Chicago chef Jean Banchet died of pancreatic cancer on Sunday at the age of 72, reports the Chicago Tribune. Banchet's famed restaurant Le Francais was open in the suburb of Wheeling from 1973 until 2007. The Jean Banchet Awards for Culinary Excellence were named after Banchet and award chefs and restaurants in the Chicago area; the 17th annual nominees were announced just last week.
Chefs have begun posting messages of condolence on Twitter, from Eric Ripert to Rick Tramonto. This has been a season of loss for Chicago's culinary scene, with Charlie Trotter's recent passing and now chef Banchet's.
· Famed Le Francais chef Jean Banchet dies [Chicago Tribune]
· The 17th Annual Jean Banchet Nominees Announced [Eater Chicago]
Curtis Duffy and Jean Banchet at the 2010 Jean Banchet Awards [Photo: Grand Chefs Gala]