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Chef Homaro Cantu, former competitor on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America and owner of Chicago’s avant-garde restaurant Moto, has died. He was 38.
Cantu was found dead inside of the building where he had reportedly planned to open a brewery on Tuesday afternoon. The cause of his death appears to have been hanging, and authorities are further investigating the case as a suicide, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Before owning and operating his own restaurant, Cantu worked for four years under renowned chef Charlie Trotter. Trotter’s protegé went on to open Moto, a Chicago-based restaurant that infuses science with fine dining in the form of edible menus. His experimentation with the West African “miracle berry,” a fruit that has the ability to make taste buds perceive sour foods as sweet, also heavily influenced the establishment of two more dining locations — the now closed-down iNG restaurant and Berrista coffee shop.
The chef’s work with the “miracle berry” has been featured in cookbooks emphasizing sugar free foods. Cantu also appeared in season three of the Food Network’s Iron Chef America competition.
Cantu is survived by his two daughters and wife Katie McGowan, whom he met while serving as sous chef in Trotter’s kitchen.
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