Very sad news today out of the world of reality television:
Jessica Vogel, a former contestant on the Fox hit Hell’s Kitchen, died on Monday in New Jersey.
She was 34 years old.
This very sad piece of news was confirmed by NorthJersey.com, which spoke to Vogel’s fiance, John Michael Keyser.
He told the website that the chef’s “heart gave out” while she was being treated at a local hospital for colitis, which is an illness that causes inflammation in the digestive tract.
“We were planning to open a restaurant together,” Keyser told this outlet. “My heart is breaking.”
Vogel attended culinary school at Johnson & Wales in Denver.
She began her cooking career by working in the kitchen of Kevin’s Thyme in Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, prior to becoming a pastry chef at Grange in Westwood and Christine Nunn’s Picnic on the Square in Ridgewood.
While working at a creperie and bakery in California, Vogel auditioned for Hell’s Kitchen, making her debut on the series in March of 2014.
She finished her run on the popular program in 12th place.
During this stint, Jessica impressed Gordon Ramsay with her rosemary-crusted venison loin with roasted potatoes and Brussels sprouts.
“Venison is one of the most difficult proteins to cook and you absolutely nailed it,” the notoriously hard-to-please celebrity chef told Vogel at the time.
“When she set her mind on something there was no way to stop her,” reads Vogel’s obituary on Legacy.com, adding:
“Jessica was fearless when it came to work, never backing down from a challenge.”
Vogel’s family said in this obituary that Jessica had battled issues with alcohol and drugs over the years.
“She recently committed to living a better life and had graduated from an inpatient rehabilitation program with hopes of regaining control of her life,” they said.
“Unfortunately, the damage done over the years was too great and she died, like she lived, a fighter.”
Vogel also appeared on the Food Network show Cutthroat Kitchen with Alton Brown in 2016 — appears to have written about her experience with alcoholism in a now-deleted 2017 Medium post.
“I’m weeks away from 34 years old and got told I drink too much and have cirrhosis,” she wrote.
“Did it stop me from pouring shots of alcohol? Nope. Did my lifestyle of sex, drugs and foie gras come to a born again Christian revelation? F-ck that noise.
“Life is a blaze of glory. I don’t know if you want an adventure tale, but I’m here and ready to tell. My name is Jess and I’ve lived to tell about it. To be continued…”
Fair Lawn-based chef Christine Nunn, who occasionally writes for The Record and NorthJersey.com, said she knew Vogel well.
“She knew more about the Bergen County dining scene than just about anyone,” Nunn told the latter website.
“She was really a talented chef who never reached her potential. It’s a shame.”
Vogel is survived by her parents, Donna Bruchmann and Mark Vogel, and her sister, Caitlin Johnstone.
May she rest in peace.