HOLLAND — Many in the community are mourning the sudden death of beloved chef, Andy Stewart.
Stewart, 62, was a Kalamazoo resident but frequented Holland often. He worked for over 30 years in the restaurant business and served as the corporate chef of Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars in downtown Holland, where he taught cooking classes. Stewart was also a regular in the Holland Area Farmers Market chef series.
Stewart died suddenly on April 7. Fustini’s Owner Jim Milligan said Stewart died peacefully in his sleep. Stewart was Milligan’s brother-in-law.
“We’ve known each other for a long time,” Milligan said. “He was my golfing buddy, on family vacations he was the guy in the kitchen that would cook for the family, a really beloved uncle to six nephews and nieces.”
It was Stewart’s idea for Fustini’s to start having cooking classes, Milligan explained.
“They became very popular, and a lot of it was because of Andy’s personality,” he said. “He just had a way of connecting with people. He loved to cook and loved to be in the kitchen, and really enjoyed being able to share cooking techniques with people on the other side of the counter from him.”
Stewart’s death comes at an especially difficult time during the COVID-19 pandemic where people are not physically able to connect and grieve together, Milligan said.
“My family and the Fustini’s family is working through that also,” he said. “We appreciate everyone’s comments.”
Stewart was an avid golfer and downhill skier. He was married to Nancy Milligan and had two children, Samantha and Teddy.