What Was Michael Chiarello’s Net Worth?

Michael Chiarello was an American celebrity chef who had a net worth of $3.5 million. Michael Chiarello opened The Grand Bay Hotel and Toby’s Bar and Grill in Florida early in his career, and he later owned California restaurants such as Tra Vigne, Bottega, and Coqueta. Michael also owned the winery Chiarello Family Vineyards and the store NapaStyle in Yountville, California.

He hosted and executive produced “Season by Season” on PBS, “Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello” on the Food Network, and “NapaStyle” on the Fine Living Network, and he appeared on the television programs “Top Chef,” “Top Chef Masters,” “The Next Iron Chef,” “Unique Eats,” “The Best Thing I Ever Made,” “Restaurant: Impossible,” and “Chopped.” Chiarello published the cookbooks “Flavored Oils and Flavored Vinegars” (1995), “Tra Vigne Cookbook” (1999), “Napa Stories” (2001), “Michael Chiarello’s Casual Cooking” (2002), “At Home with Michael Chiarello: Easy Entertaining” (2005), “Michael Chiarello’s Easy Entertaining Deck: 50 Irresistibly Simple Recipes” (2007), “Bottega: Bold Italian Flavors from the Heart of California’s Wine Country” (2010), and “Michael Chiarello’s Live Fire: 125 Recipes for Cooking Outdoors” (May 1, 2013). The Culinary Institute of America named Michael Chef of the Year in 1995.

Sadly, Chiarello passed away from anaphylactic shock after an allergic reaction on October 6, 2023, at the age of 61.

Early Life

Michael Chiarello was born Michael Dominic Chiarello on January 26, 1962, in Red Bluff, California. Michael came from an Italian-American family, and according to his official website, “From his earliest childhood experiences – created around his mother’s California kitchen with his extended Italian family of butchers, cheesemakers and ranchers – Michael Chiarello dreamed of becoming a chef one day.” He attended the Culinary Institute of America, graduating in 1982. Michael then enrolled at Florida International University to study hospitality management, and he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1984.

Career

In 1985, Chiarello opened The Grand Bay Hotel in Florida, followed by Toby’s Bar and Grill, and “Food & Wine Magazine” named him Chef of the Year. He later moved back to California, settling in the Napa Valley. He took a job as a chef at The Heritage Restaurant, and after it went bankrupt, he opened Tra Vigne restaurant. Michael was the executive chef at several restaurants, such as Ajax Tavern (Aspen, Colorado), Caffe Museo (San Francisco, California), and Bistecca Italian Steakhouse (Scottsdale, Arizona). In 2000, he hosted the PBS cooking show “Season by Season,” then he hosted the Food Network’s “Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello,” which won three Daytime Emmys, including Outstanding Service Show Host. He also hosted the Fine Living Network show “NapaStyle,” and in 2009, he competed on the Bravo reality competition “Top Chef Masters,” finishing in second place. In 2011, Michael competed on the Food Network series “The Next Iron Chef” and was eliminated in the second-to-last episode. In 2013, he opened the Spanish restaurant Coqueta in San Francisco, and it was a finalist for the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant that year. He later opened a Coqueta restaurant in Napa Valley. At the time of his death in 2023, Chiarello also owned the Italian restaurants Bottega and Ottimo in Napa Valley.

Michael Chiarello

Dave Kotinsky/ Getty Images

Personal Life

Michael had three daughters, Felicia, Margaux, and Giana, with his first wife, Ines Bartel. Chiarello had a son named Aidan with his second wife, Eileen Gordon, who he married in 2004. Michael filed for divorce from Eileen in 2019. In March 2016, two of Chiarello’s former employees filed lawsuits against him, alleging that he had committed labor law violations and sexual harassment. The sexual harassment lawsuit was settled in 2017. In November 2016, Michael was arrested for “suspicion of DUI and possession of a controlled substance” in Napa County. He was released a few hours later after paying $5,000 bail.

Death

On October 6, 2023, Michael died at the age of 61 after he was hospitalized for an allergic reaction at Napa’s Queen of the Valley Medical Center. The cause of his death was anaphylactic shock, and a Gruppo Chiarello representative told “People” magazine a few days after Michael’s death, “The doctors don’t know what caused the allergic reaction and neither does the family. They may never know.” After Chiarello’s death, his family released a statement reading “We deeply mourn the loss of our beloved patriarch Michael. His culinary brilliance, boundless creativity, and unwavering commitment to family were at the core of his being. He brought people together through the joy of shared meals, fostering lasting memories around the table. As we navigate this profound loss, we hold dear the moments we cherished with him, both in his kitchens and in our hearts. His legacy will forever live on in the love he poured into every dish and the passion he instilled in all of us to savor life’s flavors.” Chiarello’s family asked that in lieu of flowers, mourners make donations to Meals on Wheels in honor of Michael, “ensuring his commitment to culinary excellence and sustainability lives on.”

Awards

In 2005, Michael won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Service Show Host for “Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello.” He was named Chef of the Year by “Food & Wine Magazine” in 1985, the Culinary Institute of America in 1995, and “Esquire” magazine in 2013, and the Culinary Institute of America honored him as one of its Alumni of the Year in 2010. In 1994, he won an award for Best Product Line at the International Fancy Food Show, and in 1998, he received the Robert Mondavi Culinary Award. In 2002, Chiarello won the International Association of Culinary Professionals’ IACP Cookbook Award for “Michael Chiarello’s Casual Cooking.”

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