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James Kent
Image via GMA

Who was James Kent and do we know the cause of his death?

His loss will be felt deeply.

On June 15, 2024, the culinary world lost a luminary with the passing of James Kent, one of New York City’s most celebrated chefs. Kent was only 45 years old.

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Kent has worked in some of New York City’s most prestigious kitchens. Notably, he worked at Jean-Georges and later at Eleven Madison Park. At EMP, Kent worked under the guidance of Chef Daniel Humm. Here, Kent honed his skills and developed a refined approach to cooking that focuses on simplicity, seasonality, and the purity of ingredients. He was always coming up with new ideas and pushing the limits of what you could do with food. 

His time at Eleven Madison Park was particularly influential, as the restaurant earned numerous accolades, including three Michelin stars and a top spot on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Eventually, Kent became the Chef de Cuisine. After his tenure at Eleven Madison Park, James Kent opened his own restaurant, Crown Shy, located in Manhattan’s Financial District. Crown Shy has received critical acclaim for its approachable yet refined menu. Following the success of Crown Shy, he opened Saga and Overstory, both of which are located in the same high-rise in lower Manhattan. Saga has been noted for its artistic presentation and innovative dishes.

James Kent’s cause of death, explained

So what could have caused the premature death of such a larger-than-life figure? The details are still murky, but the shock and disbelief are palpable. Some have speculated that the high-stress, high-stakes world of fine dining may have taken a toll on Kent’s health. Others wonder if there could have been an undiagnosed medical condition.

Meanwhile, the Saga team took to Instagram to mourn his loss:

We are heartbroken to share that James Kent passed away unexpectedly earlier today. The Saga Hospitality Group family is focused on supporting each other and most importantly Kelly, Gavin and Avery as we grieve James’ loss. Crown Shy, Saga and Overstory will be closed tomorrow: Sunday, June 16th. Celebrate Father’s Day with your loved ones. 


James Kent lived one heck of a life, and he left behind a legacy that’s gonna live on long after he’s gone. Maybe it’s better to remember him for the good things he did — the amazing food he created, the people he inspired– rather than getting bogged down in all the messy details of how he died. If you want my two cents, I think it just goes to show that you never know what life’s gonna throw at you.

Rest in peace, chef.

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Omar Faruque
Omar is a seasoned writer specializing in all things entertainment. His approach to life and writing is the same: find the story in everything, and make sure to enjoy the ride. When not behind his keyboard, Omar is living his best life, whether that's channeling his inner superhero, trying to replicate anime recipes in his kitchen, or settling into his favorite coffee shop corner with a good book.