Famed chef and owner of Chicago's Michelin-starred Moto restaurant Homaro Cantu was found dead Tuesday, reports NBC Chicago.
The Chicago Tribune reported Cantu, 38, was found hanging in a building where he was planning a brewery and that suicide was suspected.
“I loved him dearly. It’s really terrible to see him go in this way. I’m going to miss him a lot,” Trevor Rose-Hamblin, Cantu’s friend and business partner, told The Sun-Times.
Cantu was best known for his molecular gastronomy and pushing the boundaries of taste and texture, famous for his unusual cuisine that included edible menus, carbonated fruit and a fish preparation that cooked in a tabletop polymer box.
He was also known for "flavor tripping" –where by eating something called a miracle berry, taste buds are temporarily fooled into think something sour is sweet.
Born in Tacoma, Wash., in 1976, Canut was homeless at one time and struggled with drugs.
After launching his culinary career, Cantu came to Chicago from the West Coast in the '90s to work under the world-renowned chef Charlie Trotter at his eponymous restaurant before opening Moto.
He met his wife, Katie McGowan, when she was a guest chef in Trotter's kitchen. They were married in 2003.
In a 2012 Chicago Tribune interview, Homaro revealed a glimpse into his science-minded take on the world:
“I was just taught very early that if I didn’t solve problems, I was headed for a very dark path. Problems were everywhere. Now even if there are no problems, I look for problems. I’m like, you know what? I don’t like the way this spoon works. I want to design a new spoon. Or I don’t like the way my phone integrates with my desktop; I want to come in and talk to my computer.”
The Chicago Tribune reported Homaro may have been experiencing money trouble and that his former partner and investor of two restaurants, Alexander Espalin, sued Cantu last month for using the two restaurant’s bank accounts for personal use, including meals, trips, and personal business.
Cantu is survived by McGowan, and the couple’s two young daughters.