Update: Cause of chef Michael Chiarello’s deadly allergic reaction may remain a mystery

Family requests donations to Meals on Wheels in his memory

Michael Chiarello, the highly acclaimed Bay Area chef, entrepreneur, cookbook author, and vintner who died of an allergic reaction that sent him into anaphylactic shock, was laid to rest privately on Monday.

Chiarello passed away on Friday at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa, where he had been hospitalized for several days. He was 61.

“The doctors don’t know what caused the allergic reaction, and neither does the family,” said a spokesman for Gruppo Chiarello on Monday. “They may never know.”

The restaurants in the Bay Area group will remain open to honor Chiarello’s legacy. The Cal-Italian Bottega is located in Napa Valley’s Yountville. Coqueta serves Spanish cuisine at two locations in San Francisco: The Embarcadero and Yountville. All are open for lunch and dinner every day. Ottimo cafe and market in Yountville is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Growing up in Turlock with Italian-American parents, he learned their Calabrian recipes and decided early on a career path. He began his restaurant apprenticeship at the age of 14 and graduated from the Culinary Institute of America at the age of 20. He was the original chef at Napa Valley’s legendary Tra Vigne. His television appearances established him as a celebrity chef, and his cookbooks and culinary products established him in American homes.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions to Meals on Wheels, a charity that serves 2 million senior citizens across the country.

Chiarello leaves behind four children from two marriages.

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