Chicago’s hospitality community is in mourning over the death of Jill Dedinsky, the beloved executive chef of local mini-chain Goddess and Grocer. Dedinsky, 49, suffered a brain aneurysm on Sunday, August 23 and died that Friday, according to the Tribune.
Prior to her arrival in Chicago, Dedinsky worked as a private chef and caterer in the U.S. Virgin Islands for 33 years, and at one point owned her own restaurant, Cafe Fresco. She eventually returned to the mainland and earned a degree in restaurant and hotel management from Purdue University. She moved to Chicago with her son in 2013 and landed her first local restaurant job as a manager at Ina’s, the now-closed West Loop breakfast icon from chef Ina Pinkney. Dedinsky went on cook at the Belmont Station of the Chicago Yacht Club for five years, the Trib reports, but she and Pinkney remained close friends. Goddess and Grocer owner Debbie Sharpe brought Dedinsky on two years ago, and told reporters that the late chef was bubbly, kind, and thoughtful.
View this post on Instagram
We are very sad to announce that our Executive Chef, Jill Dedinsky, passed away yesterday in the hospital. She had suffered a brain aneurysm last Sunday and unfortunately never woke up. While we were hopeful at first that Jill would survive because of her true fighting spirit and zest for life, the brain damage was too severe for her to recover. Jill had just returned from Jacksonville and was all prepared to jump into the holiday swing. She is survived by her son Jay Ridgeway and her little dog Pepper. The @GoddessGrocer will be introducing a hot pink cupcake in her memory with 100% of the proceeds going to her favorite charities. A Go Fund Me has been set up by Jill’s friends to help put her son Jay through college. www.gofundme.com/f/all-in-for-jill
Known for her hot pink chef’s coat and wide, bright smile, Dedinsky also had a reputation for generosity. Her former employer is responding to her death in kind, featuring a “Jilly Bean” cupcake in her honor to raise money for the Special Olympics — a favorite charity of Dedinsky. She would support the charity each year through the Special Olympic’s Polar Bear Plunge, when folks take a dip in Lake Michigan during the winter. In tribute to its inspiration, the cupcake is topped with hot pink buttercream.
In an effort to help cover Dedinsky’s medical expenses and support her son, a freshman at Jacksonville University in Florida, supporters have set up a GoFundMe with a $75,000 goal. As of Wednesday morning, it’s raised more than $58,000. Details regarding a funeral or memorial are not yet available.
A gourmet mini-chain proffering sandwiches, baked goods, prepared foods, deli items, and more, Goddess and Grocer operates seven Chicago locations in Bucktown/Wicker Park, River North, Gold Coast, the Loop, Navy Pier, and O’Hare International Airport. It’s especially well known for colorful, photogenic sweets like rainbow layer cake and Rice Krispies Treats with fancy sprinkles. The first location opened in 2004.