Howard Kleinberg, the Top Chef season three contestant (Howard “Howie” Kleinberg), died last weekend after suffering a heart attack, his mother told the Miami Herald. Howie died at the young age of 46.
“I am just finding out how many lives he touched,” Susan told the outlet on Monday. “He was married to his passion in life, which was his cooking.”
The Bravo Top Chef Twitter account shared condolences on the social media platform. “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,” the message wrote.
Howie ranked seventh place on his season of Top Chef in 2007. After his success on the show, he opened up Bulldog Barbecue in North Miami.
According to his obituary, the South Florida native made his mark on his hometown community and even participated yearly at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.
According to his mother, Howie Kleinberg began his career in the kitchen at a Miami Intercontinental Hotel. “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,'” Susan said.
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Top Chef: Miami is the third season of the American reality television series Top Chef. It was first filmed in Miami, Florida, before concluding in Aspen, Colorado. The season was Emmy nominated for Outstanding Reality Competition Series and garnered the Emmy Award for Best Editing in the category. Season 3 premiered on June 13, 2007, and ended on October 10, 2007. Padma Lakshmi returned with Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, and new judge Ted Allen, who switched off with Simmons throughout the season.
Production took place in April and May 2007 in Miami Beach, Florida, with production activity centred at the Fontainebleau Hotel. Top Chef: San Francisco contestant Lee Anne Wong was brought in as a food consultant and assisted in planning the challenges. The winning recipe from each week’s episode of Season 3 was featured on Bravo’s Top Chef website and prepared by Lee Anne Wong in a web series called The Wong Way to Cook. Hung Huynh was declared the winner in the season finale over runners-up Dale Levitski and Casey Thompson. Thompson was voted Fan Favorite.