The Sad 2022 Death Of British Chef Joyce Molyneux

Joyce Molyneux was a culinary force to be reckoned with. She was the owner of the Carved Angel restaurant in Dartmouth, England, where she served farm-to-table food in an open kitchen setting for about 25 years. Molyneux co-authored "The Carved Angel Cookery Book" and was one of the first women in England to receive a coveted Michelin star when the restaurant was awarded one in 1978, just four years after opening (via The New York Times). This past fall, The Dartmouth Food Festival, where Molyneux was an Honorary Festival Patron, announced on its Facebook page on October 28 that she had "peacefully passed away" at age 91.

The Guardian notes that Molyneux was highly regarded not only by fellow chefs and the farmers and purveyors she worked with, but also by home cooks and those who dined in her restaurant, attributing this popularity to her "unassuming yet friendly nature" and "a style of cookery that tasted like heaven and was yet accessible to all." Why did Molyneux embark on the notoriously tough path of restaurant ownership, well into her sixties? "I just loved cooking," she said.

Molyneux had an extraordinary career and will be missed

After graduating from the Birmingham college of domestic science, Molyneux worked at only two other restaurants before opening Carved Angel, Mulberry Tree in Stratford-upon-Avon and Hole in the Wall in Bath, according to The Good Food Guide. It was at the latter restaurant where she began to develop the signature dishes she would eventually serve at Carved Angel, including salmon en croute with herb cream sauce and strawberries with clotted cream.

It was Molyneux's universal appeal that made her remarkable. Food writer Simon Hopkinson was quoted as saying that Molyneux had "a very, very special approach to cookery, which is one of exceptional good taste, a natural understanding of ingredients and how they are best prepared, cooked, consumed, and enjoyed" (via The Guardian).

After her passing, fans of Molyneux took to the comments of the Dartmouth Food Festival's Facebook announcement to share their grief. "Very sad to hear. I have her Carved Angel recipe book and I know she has inspired so many people," wrote user Ginny Rennie, while Ingrid Henrietta Dickenson Huysmans shared, "I wish today's super chefs would take leaves out of her book. She was a legend!"