Homaro Cantu: Famous Chef Dead, Found Hanging In Restaurant

Homaro Cantu, Chicago’s critically acclaimed chef was found dead Tuesday afternoon. Chicago police are investigating Cantu’s death, suspecting Homaro committed suicide by hanging.

Tuesday afternoon, at around 1:00 PM, Homaro Cantu’s body was found hanging inside his new restaurant, Crooked Fork Brewing, on Chicago’s Northwest side, on West Montrose Avenue. Cantu had plans to open the restaurant with his partner, Trevor Rose-Hamblin.

According to Sun Timesstory coverage, EL Ideas Chef Phillip Foss said Homaro Cantu was homeless at one time. Foss added Canto was also an addict before he started working in famous chef Charlie Trotter’s renowned restaurant.

Foss made the following comment about Homaro.

“I hear a lot of stories about a top chef coming up from nothing and going on to great things, but his nothing is a much deeper place than almost anybody I ever knew as a chef. To go and to have success that he did. It’s just sad that it has to end like this, and we’re just pretty broken up tonight.”

Homaro Cantu was a unique chef. He used science in his cooking. For example, aside from inventing new dishes, he found ways to solve problems. He created edible menus, as well as carbonated fruit with a berry, known as “flavor tripping” drinks, making sour beverages taste sweet without adding any sugar.

Chef Matthias Merges spent four years working with Homaro in Trotter’s kitchen.

The owner and executive chef at Yusho briefly described how it was working with Cantu.

“It was really inspiring to see someone who would come up with an idea that’s so wacky and he would be like, ‘I need to go with it,’ and that’s how Moto was born and all his other projects. I think it was a testament to his creative drive and passion that so inspired myself and a generation of chefs.”

In a 2012 Chicago Tribune interview, Homaro shared his thoughts on his unique view on life.

“I was just taught very early that if I didn’t solve problems, I was headed for a very dark path. Problems were everywhere. Now even if there are no problems, I look for problems. I’m like, you know what? I don’t like the way this spoon works. I want to design a new spoon. Or I don’t like the way my phone integrates with my desktop; I want to come in and talk to my computer.”

The Chicago Tribune reported Homaro’s former partner and investor of two restaurants, Alexander Espalin, sued 38-year-old Cantu last month for using the two restaurant’s bank accounts for personal use, including meals, trips, and personal business. Espalin alleges Homaro did not pay him the profits owed to him for his investment in iNG and Moto restaurants.

Homaro lived with his wife, Katie McGowan, and the couple’s two young daughters in the Old Irving Park community of Chicago, Illinois. Later today, Cook County medical examiner’s office is scheduled to perform an autopsy on Homaro Cantu.

[Photo via Homaro Cantu/about.me]