry for the loss of your uncle Billy. My thoughts go out to you and the family.

Chris K. said...

Condolences, John. And thank you for sharing your uncle's legacy with us. Makes me wish I could've known him.

Chef John said...

Thank you, everyone, for the sincere and heartfelt thoughts. It's very much appreciated.

Andria said...

Dear Chef John,
I am so sorry about your loss of uncle Billy! I just watched the videos of uncle Billy's recipes and will definitly make them. Thank you uncle Billy and chef John for your love for food and life.

T Willey said...

Chef John,
Thank you for sharing your Uncle with us! He will be remembered.

Bobbi Westwood said...

Chef John,
I have made all of the recipes you filmed with your Uncle Bill and they have all become family favorites of ours. I am thankful for the inspiration he gave to you and in turn you have bestowed on so many of your followers. Heart felt condolences from my family to yours...

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Although I never met your uncle, your post about him brought him vividly to life. My sincere condolences to you and all his family on this loss...

BenBarefoot said...

Great tribute. Very sorry for your loss. Part of him lives on in you though. What ever inspiration he gave you will go with you forever, and will be passed on through those that you inspire. And looking down from heaven he will be able to see that spark travel through all the people the flames of its inspiration has touched. Life is breautiful. God bless you John.

Sandy said...

Chef John, I'm so sorry to hear about your Uncle Billy. I bet it made him so proud that, through you and your excellent blog and videos, his cooking inspired lots of other people.

Vann McCullar said...

Sorry for your loss, CJ.

mdb139 said...

Chef John and family, I am very sorry for you loss.

Locomotive_breath said...

Dear Chef John and family

Sorry for your loss. I actually made Chicken D’Arduini and loved it. It was truly a recipe from a great, yet humble chef, which is how I picture your Uncle Billy. My heartfelt condolences to you and your family.

Shantanu.

Ed Adams said...

Chef John,

My wife and I are sorry for your loss, he was certainly an inspiration. We have made Chicken D'Arduini many times and love it. It was nice to see a compilation of his recipes that inspired you.

PhillyBear said...

Chef, I am so sorry for your loss. chicken D'arduini has become a favorite of mine. i'll make it soon and drink a toast to your uncle and to you and your family.

Kris said...

So sorry for your loss, Chef John. Your uncle sounds like a truly remarkable man. Prayers for you and your family.

Brittany Carilli said...

Very sorry to hear about your loss. He will forever live on through you and the people you inspire every day.

Marwan Dirani said...

Sorry for your loss chef John. My condolences to you and your family.

Daniel Whitcomb said...

My condolences to you and your family John.

Dan and Hilary said...

Dear Chef John and Family,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. I have not yet had a chance to make any recipes from your Uncle Billy posts, but I can't wait to try them.

God bless and take care,

Dan & Hilary Reilly

Robert Bell said...

My dearest condolences to you and your family Chef John

1Bigg_ER said...

My condolences to you and your family. I actually bought my first jar of anchovies after watching the chicken D'Arduini video.

Thomas S said...

Be easy, Chef.

Lupita Zamudio said...

When the sorrow passes you will be able to feel glad and comforted for the time you both were together, the things you shared those things will always remain with you

cathy said...

I'm so sorry to hear this. He was a wonderful and inspiring cook and you seemed to have really loved him. I enjoyed the videos with him very much. My condolences and wishing you and your family strength with this loss.

Unknown said...

Chef John, very sorry for your loss. May God hold you and your family in His arms and give you comfort. My favorite video is the "Homemades". It makes the best pasta.

Paul D said...

Dear Chef John,

I've been watching your videos for years, and learned to cook fresh pasta from the homemades video. My condolences for your loss and anyone who inspired you to be a chef is a gift to everyone who has the pleasure of watching your videos.

From a fellow New Yorker and avid viewer, Paul

Paul D said...

I've been watching your videos for years, and learned to cook fresh pasta from the homemades video. My condolences for your loss and anyone who inspired you to be a chef is a gift to everyone who has the pleasure of watching your videos.

From a fellow New Yorker and avid viewer, Paul

Jiffy said...

Sorry to hear Chef John, sounds like Uncle Billy's a good man

Najib Kailani said...

Rest In Peace
My condolences to you and your family

Bored Lady Enjoys Trying Others Recipes said...

Sorry for your loss. I remembered copying his Arancini - Italian Rice Balls recipe. Bless

Keith Lee said...

You are an amazing cook. I enjoy your sense of humor and your culinary insights and guidelines. Your Uncle has left his legacy implanted in your heart. We will all be cooking together again once we all cross over. You bring a little heaven here on earth. Thanks for sharing your gift.

Travis said...

Dear Chef John & family,

I would like to thank you and your uncle Billy for sharing such an intimate experience as family cooking. I feel honestly blessed to have watched such passionate hands knead and mix their love of food with life. May his soul rest in peace, and his recipe's live on.

Evan St. James said...

Sorry for your loss, CJ.

Andy L said...

My son and I have been fans of your site for years now. And Chicken D'Arduini is one of our favorite recipes. Its also one of my sons favorite videos to watch. He's autistic and like many autistic children, he latches on to certain things and won't let go... Chicken D'Arduini is one such video. It provides my son with some sort of comfort and calm. Thank you and may your uncle rest in peace.

Ron Zucker said...

Chicken D'Arduini was the first thing I ever saw here, the first recipe of your/his I ever tried. I'm so sorry for your loss, and so happy that you shared your love of good food and a good man with the rest of us.

Ahmad Abdul-Quadir said...

Dear Chef John,

I love the simple, humorous, cooking videos you post. You are an inspiration and so was your Uncle. May he rest in peace.

Ahmad
Arizona

Jude! said...

Chef John
I'm very sorry for your loss. I just wanted to let you know that your uncle's chicken d'arduini has been a favorite dish in my home, even with picky 6 year old son and 3 year old daughter! We literally have this dish a couple times a month! His legacy lives on!

Bryan
Seattle

EL said...

Hi Chef John -

I just came across your Memorial Post for your Uncle Billy and I'm sorry for your loss.

Just to show how much positive influence he's had on me (through your video posts), his Chicken D’Arduini recipe has become a regular dish that I make every month. My relatives fell in love with the rich, but simple flavors the first time I made it. Now they've come to know the recipe as Chicken D’Arduini, a "traditional Italian dish".

Thanks again for sharing your uncle with the rest of us.

Regards,
EL