Is Justin Sutherland OK? ‘Top Chef’ star injured as propeller hits his head after falling off boat
A spokesperson for Justin Sutherland, who participated in Season 16 of 'Top Chef' and is the champion of 'Iron Chef America,' confirmed to PEOPLE that he was in a boating accident on July 3.
Sutherland's family set up a GoFundMe donation page, which detailed the horrible occurrence. Sutherland was the captain of the boat, per the fundraising description, and his captain hat flew off when he fixed it. When he reached for it, the boat hit a wave, and he went out, sustaining several injuries. “While piloting his boat, Justin’s hat blew off. He tried to grab it, hit a wave, and was knocked off the boat. He fell into the water near the motor, and the propeller did a number on his head and left arm,” his friend Beth Gillies revealed on a GoFundMe campaign.
Sutherland had multiple lacerations in addition to shattered bones and will remain in the hospital "for some time, having undergone several operations thus far and facing many more to come." According to the website, the online campaign is intended to gather funds for the Minnesota chef's large medical costs, as he did not have healthcare coverage at the time of the tragedy. The GoFundMe, which has a target of $500,000, has raised almost $64,000 in just 14 hours after it was created on July 5.
"Money raised from this site will go to his medical bills, and his expenses while he is unable to work. The road to recovery is going to take some time, but you know, Justin loves a good journey," the website stated. "It is going to take a supreme effort, but this is a man who DOES NOT STOP."
Celebrity chefs such as Andrew Zimmern and Guy Fieri have also contributed to the cause. Padma Lakshmi used her Instagram Story to share the word on how fans may assist Sutherland. "My heart goes out to @bravotopchef alum @chefjustinsutherland," she posted, along with a link to the fundraiser. "Please help support, if you're able," she added.
In addition, chef Brian Ingram's Minnesota restaurant, Hope Breakfast, will hold a "Day of Hope" on July 7. Sutherland's medical funds will receive 100% of their daily sales, as per his Facebook post.
Sutherland's Instagram account first reported the watercraft mishap on July 3. "He is recovering and in good spirits," according to a message released on his Official account on July 4. "He will be off the radar for a little bit while he makes a full recovery," the statement added. "At this time his family asks for privacy, but please send him positive thoughts and prayers."
He presently hosts TruTV's 'Fast Foodies' and will be a judge on Food Network's 'Kitchen Crash,' which has professional chefs surprising attendees of an "unsuspecting local neighborhood block party" with a cook-off. The show will premiere on July 12. Sutherland's culinary empire grew outside the Twin Cities in May, when he established Big E's in downtown Portland. Northern Soul, his new restaurant in Minneapolis, is set to launch later this month.
Sutherland's restaurants include the Woodfired Cantina, Side Chick, the Gnome, Pearl and Thief, Chickpea Hummus Bar, Obachan Noodles and Chicken, and Handsome Hog. Northern Soul, his next cookbook, will be released on August 30.