LTH Home

Homaro Cantu found dead

Homaro Cantu found dead
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
     Page 1 of 2
  • Homaro Cantu found dead

    Post #1 - April 14th, 2015, 6:17 pm
  • Post #2 - April 14th, 2015, 6:39 pm
    Post #2 - April 14th, 2015, 6:39 pm Post #2 - April 14th, 2015, 6:39 pm
    Speculation will be rife but, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter. What a huge loss to the city, the community and, of course, his family.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #3 - April 14th, 2015, 6:56 pm
    Post #3 - April 14th, 2015, 6:56 pm Post #3 - April 14th, 2015, 6:56 pm
    There has been quite a bit of apparent profound grief from sufferers in the last few weeks. A deputy I knew as well as famed plastic surgeon Brandt and now Cantu.

    It is always a shock to those who get the news. And I always wonder if these souls knew how much folks cared about them and their work if it would at least beat back that profound grief creating an unburdened oasis so that they can continue to thrive.-- Pax
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #4 - April 14th, 2015, 6:57 pm
    Post #4 - April 14th, 2015, 6:57 pm Post #4 - April 14th, 2015, 6:57 pm
    Way too young. We were the exact same age.
  • Post #5 - April 14th, 2015, 7:29 pm
    Post #5 - April 14th, 2015, 7:29 pm Post #5 - April 14th, 2015, 7:29 pm
    So sad and devastated about this news. My heart goes out to his family.
    Twitter: @Goof_2
  • Post #6 - April 14th, 2015, 7:33 pm
    Post #6 - April 14th, 2015, 7:33 pm Post #6 - April 14th, 2015, 7:33 pm
    Gonzo70 wrote:So sad and devastated about this news. My heart goes out to his family.


    Mine too. They are his legacy even more than miracle-berries, ingenious gadgetry, and some of the most memorable courses I've had.
  • Post #7 - April 14th, 2015, 7:40 pm
    Post #7 - April 14th, 2015, 7:40 pm Post #7 - April 14th, 2015, 7:40 pm
    pairs4life wrote:... I always wonder if these souls knew how much folks cared about them and their work if it would at least beat back that profound grief creating an unburdened oasis so that they can continue to thrive.-- Pax


    Thank you pairs. You've put it better than I ever could hope too. Indeed, pax to Homaro and all those who spent time close to him. I am greatly saddened and regretful of the loss.


    --------------
    There are some secrets which do not permit themselves to be told. (Poe)
  • Post #8 - April 14th, 2015, 9:49 pm
    Post #8 - April 14th, 2015, 9:49 pm Post #8 - April 14th, 2015, 9:49 pm
    Oh no ...so very very sad. He's someone I always admired ... oh no.
  • Post #9 - April 14th, 2015, 10:04 pm
    Post #9 - April 14th, 2015, 10:04 pm Post #9 - April 14th, 2015, 10:04 pm
    I was so sorry to hear about this. Just this afternoon, I had run across a note he sent me after I did a good review of Moto. Such an enthusiastic man. He will be missed by us all, but I'm particularly sad for his family.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #10 - April 15th, 2015, 8:50 am
    Post #10 - April 15th, 2015, 8:50 am Post #10 - April 15th, 2015, 8:50 am
    Big loss. Always looked up to the guy.
  • Post #11 - April 15th, 2015, 8:54 am
    Post #11 - April 15th, 2015, 8:54 am Post #11 - April 15th, 2015, 8:54 am
    I'll never forget the dessert hamburger course at Moto. Almond macarons as a bun, chocolate brownie for meat, mint paste for lettuce, banana paste for mustard, strawberry paste for ketchup. It even came wrapped in foil and it looked exactly like a hamburger. Dessert should always be this fun.
  • Post #12 - April 15th, 2015, 9:04 am
    Post #12 - April 15th, 2015, 9:04 am Post #12 - April 15th, 2015, 9:04 am
    The LTH dinner at moto where he recreated the beet battle from Iron Chef will always stand out as one of my treasured dining memories.
  • Post #13 - April 15th, 2015, 9:07 am
    Post #13 - April 15th, 2015, 9:07 am Post #13 - April 15th, 2015, 9:07 am
    Octarine wrote:The LTH dinner at moto where he recreated the beet battle from Iron Chef will always stand out as one of my treasured dining memories.

    Was it this one?
  • Post #14 - April 15th, 2015, 9:09 am
    Post #14 - April 15th, 2015, 9:09 am Post #14 - April 15th, 2015, 9:09 am
    Hi,

    Omar was a happy person, who loved his wife and daughters. He was creative and always a joy to talk to. When we had the second Moto dinner, where he served the dishes from Iron Chef, he offered everyone an opportunity to guest-chef at his restaurant. Jyoti and I were the only ones who took up his offer.

    Since I signed a non-disclosure I never did describe the day, though it was an interesting look behind the curtain in the Land of Omar.

    A few years ago, he began writing an autobiography, which he posted segments on facebook. Very rough beginning, where Omar and his sister seemed to be raising themselves. If he had gone bad, it would not have been a surprise.

    Whatever happened is yet to be explained, if ever. I prefer to remember what I saw: someone who pulled himself up to a happy, wonderful life.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #15 - April 15th, 2015, 9:56 am
    Post #15 - April 15th, 2015, 9:56 am Post #15 - April 15th, 2015, 9:56 am
    HI,

    I just read what Mike Gebert (Mike G) wrote for The Reader. It is well worth the time to read. It includes excerpts and links to the autobiography he was noodling.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #16 - April 15th, 2015, 7:41 pm
    Post #16 - April 15th, 2015, 7:41 pm Post #16 - April 15th, 2015, 7:41 pm
    It's taken me a little bit of time to process my thoughts on this, and I'm not sure I've really finished thinking about it.

    I'm unbelievably saddened by this for a number of reasons.

    A little background- prior to my first dining experience at Moto I'd done a lot of fine dining in New York, SF, Chicago and elsewhere. Somewhere in my 20's I got to be lucky enough to be taken to some wonderful places and had many wonderful meals, but I always found myself looking for something different, something more creative and eye-opening. Not a knock on any of the places I ate- many were terrific, but I was looking for something new.

    I happened to pick up a Gourmet or Bon Appetit magazine around that time with a short piece about Homaru and Moto and an approach to doughnut soup. I knew I had to go.

    My first experience I dined alone, which I often do when I travel for work. Sit, no phone, no newspaper, and just take in every sense of a meal. My reaction was intense. I had found what I was looking for- someone willing to push me outside of my boundaries, to challenge my views of what fine cuisine could be and how immersive of an experience you could make dining. Put simply, I was blown away.

    I brought my wife to Moto on December 30, 2006 where we shared a two-top on a snowy, cold Chicago winter evening. It was our longest meal together, and our most adventurous. It was at that meal I realized this would be the woman I would marry and eventually have children with.

    On July 20, 2007 we returned to do the 10-course. During that meal we went on the kitchen tour where I proposed to my wife in front of Omar and the entire kitchen staff. We both left the kitchen with joyous tears.

    We've returned to Moto since and we went to Otom many times while it was open, but nothing can replace those memories and how they impacted my life. Food is one of my passions, and no one has done more for it than Homaru did.

    I'm still pretty torn up, even a day later, to someone I wasn't related to, but whose work meant a lot to me. I will miss his creativity and approach to what can be. I'm grateful to have experienced it as many times as I did. My heart goes out to his family and friends.
    is making all his reservations under the name Steve Plotnicki from now on.
  • Post #17 - April 15th, 2015, 8:15 pm
    Post #17 - April 15th, 2015, 8:15 pm Post #17 - April 15th, 2015, 8:15 pm
    If nothing else, LTH is a portal for memories. I love that and treasure it.
    Reading is a right. Censorship is not.
  • Post #18 - April 16th, 2015, 2:55 pm
    Post #18 - April 16th, 2015, 2:55 pm Post #18 - April 16th, 2015, 2:55 pm
    Image

    In lieu of flowers the Cantu family asks kindly make donations to:
    Cantu Children's Trust
    1555 Sherman Ave
    Box 177
    Evanston, IL 60201

    Omar's wife Katie posted on Facebook, "If you want his legacy to live on, go try his food, experience his visions. That's all he wanted."
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =1&theater

    Moto will reopen Saturday:
    https://twitter.com/kurtgessler/status/ ... 3054271488

    Moto reservations details here:
    http://motorestaurant.com/reservations/

    Berrista "will be closed until next week" I was told yesterday when I phoned. Menu and online ordering with curbside pickup details here:
    http://berrista.com/menu/
  • Post #19 - April 17th, 2015, 4:48 pm
    Post #19 - April 17th, 2015, 4:48 pm Post #19 - April 17th, 2015, 4:48 pm
    In which Brandon Baltzley confirms my long-held suspicion that he's kind of an ass:

    Trying to Make Sense of Homaro Cantu's Death
  • Post #20 - April 17th, 2015, 5:20 pm
    Post #20 - April 17th, 2015, 5:20 pm Post #20 - April 17th, 2015, 5:20 pm
    watson wrote:In which Brandon Baltzley confirms my long-held suspicion that he's kind of an ass:

    [url=http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/18/dining/trying-to-make-sense-of-homaro-cantus-death.html?hpw&rref&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=well-region®ion=bottom-well&WT.nav=bottom-well]Trying to Make Sense of Homaro Cantu's Death[/url]


    I dunno. I think eulogistic commentary usually veers toward the overwhelming positive, as perhaps out of respect is right and proper, but to address the full figure of the man, I don't think it's out of line to acknowledge the darkness.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #21 - April 17th, 2015, 6:02 pm
    Post #21 - April 17th, 2015, 6:02 pm Post #21 - April 17th, 2015, 6:02 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    I dunno. I think eulogistic commentary usually veers toward the overwhelming positive, as perhaps out of respect is right and proper, but to address the full figure of the man, I don't think it's out of line to acknowledge the darkness.


    Oh, I agree. I just think it's pretty rich for BB to throw shade at anyone else's "failures." Have a little humility and decency.
  • Post #22 - April 17th, 2015, 6:04 pm
    Post #22 - April 17th, 2015, 6:04 pm Post #22 - April 17th, 2015, 6:04 pm
    watson wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:
    I dunno. I think eulogistic commentary usually veers toward the overwhelming positive, as perhaps out of respect is right and proper, but to address the full figure of the man, I don't think it's out of line to acknowledge the darkness.


    Oh, I agree. I just think it's pretty rich for BB to throw shade at anyone else's "failures." Have a little humility and decency.


    Or, take it just a little differently, who better to speak to restaurant failures than one experienced in such things?
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #23 - April 17th, 2015, 6:13 pm
    Post #23 - April 17th, 2015, 6:13 pm Post #23 - April 17th, 2015, 6:13 pm
    Hammond, you are my hero! Might I ask you to post the pic of you guys in your flame shirt. It made me smile wide today and I'm sure others would as well.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #24 - April 17th, 2015, 6:20 pm
    Post #24 - April 17th, 2015, 6:20 pm Post #24 - April 17th, 2015, 6:20 pm
    Jen, that's very kind of you. I'm working on a piece for Newcity that features that pic, and I'll post both here when it's up. I've been out of town and I spent the last few hours watching videos of him making Cuban sandwiches that looked like Cuban cigars, explaining Flavor Tripping, and generally being the fantastically funny guy that he was.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #25 - April 17th, 2015, 6:50 pm
    Post #25 - April 17th, 2015, 6:50 pm Post #25 - April 17th, 2015, 6:50 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    watson wrote:
    David Hammond wrote:
    I dunno. I think eulogistic commentary usually veers toward the overwhelming positive, as perhaps out of respect is right and proper, but to address the full figure of the man, I don't think it's out of line to acknowledge the darkness.


    Oh, I agree. I just think it's pretty rich for BB to throw shade at anyone else's "failures." Have a little humility and decency.


    Or, take it just a little differently, who better to speak to restaurant failures than one experienced in such things?


    I'm wondering why he rates a quote at all. Brandon who?
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #26 - April 17th, 2015, 7:26 pm
    Post #26 - April 17th, 2015, 7:26 pm Post #26 - April 17th, 2015, 7:26 pm
    I'm wondering why he rates a quote at all. Brandon who?


    I'm baffled by why the author refers to him as a "Chicago chef." Really? When is the last time he worked at a restaurant in Chicago, let alone ran a kitchen properly? Disgraceful and terribly disrespectful. Homaro Cantu may not have been perfect, but that this ne'er-do-well yutz would have the temerity to trash him - and in the NY Times, of all places! - boggles the mind.
  • Post #27 - April 17th, 2015, 8:03 pm
    Post #27 - April 17th, 2015, 8:03 pm Post #27 - April 17th, 2015, 8:03 pm
    David Hammond wrote:
    Or, take it just a little differently, who better to speak to restaurant failures than one experienced in such things?


    Someone experienced in restaurant failures who emerged from them with some humility and decency, maybe? Or empathy? I haven't read Baltzley's book but I take the article to imply that he wrote about Cantu therein, which would explain why the NYT reporter contacted him for a quote. If that's not right, somebody please set me straight.
  • Post #28 - April 18th, 2015, 12:45 am
    Post #28 - April 18th, 2015, 12:45 am Post #28 - April 18th, 2015, 12:45 am
    I agree with other posts that the NYT post was odd, and imagine there are chefs who knew Omar better than Brandon Baltzley who were willing to be interviewed. With that said, I'd like to suggest that perhaps this could be a week to be gentle to troubled individuals rather than calling them names. We really have no idea how our comments might affect others, especially when they're down.
  • Post #29 - April 18th, 2015, 10:15 am
    Post #29 - April 18th, 2015, 10:15 am Post #29 - April 18th, 2015, 10:15 am
    In Memorium Homaro Cantu: Omar Made Us Laugh


    Omar and me, photo Derrek Hull.jpg Omar and me, photo Derrek Hull


    I met Homaro “Omar” Cantu in 2004, a few months after he’d opened Moto, when I went there to dinner with some sixteen or so friends. One of those friends, Catherine Lambrecht, brought a container of raccoon meat. Chef Cantu, prankster that he was, got a hold of the meat, minced it with spices (there was juniper in there, and perhaps garlic) and arranged it on a plate that had a dotted yellow line running down the center and a few clusters of unidentifiable though edible debris scattered about. On the mound of raccoon meat, Cantu positioned a picture of a raccoon that he’d downloaded and printed on edible paper with edible ink. It was a roadkill tableau that a few weeks later inspired a totally bullshit Time magazine article about an “avid hunter” who brought in the freshly killed raccoon and challenged Cantu to prepare it. It was one of the most ingenious, entertaining and hilarious meals I’d ever been served, and it goes to show that even Time magazine could be taken in by Cantu’s antics.

    In 2010, my wife Carolyn and I were invited to Moto to appear on-camera for a Planet Green television series entitled Future Food. It was “reality” television (i.e. essentially fiction-based narrative posing as documentary), and it examined how chefs like Cantu were working to change the way we eat, ensure the sustainability of food, and feed a hungry planet. At the beginning of this show, Cantu addressed his kitchen staff, solemnly saying something like “David Hammond is coming to dinner tonight. He’s a food critic. He can close down this restaurant with a bad review.” This, of course, was unadulterated malarkey. The narrative arc of the segment ended with a scene the following morning: as the sun came up over Moto, Cantu and Roche looked over “my review” (which I posted on Chicago chat site LTHForum.com), and breathed a sigh of relief that, thank goodness, the mighty “critic” had wielded his power in such a way that their restaurant would be able to stay open another day.

    For full story, follow the link: http://resto.newcity.com/2015/04/18/hom ... -us-laugh/
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #30 - April 18th, 2015, 10:54 am
    Post #30 - April 18th, 2015, 10:54 am Post #30 - April 18th, 2015, 10:54 am
    David Hammond wrote:I met Homaro “Omar” Cantu in 2004, a few months after he’d opened Moto, when I went there to dinner with some sixteen or so friends. One of those friends, Catherine Lambrecht, brought a container of raccoon meat. Chef Cantu, prankster that he was, got a hold of the meat, minced it with spices (there was juniper in there, and perhaps garlic) and arranged it on a plate that had a dotted yellow line running down the center and a few clusters of unidentifiable though edible debris scattered about. On the mound of raccoon meat, Cantu positioned a picture of a raccoon that he’d downloaded and printed on edible paper with edible ink. It was a roadkill tableau that a few weeks later inspired a totally bullshit Time magazine article about an “avid hunter” who brought in the freshly killed raccoon and challenged Cantu to prepare it. It was one of the most ingenious, entertaining and hilarious meals I’d ever been served, and it goes to show that even Time magazine could be taken in by Cantu’s antics.


    I have very fond memories of that meal as well. Here's a photo from my files of the aforementioned dish.

    Moto Racoon Roadkill
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more