A beloved Long Island chef for years died unexpectedly over the weekend at the age of 55.
David Bryer, the executive chef at Beginnings in Atlantic Beach, was found dead at his East Atlantic Beach apartment on Saturday, March 13, after he failed to show up for work.
A veteran of numerous Long Island kitchens, Bryer helped open Beginnings five years ago with owners Ben and Heather Freiser.
The Freiser's said on Facebook: "We are heartbroken to say that just a day before our 5 year anniversary, we lost the heart and soul of our restaurant."
Called, kind-hearted, and quick-witted, Bryer grew up in Westbury and began cooking at an early age, learning from his mother. He later went on to attend the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park and began his journey as a chef from cruise ships to even owning his own restaurant with a friend for a while.
Beginnings' owners said Bryer was a "kind soul who was so very passionate about what he did. We recall him often singing and dancing while he cooked.
He welcomed everyone into his kitchen, and you could often find him teaching our children how to sauté or flip pancakes."
His niece, Kristen Renta, said on a GoFundMe page she and her father Joe Renta started to help cover funeral expenses, said her uncle welcomed everyone in his kitchen (especially children), and he always had a warm smile, a quick-witted joke, or a great story to share with everyone he met.
"His talent was immeasurable, but his kindness surpassed his skill in the kitchen. He gave back to his community," she wrote.
Bryer is survived by his sister. After his parents died, he was "adopted" by Joe Renta (his best friend ) and his family.
A memorial is being planned and will be announced on the Beginnings' Facebook page in the near future.
To donate to the GoFundMe effort to help cover funeral expenses, click here.
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