Louisville’s restaurant community lost an icon Saturday with Chef Dean “Deano” Corbett’s sudden death from an apparent heart attack at age 56.

His restaurants Equus, Jack’s Lounge, Corbett’s an American Place and Ward 426 will long be remembered as true Louisville originals, but he was best known for feeding Louisville’s hearts as well with his kindness, generosity and charity to those that knew him.

Chef Deano was a culinary legend who left an indelible mark on the Louisville restaurant scene. He had been a fixture in Louisville since 1982 when he joined the fabled Casa Grisanti crew that shaped, and continues to shape, the Louisville dining community.

In 1985, he purchased his most noted restaurant, Equus. He transformed the restaurant into a four-star destination, serving thousands of happy diners. At Equus, and later at Corbett’s, Deano continued for a new generation of Louisville chefs the tradition of rigorous training and thoughtful mentorship that he had experienced at Casa Grisanti.  Indeed, it is likely that the history of Louisville dining will note that Deano’s restaurants picked up where Casa Grisanti left off, turning out dozens of well-trained younger chefs who went on to open their own restaurants, making their own culinary mark on the city.

Food & Dining keeps a special memory of Chef Deano’s generosity and willingness to extend himself for others.  When the magazine’s invaluable vice-president and right-hand man Dan Boyle died suddenly of a heart attack in 2007, Deano, upon hearing of plans for a fundraiser to benefit Boyle’s family, was the first to call and offer Corbett’s to host the event. He also recruited a number of local chefs to collaborate on a fabulous dinner, the“Dining for Dan” event in 2008, which raised over $12,000 to help Boyle’s family and two sons.

Deano’s visitation is today (Oct 16) 3pm – 8pm at Pearson’s Funeral Home located at 149 Breckenridge Lane. The service will be held tomorrow (Oct 17) 10AM at St. Albert the Great located at 1395 Girard Drive.

In honor of our friend, we take a look back at a few of the stories we featured about Chef Deano.

He may be gone, but he won’t be forgotten.

Chef Dean Corbett at Corbett’s an American Place (2008)

‘Dining for Dan’ event at Corbett’s an American Place (2008)

Equus – 3 Decades – 4 Stars

Dining for Dan – Corbett’s ‘an American Place

Dean Corbett – Equus & Jack’s Lounge

Casa Grisanti – Godfather of Louisville’s Restaurant Revolution