Instagram Is Tearing Up At J. Kenji López-Alt's Tribute Post To His Dog

In many ways, watching J. Kenji López-Alt's eponymous "Kenji's Cooking Show" is like stopping by a friend's house (if that friend lived on YouTube). You're greeted with a warm, straight-to-the-point introduction from the host, whose familiar face is often strapped with the decidedly dad-like GoPro that has become a signature filming tool in his Seattle home kitchen. "Hi everyone, it's Kenji. We're gonna stir-fry some greens with, uh, garlic and ginger," the chef and cookbook author says in a recent episode

Whether he's divulging the secrets of his mom's Japanese take on mapo tofu, salvaging a blueberry upside-down cake, or celebrating his wife's Colombian heritage with ajiaco soup, López-Alt never fails to fill an idle moment with a snippet of history about the dish in question, a food-related science lesson (terms like "square-cube law" and "Maillard reaction" abound), or an anecdote from his storied past as a chef and food writer — all with the relaxed cadence of someone who isn't afraid to implement plan B, C, or D if a cooking scheme goes off course. 

At the end of each episode, López-Alt isn't the only one who tastes the fruits of his labor. He almost always divvies up bites of human food for his dogs, Jamón and Shabu, who might be the most gastronomically advanced canines in the greater Seattle area. This week, however, the cooking expert shared some very sad news about Shabu in an Instagram post, yielding condolences from the pup's droves of internet fans.

Shabu will be missed

López-Alt posted on Instagram this week to announce Shabu's passing. "Had to say good bye to this good girl today," he wrote. "Cancer sucks. Be nice to your furry and scaly and slimy friends. They never live long enough." Fellow celebrity chef and TV host Andrew Zimmern kicked off the more than 1,500 comments by sending his love. "This hurts me every time I see this," he wrote. "Losing Pretzel last year was the worst. I want them to age with me that's for sure." Fellow food industry figures like Tom Colicchio and Pailin Chongchitnant also offered their sympathies.

In videos, López-Alt occasionally remarked on Shabu's old age and waning eyesight when tossing her treats from his plate — some of which she caught and some of which she lapped off the floor. It's clear that the feisty, adorable mutt lived a long and nurtured life in the López-Alt household alongside her canine counterpart, the "Shar-Pei/pug mix" Jamón (via Twitter). The next episode of "Kenji's Cooking Show" won't be the same without Shabu, but we have no doubt the chef will keep her legacy alive.