LA Chef Mark Peel’s Cause of Death Relates to a Brief Illness
Unfortunately, a longtime LA chef and co-founder of Campanile and La Brea Bakery, Mark Peel, died at the age of 66. James Beard Foundation Award-nominated, Mark Peel’s cause of death is revealed on June 20, 2021, as a brief battle with cancer.
Mark Peel died at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center on Sunset Boulevard. His daughter Vanessa Silverton confirmed that her father was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer only nine days before his death.
Mark Peel was one of the most influential chefs and a longtime fixture of the city’s restaurant scene, who helped establish Los Angeles as a premier dining destination in the 1990s and into the 2010s.
He started working at Ma Maison in 1975 under Wolfgang Puck before joining Ken Frank and Jonathan Waxman as the opening group at Michael’s in Santa Monica in 1979, and also he worked with Alice Waters at Chez Panisse in 1981 before becoming the chef de cuisine of Spago.
Peel was co-founded Campanile with his then-wife Nancy Silverton in 1989. His most lasting legacy comes from Campanile, which was a definitive example of California cuisine, which the late critic Los Angeles Times critic Jonathan Gold hailed as one of LA’s best restaurants.
Just a few months before opening Campanile, Mark and his wife opened La Brea Bakery toward the front of the restaurant, which eventually turned into one of the most famous artisan bakeries in the US.
Mark and Nancy married in 1984, and in 1986, they left Spago and moved to New York City to run Maxwell’s Plum, only to return to Los Angeles after a year. They bought the space at 624 S. La Brea Ave. and transformed it into Campanile. They had opened La Brea Bakery a few months before Campanile and sold it in 2001, which is now a brand recognized around the world. Nancy Silverton left Campanile after their divorce.
Gold called Mark Peel the “most exacting grill chef in the country, a master who plays his smoldering logs the way Pinchas Zukerman does a Stradivarius” in a 2012 ode to the restaurant, which closed in 2013 to make way for République.
Gold also said it was “hard to overstate Campanile’s contributions to American cooking. It wasn’t the first fine restaurant in the county to operate with a grill at its heart, but it codified the style with first-rate ingredients and chefly virtuosity.”
LA Best Chef Mark Peel’s Cause of Death Announced
James Beard Award for Outstanding Restaurant winner in 2001, chef Mark Peel suddenly died of brief cancer at the age of 66.
The influences are still seen today, with restaurants like Charcoal, Angler, Rossoblu, Chi Spacca, Gwen, and many others adopting open-fire grilling that Campanile helped popularize. Campanile alumni include Sine Qua Nonwinery owner and winemaker Manfred Krankl, James Beard Aware winner Dahlia Narvaez of Mozza, Suzanne Tracht of Jar, Sumi Chang of Euro Pane, Matt Molina of Hippo, Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barnes, and Govind Armstrong of 8 Oz. Burger Bar.
Peel had recently operated Prawn at Downtown LA’s Grand Central Market, which initially started as Bomba in 2015 before switching to Prawn. The seafood restaurant and fish market wasn’t a critical darling but continue to serve reliable fares like Seattle fish stew and fish and chips. Prior to Prawn, Mark Peel had operated supper club-style restaurant the Tar Pit on La Brea Avenue in 2010-2012.
He participated in Top Chef Masters twice as a contestant over the years, and eventually a regular fixture on the food shows such as “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Knife Fight.” A profile in the New York Times detailed the physical toll working in the kitchen for decades took on Peel’s body in 2013, including various injuries such as bone spurs, hernias, and chronic sore back.
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Reactions to Mark Peel’s Death
Following the tragic news, several fans, friends, and supporters reacted and stated their condolences on social media websites. For tributes and prayers, you can kindly scroll down and use the comment box to share your feelings about the heartbreaking news.
Regarding Mark Peel’s death, his family revealed the following statement: “He was a husband, partner, father, grandfather, brother, and uncle with so much joy and aplomb. We will miss him and his cooking with all our hearts (and stomachs).” His family needs privacy; please respect them during this difficult time.
He leaves behind his daughter Vanessa and four other children: Benjamin and Oliver Silverton, and Vivien and Rex. Wolfgang Puck said: ” I still remember him as a young guy going to Pomona.”
One of his fans wrote on Twitter: “Oh no. I loved, loved, loved Campanile, and La Brea Bakery finally made decent bread mainstream in LA. He will be missed.”
One wrote: “Sad news: Mark Peel, the pioneering LA chef who ran the line at Spago and went on to define California cuisine at Campanile, has died after a short bout with cancer. @nytimes obit to come.”
Another online user tweeted: “Hit by this sad news on Father’s Day of the loss of chef Mark Peel to cancer at the age of 66 – in the 90s Campanile was iconic in so many ways, including its cathedral like space on La Brea— Rest In Peace Mr. Peel.”