In a message posted on Facebook by the Ilfracombe restaurant, Essex was described as a “phenomenal talent” who has been working at the restaurant until only a few months ago.
“Our hearts break as we share the devastating news that our friend, colleague and head chef Chris Essex has passed away following a very short, hard-fought battle with cancer,” says the restaurant.
“As a head chef, Chris was a phenomenal talent and we still can’t believe that it was only a couple of months ago that we were all working together, Chris being his usual chirpy self and looking forward to Christmas with his family.
“Chris had been great friends with Thomas for many years, their paths constantly crossing throughout their careers, and he was an integral part of both The Olive Room and 1873 - a solid, reliable keystone within the team with a huge heart, a cheeky grin and always with an ear to listen if you needed it.
“His passing leaves a huge hole in not only the kitchen but also our hearts.”
The restaurant has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to give the chef ‘the send off he deserves’ and to take the pressure off the family. The fund has already nearly hit £6,000 of the £7,500 target with more than 100 donations.
Thomas Carr 1873, which was headed up by Essex, was awarded a Michelin star for 2021.
Essex leaves behind his wife Sarah and children Grace and Jack.
To make a donation, visit the the page here