Cancer Claims Life of Staplehouse Chef Ryan Hidinger

By Christopher Hassiotis  |  January 9, 2014

Ryan Hidinger, the Atlanta chef whose yearlong struggle with cancer united the city's culinary scene and gave birth to the non-profit organization The Giving Kitchen, died this morning at the age of 36, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Hidinger, a veteran of Atlanta restaurants like Bacchanalia and Muss & Turner's, was diagnosed with cancer in late 2012. A city-wide campaign called Team Hidi raised funds last year for Ryan and for The Giving Kitchen, with money coming in from many restaurants. Hiding and and his wife Jen Hidinger, pictured together above, also ran a weekly private dining club called Prelude to Staplehouse as a fundraising effort for a restaurant called Staplehouse, currently undergoing build-out on the southeastern corner of Boulevard and Edgewood Avenue. Ryan Smith, formerly of Empire State South, will be the executive chef, with an expected opening in late spring.

"The cancer retreated in a major way back in June," Jen wrote in an email update sent to friends, colleagues and fans on Tuesday and posted on the Staplehouse blog, "but since then, bullied its way back through Ryan’s body until (early December) it had engulfed his entire liver and spread all over his lungs, thus making it impossible to treat."

The restaurant is tied to the non-profit organization The Giving Kitchen, which provides crisis grants to restaurant-industry workers who experience unexpected medical expenses and other hardships. The second annual culinary benefit event Team Hidi 2.0, scheduled for Sunday, January 26 at the King Plow Arts Center, raises money for The Giving Kitchen, and will this year serve to memorialize Hidinger.