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Tribeca Citizen | Crown Shy chef James Kent dies at age 45

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Tribeca Citizen | Crown Shy chef James Kent dies at age 45

The chef Jamal “James” Kent, a Fidi resident who opened Crown Shy at 70 Pine in 2019 and who began his profession three many years in the past as a 15-year-old apprentice to David Bouley, died yesterday morning. The restaurant introduced the information on Instagram. He was 45. This can be a large loss for Downtown as properly the New York Metropolis meals scene and business. His star had clearly risen, however it had quite a bit farther to go. He was additionally a beautiful, heat and gracious man, the married father of two youngsters. He might be so missed.

“We’re heartbroken to share that James Kent handed away unexpectedly earlier immediately,” the restaurant wrote on its Instagram. “The Saga Hospitality Group household is targeted on supporting one another and most significantly [his wife] Kelly, Gavin and Avery as we grieve James’ loss. Crown Shy, Saga and Overstory might be closed tomorrow: Sunday, June sixteenth. Have a good time Father’s Day together with your family members.”

Beginning in March 2019, issues moved in a short time ahead — and actually upward — for his firm, SAGA Hospitality Group. By November of that yr, he and his then-partner, Jeff Katz, had a Michelin star and plans for the highest 4 flooring of 70 Pine, the previous non-public condo for the founding father of Citgo. SAGA — an acronym of the enterprise companions’ kids’s names: Seylah, Ayla, Gavin and Avery — and Overstory, a riff on the Crown Shy idea, opened in late summer season 2021. SAGA had two stars by the next yr.

SAGA Hospitality Group additionally has three eating places within the works, for Midtown, Park Avenue and Williamsburg.

Kent’s roots are right here, downtown. As a child within the mid-90s, he was tagging subway vehicles for enjoyable when his mom satisfied him to ask David Bouley for a summer season apprenticeship. He was 15. In between these early beginnings and the opening of Crown Shy 25 years later is a protracted record of notable successes and awards at a few of the greatest eating places on the planet and right here (Le Cordon Bleu in London and Paris, the kitchens of Babbo, Jean-Georges and Gordon Ramsay, Eleven Madison Park underneath Daniel Humm, NoMad).

Kent was additionally an achieved graffiti artist who continued to hone his expertise on the streets and at LaGuardia Excessive College until he was arrested in his teenagers. He confirmed me some fast tags he did in SAGA whereas the area was nonetheless uncooked; fortunately somebody grabbed an image and the tags had been going to be framed for the finished restaurant.

He was additionally delicate to the work/life steadiness, very progressive for anybody in what’s a brutally demanding business. As a strategy to relieve the stress of the kitchen, Kent informed Eater that he started operating — along with his spouse, Kelly, and along with his workers — ultimately forming the Crown Shy Operating Membership. “He had grow to be an outspoken advocate for prioritizing psychological well being within the hospitality business,” Eater reported. Early within the pandemic, he and his associate assembled a marketing campaign — Aid Alternatives for All Eating places, or ROAR — to assist restaurant staff.

I at all times discovered the workers at his eating places to be heat and convivial — and to me that angle begins on the prime. You may see that mirrored in the best way Chef Kent reacted after I confirmed up on the fringe of the open kitchen with my cellphone to get the image above — he grabbed two cooks and leaned in the direction of me. Once I requested a waitress one time in the event that they did numerous yelling within the open kitchen, she mentioned the one factor she ever heard yelled throughout the room was “oui.”

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