My cousin, Paul Wildermuth, unexpectedly passed away last Saturday night at the young age of 46. His passing was a complete surprise and has affected me and my family greatly.
As an accomplished and uniquely talented chef, he touched many lives. He was the renown as the executive chef at Marche, Opera and Red Light in Chicago, specializing in contemporary Asian cuisine. I had the pleasure of enjoying his food on many occasions.
Aside from his accomplishments in cuisine, he was a genuinely passionate man who loved what he did and seemed to bring light into every room he passed. Rarely wanting to talk about himself, he was truly interested in everyone else in the room.
As a child, Paul and I would play in my Grandmother’s house during the holidays. Paul used to like to needle me about an event when we were both really young. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but I throw a rock and it his Paul in the head. Its was the kind of memory that made us both smile.
He and his wife, Patience, were extraordinarily generous with their time too. While their charity work is well known, it was their attention to my late grandmother (Iona) that was incredible. They’d go visit her quite often and were there when others couldn’t be. They’d go visit and Paul would cook for her. I was always humbled by the amount of time they’d spend and I, admittedly, was a guilty of not taking enough time for the things that matter.
I will remember of all my times with Paul and Patience with exceptional happiness. Paul’s passing has left me with a heavy heart.