The Los Angeles culinary community mourned the loss of famed chef and restaurateur Mark Peel, who died Sunday at age 66.
Credited with helping to put Los Angeles on the world’s culinary map, Peel was diagnosed only recently with an aggressive form of cancer. He leaves five children, including three with his former wife Nancy Silverton, also a renowned chef and restaurateur.
He is survived by his wife, TV host and comedian Daphne Brogdon, with whom he had two children.
Peel got his start in the industry at Ma Maison in 1975, the restaurant where Wolfgang Puck came into the national spotlight. Peel later helped Puck open the original Spago in West Hollywood. But, before that, Peel worked at Michael’s in Santa Monica, where he met future wife and business partner Silverton, and he also spent time in the kitchen at Alice Waters’ famed Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif.
As chef de cuisine at Spago, Peel insisted that Puck hire Silverton as pastry chef. The couple later married, moved to New York briefly to run Maxwell’s Plum, then returned to Spago. They soon opened their own venture together: the restaurant Campanile, which enjoyed two decades as one of LA’s premier restaurants before it closed in 2012.
While at Campanile, Peel and Silverton launched the La Brea Bakery, which they later sold.
The couple divorced and Silverton went on to launch her Mozza empire. Peel’s most recent concept was the fast-casual Prawn at Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles, serving fresh seafood cooked in broth out of steam kettles.
Peel also appeared on the Bravo series “Top Chef” as a guest judge and chef master contestant.
Described as a “chef’s chef” who generously supported the St. Vincent Meals on Wheels program, Peel’s loss was noted by chefs around the country.
Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout