Former ‘Top Chef’ star Howard Kleinberg died last weekend after suffering a heart attack, his mother told the Miami Herald. He was 46.
“I’m just finding out how many lives he touched,” she said of her son, who owned and ran Bulldog Barbecue in North Miami for 10 years.
“He was married to his passion in life, which is his cooking.”
The funeral of the beloved chef took place Tuesday morning.
Kleinberg appeared in the third season of “Top Chef” after Terry Zarikian, culinary director of the South Beach food festival, recommended him for the Bravo cooking competition series. He finished seventh.
“The ‘Top Chef’ family is saddened to learn of the unexpected passing of Howard Kleinberg from season three,” Bravo said in a statement. “Howie’s passion for cooking has fulfilled so many, and our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends.”
Just four months ago, Kleinberg had started working at Coconut Grove, Florida, restaurant the Peacock Garden Resto Bar + Grill as a chef.
“We at Peacock Garden are saddened by the passing of Chef Howie Kleinberg,” the restaurant said in a statement. “Howie was a valued member of our team and we extend our deepest condolences to his family.”
Throughout his successful career as a chef, which began in the kitchen of the Hotel Intercontinental in Miami, Kleinberg has worked in support of philanthropic causes close to his heart, including contributing to “Taste of the Nation,” which raises money to to tackle the hunger of his youth. He also worked to raise money for animal shelters, in addition to having a rescue dog, Skye, at the time of his death.
Kleinberg’s family requested donations in memory of the animal rescue Bullies-N-Beyond Rescue or Feeding South Florida.