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Good Night, Good Guy – Anthony Sedlak passes away

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UPDATE: I received a press release from The American Cheesesteak Co. This is what it said:

Vancouver, B.C. – July 10th, 2012)  Anthony Sedlak, a driving creative force behind the Vancouver restaurant, The American Cheesesteak Co., passed away suddenly at the age of 29 at his North Vancouver home.  One of Canada’s most vibrant young chefs, Sedlak leaves a legacy of culinary achievements.

“We are extremely saddened by Anthony’s passing,” said Andy Eng, co-owner of The American Cheesesteak Co. “He was a great chef, whose passion for food was inspiring. He literally nourished us and warmed our hearts. He left an unforgettable mark on the culinary world, but most importantly, he was an incredible person and a great friend. Anthony will be deeply missed.”

Sedlak spent a year, along with his partners, developing the concept and menu for The American Cheesesteak Co., which opened in Vancouver in October 2011. The restaurant was Sedlak’s much-heralded return to his West Coast roots. He had already established himself as one of Canada’s brightest culinary talents, after winning Food Network’s Superstar Chef Challenge in 2006, hosting four seasons of the series The Main, and writing a best-selling cookbook. With the launch of The American Cheesesteak Co., he brought to Vancouver a contemporary, gourmet take on one of his favourite regional dishes – the Philly Cheesesteak.

After the opening of The American Cheesesteak Co., Anthony went on to be involved in two television series produced by Force Four Entertainment Inc.: Family Cook Off (Food Network) and Million Dollar Neighbourhood (OWN). He recently re-launched the menus for the Toronto Don Valley Hotel and Suites.

“Anthony’s creativity, vision, and passion permeate every facet of our restaurant,” Eng said.  “All of us at The American Cheesesteak Co. feel the huge void left by his passing. We are proud to be a part of Anthony’s incredible legacy.”

Like everyone else today, I was shocked and blown away by the news that Anthony Sedlak had passed away. I’ve sat in front of my computer for a good two hours and I still don’t know what to say. I really didn’t know him, I met him once at the opening of The American Cheesesteak Co.

What I most remember about that evening, is how royally Anthony treated me. The room was buzzing with people, but he made a point to stop by a few times to where I was seated and bring me different dishes to try. Our conversation turned to his tattoos, and he allowed me to photograph most of them. I drew the line at him taking off his shirt completely, but he was very playful.

Ever since then, I’ve written about Chef Sedlak a handful of times about his community involvement with Karma Exchange and ArtsClub. Based on my short interaction with him, and the charities he supported, I have a wonderful picture of Chef Sedlak as a kind, fun loving person who also had a strong social conscience.

My condolences to his family and friends. The food community has lost a wonderful chef, and the world a wonderful human being.


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