Top Chef Alum Howard Kleinberg Dead At 46 Following Heart Attack

It’s a sad day for Top Chef fans.

Howard “Howie” Kleinberg has tragically passed away following a fatal heart attack last Friday, according to his mother. The 46-year-old had a prolific career in the food industry beginning with his time spent studying the culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University. After that, he started his first professional job as a chef at the InterContinental Miami Hotel where he really discovered his affinity for cooking, as he once told Southeast Food Service News:

“They gave me a chef’s knife and next thing I knew, I was hooked.”

He later continued branching out with other hotels and restaurants like the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Timo, Ivy Aventura and the Food Gang — needless to say Howie was a phenomenal and highly sought-after chef!

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The Florida native native also appeared on season 3 of Top Chef after he was recommended by Terry Zarikian, culinary director of the South Beach food festival, where ended up placing seventh! The Bravo cooking competition’s account shared a few fond words in remembrance on Twitter following the taste guru’s passing:

“The #TopChef family is saddened to learn about the unexpected passing of Howard Kleinberg from season three. Howie’s passion for cooking filled so many and our deepest sympathy goes out to his family and friends.”

See the full post (below):

The restaurateur was clearly thought of very highly of by many. His mother, Susan Kleinberg, sat down with the Miami Herald on Tuesday to share some of her thoughts on her son’s legacy:

“I am just finding out how many lives he touched. He was married to his passion in life, which was his cooking.”

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It’s amazing that Howie got to spend his time doing exactly what he loved and was passionate about! He had owned and operated Bulldog Barbecue in Miami for the last 10 years following his run on Top Chef, as well as dishing up deliciousness at Smokey Bones and the Anderson. The culinary champ also participated in the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. As of recently, he began a run at the Peacock Garden Resto + Grill as an executive chef in Coconut Grove, which also extended condolences in a statement following his death:

“We at Peacock Garden are saddened by the passing of chef Howie Kleinberg. Howie was a valued member of our team and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family.”

He had begun this position only four months prior to his passing.

Howie’s funeral was held Tuesday morning. His obituary states that he will be survived by his mother, stepfather, sister, and her children. R.I.P.

[Image via Bravo]

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