Public memorial mass for Jean-Robert de Cavel scheduled

CINCINNATI (WXIX) – A memorial mass will be held in January in honor of Jean-Robert de Cavel, the city’s most famous celebrity chef.

Mass will be held at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains on West 8th Street in downtown Cincinnati, according to Dobbling, a Muehlenkamp-Erschell funeral home.

It will take place at 9:30 am on January 16, 2023. It will be performed by Rev. Barry Windholz and Rev. Jan Schmidt.

Participants are asked to wear the color blue, as it was Jean-Robert’s favorite color.

In lieu of flowers, commemorative donations to the de Cavel Family SIDS Foundation can be made.

de Cavel died peacefully in his sleep on December 23 after a five-year battle with cancer. He leaves his wife Annette Pfund de Cavel and his beloved daughter Letitia.

“Cincinnati will miss a wonderful, loving chef. But most of all, my daughter and I will miss our husband and dad,” said Annette.

de Cavel is one of the most famous chefs in Queen City.

“He will live forever in this city because he raised the bar,” said fellow restaurateur and close friend Jeff Ruby. “He became the target everyone wanted to be like.”

Although Ruby and de Cavel were rivals, Ruby says the relationship between them was strong and that de Cavel always brought out the best in every chef.

“There’s an old saying that familiarity breeds contempt,” Ruby said. “I’m saying familiarity breeds respect.”

Born in France, de Cavel moved to Cincinnati in 1993 at the age of 32 to become head chef at Maisonette, formerly downtown in what is now Boca.

Cincinnati’s ongoing restaurant renaissance has its roots in de Cavel’s culinary empire, which has grown over time to include Chalk, Table, Pigalls, JeanRo, Pho Paris, Greenup Cafe, Twist, Lavomatic, French Crust, Le Bar e Beouf, Frenchie Fresh and Restaurant L.

Lavomatic was the first restaurant to open on Vine Street in Zarein as part of the redevelopment of the area.

“He has done so much for the city,” said Britney Ruby Miller, CEO of Jeff Ruby Culinary Entertainment.

de Cavel has provided refined and sophisticated French cuisine throughout his career, most recently at Restaurant L. However, over time he has shown an increasing penchant for casual bistro-style food, and many of his later endeavors reflect this.

Part of the roadway at Vine Street and Seventh Street was designated the Jean-Robert de Cavel Road earlier this year.

Jean-Robert de Cavel and Jeff Ruby at the street renaming ceremony.
Jean-Robert de Cavel and Jeff Ruby at the street renaming ceremony.(XIX)

In 2007, Maîtres Cuisiniers de France named him chef.

He is also a four-time James Beard Great Lakes Chef nominee and a three-time James Beard Midwest Chef nominee.

De Cavel’s philanthropy has centered around the de Cavel Family’s SIDS Foundation. The Eat.Play.Give Foundation Brunch: Friends and Family SIDS Brunch is the largest SIDS fundraiser in the country.

A funeral decision has not been made at this time.

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