Joe Miller, who was one of LA’s most successful and prominent chefs, died last night at the age of 60. Miller opened the highly-regarded Joe’s Restaurant in Venice on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in 1991, serving seasonal American cooking on the Westside. Miller was one of the most influential chefs in LA, mentoring numerous cooks who went on to open restaurants of their own.
Miller’s family had a statement explaining the cause of death:
It is with great sadness that we share Chef Joe Miller has passed away due to complications of a cardiac arrest in mid-September while doing what he loved, cycling. He has been an important presence in the culinary world for more than 30-years, exemplifying creativity, leadership and mentoring of hundreds of chefs and restaurant/culinary professionals. We mourn his passing and appreciate the outpouring of love and respect to him and the entire family during this very painful and challenging time.
Joe’s Restaurant received a mostly positive review from LA Times critic S. Irene Virbila in 1998, and later earned a Michelin star in 2007. The restaurant was known for using French techniques with farmer’s market produce and Asian and Californian influences. Joe’s closed in 2016 after more than 24 years in Venice with Miller saying at the time, “I have seen this community through many changes. I’ve had a wonderful experience pouring my heart and soul into my food, my service, and my standards. I’m grateful to have met so many people and have had the pleasure of employing so many fine chefs and service staff and have seen many of them off to open their own restaurants to great acclaim, but now it is time to move on.”
Miller was most recently working as the events manager at New York’s famed Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Before that, Miller was brought on as a consultant at Pacifique in West Hollywood, a modern Japanese-inspired California restaurant. He also consulted at Hop Saint Brewery in Torrance and The Cannery Restaurant in Monterey.
In 2017, Miller returned to the LA restaurant scene opening Rudy & Hudson diner in Santa Monica in a former IHOP space on the ground floor of a local motel. Miller had a refreshed take on classic diner fare, and it was a departure from his more polished cooking at Joe’s Restaurant. Rudy & Hudson closed after seven months in late 2017.
Miller’s other notable LA restaurant was Bar Pintxo, which he had operated from 2006 until 2017 in Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade area. That restaurant was one of the first tapas-style restaurants in the city.
Miller is survived by his mother Molly Miller, brother Michael Miller, brother Patrick Miller (and sister-in-law Patricia), his children Spencer and Harper Miller, ex-wife Monica Balsz, and fiance Christine Mourad. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1958.