Chef Howard ‘Howie’ Kleinberg, known for his stint on the third season of Top Chef, has died after suffering a heart attack. He was 46.
Howard, who was a restaurateur in Miami, passed away over the weekend, and his death was made public in a local obituary. The chef’s mother, Susan Kleinberg, has also confirmed that he died of a heart attack. Read on to know more about the former Top Chef contestant.
Top Chef Pays Condolences to the Deceased Chef
Top Chef have paid their condolences to Howard via a Tweet on their official Twitter handle. The tweet reads, “The #TopChef family is saddened to learn about the unexpected passing of Howard Kleinberg from season three. Howie’s passion for cooking filled so many and our deepest sympathy goes out to his family and friends.”
Howard’s mother, Susan Kleinberg, has also talked about her son with the newspaper Miami Herald. She said on Monday, “I am just finding out how many lives he touched. He was married to his passion in life, which was his cooking.”
Howard Appeared on the Third Season of Top Chef
Howie participated in the third season of Top Chef in 2007 and was placed seventh in the competition. Following the show, he started his own restaurant, Bulldog Barbecue, in Miami. According to his obituary, he then explored other fine dining ventures.
Howard also attended the annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival every year, and was recommended to Top Chef by the festival’s culinary director Terry Zarikian.
Howard was born at the North Miami General Hospital in South Florida, which later became the site of Johnson & Wales University, where he attended culinary school. “Isn’t that a full circle?” said his mother.
Howie’s father, Wally also died of a heart attack at the age of 34. Howie was only 6 years old back then. His mother was a career event planner who worked with caterers. Kleinberg studied at the North Miami Beach High and then went on to attend the Hyde School in Maine.
He then found a job in kitchen of the Hotel Intercontinental in downtown Miami. “He came home the first day complaining, ‘Look how red my hands are!’ But after a couple of weeks, he said, ‘I think I kind of like this,” recalled Susan about the initial phase of her son’s career as a chef.
Kleinberg Regularly Contributed to ‘Taste of the Nation’
Howie was said to be a man with a generous heart. He made huge donations for children who faced food insecurity and was a regular contributor to ‘Taste of the Nation’, which raises money to address childhood hunger. He also owned a pet rescue called Skye and raised money for pet shelters on several occasions.
Howard is survived by his mother, Susan Kleinberg, sister Amy (Kleinberg) Wildstein, and stepfather Ken Ratner. The family has said that donations can be made in Howard’s memory to the pet rescue Bullies-N-Beyond Rescue or to Feeding South Florida.
Our heartfelt condolences to the family of the departed soul. For more news and updates, keep watching this space.