We lost an extraordinary voice on Tuesday, one that inspired his guests to think, imagine, savor, and smile.
I first connected with chef Homaro Cantu in 2003 through discussions on eGullet forums, although I didn’t realize it at the time. I met a member who used the handle “inventolux”; all I knew about this person was that he or she was incredibly knowledgeable. We began to correspond directly, and eventually I pieced together enough information to realize I was talking to Cantu.
I finally met him in person at Moto. Dining at that Modernist mecca was always an experience of both technological wonder and gustatory delight. Chef Cantu was truly a showman—his food elicited a sense of surprise and shock that ignited the imaginations of his guests. He became famous for his “printed food” and was perhaps the most technologically advanced wizard on Chicago’s culinary scene. Even more importantly, his edible innovations echoed who he was: an intelligent, wildly creative pioneer who always had a twinkle in his eye.
Chef Cantu had a deep interest in invention that extended beyond the sleek dining room of Moto and its high-end cuisine. He wholeheartedly believed that novel approaches to food can help solve critical problems. He wanted to find solutions that would feed the hungry and help us live healthier lives. He cared deeply about the culinary community and was instrumental in establishing The Trotter Project to honor the legacy of his mentor, Charlie Trotter.
Homaro Cantu enchanted guests with playful, avant-garde food and inspired his fellow chefs to create, take risks, and dream big. Cantu was an innovator, a scientist, a passionate chef, and a generous friend. Our hearts go out to his family and to his team. He will be profoundly missed.