It’s a sad day for the restaurant industry, as news spread late yesterday that longtime Wolfgang Puck chef Matt Bencivenga died from pancreatic cancer.
Bencivenga began his career on the East Coast in the 1990’s before moving to Los Angeles and eventually landing as sous chef at Patina. In 1998 he joined up with Wolfgang Puck, eventually helping to open Spago Beverly Hills as executive sous. Not long after, Bencivenga undertook the catering arm of the Puck empire as both executive chef and managing partner, where he would remain until the end of his life.
With a long history in Los Angeles kitchens and more than two decades in hospitality overall, Bencivenga touched many of the chefs and restaurateurs who still make this city run today. Reached for comment, the Wolfgang Puck team had the following to say:
It is with a heavy heart that we share that Matt Bencivenga, Partner and Executive Chef of Wolfgang Puck Catering, passed away this past Monday morning after a long courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. In his twenty years with the company, Chef Matt touched the hearts of all that worked with and around him. His talent, compassion, and drive will continue to inspire.
In honor of Matt, the family asks you to please consider a memorial gift to advance the neuroendocrine tumor research program at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center/UCLA under the direction of Dr. Tim Donahue. Donations may be directed to Melissa Brody, Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation ; 8-950 Factor Building, Box 951780, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1780. (310) 206-0675; www.cancer.ucla.edu/donate (noting " In honor of Matt Bencivenga.")