'Top Chef' contestant Aaron Grissom dies at 34 after suffering multiple blunt force injuries in motorcycle crash
Aaron Grissom, best known for his stint as one of the 16 contestants on Season 12 of 'Top Chef' has reportedly died after an apparent motorcycle crash in Washington. A medical examiner from Pierce County ruled the 34-year-old's death an accident after suffering "multiple blunt force injuries" in a traffic collision. A friend and former coworker confirmed that the fateful incident happened in the area of Chambers Bay, according to a TMZ report.
Grissom was a part of 'Top Chef: Boston' in 2014 but faced an early exit, placing 11th in the competition. Before appearing on the show, the Tacoma, WA, native was residing in Los Angeles for professional reasons and working as a chef at Bow & Truss in North Hollywood. Earlier, he had also made an appearance on an episode of 'Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives' on Food Network. It covered Dirty Oscar's Annex in Tacoma which was led by Aaron and that was his first tryst with fame.
He then opened a ramen bar called Moshi Moshi but exited last summer as business was slow and he wanted to seek other opportunities, as told to The News Tribune by his coworker, partner (Moshi Moshi), and friend Yu Nanakornphanom. Aaron later started working at a restaurant, cooking for touring singers including Billie Eilish before the pandemic struck after which he moved to Mexico with his girlfriend.
Looking back at his time with Aaron, Nanakornphanom said that the late chef was not only a wizard in the kitchen but also had a heart of gold. Aaron didn't spare any time before deciding that he wanted to donate his kidney to Nanakornphanom, a diabetic after the topic came up during a candid conversation. "After we opened (Moshi Moshi), we talked about it. 'I have this condition', I don’t know how much I can take with the business. Then we were joking around, and he said, 'I can give you a kidney'. We happened to be a match — we're both Type O. It's very rare to find Type O," Nanakornphanom told the outlet.
"I think he had a good future ahead of him. He's always learning to do something. He was driven. He lived his life fully," said Nanakornphanom while also adding that Aaron's return to Tacoma was unexpected.
A spokesperson from Bravo shared a statement following Aaron's death. "Bravo and the 'Top Chef' family are saddened to learn about the passing of Chef Aaron Grissom from Season 12. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family and friends," read the statement, according to a report by Today.