Chef Mark Peel, a pioneer of California cuisine, has died

Chef Mark Peel, an L.A. chef credited with helping to pioneer California cuisine, died on Sunday, just days after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, The Los Angeles Times reports. He was a silly and loving father to five. Peel began working at restaurants in high school, moving on to restaurants Spago and Campanile. The 66-year-old’s most recent venture was the food stand Prawn Coastal at L.A.’s Grand Central Market. Our own West Coast editor Karen Stabiner profiled Peel for The New York Times back in 2013, soon after he closed Campanile and was preparing to launch a smaller version of the restaurant at the Los Angeles International Airport. Decades of long work days and physical strain had taken a toll on Peel’s body, and he was ready to “train, taste, advise, direct and organize” younger chefs. “At some point, the mind is willing but the body rebels,” Peel said. “Most chefs over 50 are no longer cooking daily.”

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