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Brian D. Kaywork; loving father, loving husband, chef, mentor, coach and armchair philosopher; passed away on April 30, 2021 from an unexpected heart attack at the age of 46. Brian was out doing one of his favorite things, picking spring morel mushrooms, when he was found by a hiker. While his life was cut tragically short, he will be forever remembered for living his life fully, following his passions, caring deeply for those around him, and for his constant pursuit of exploration and adventures.
Chef Brian Kaywork, Culinary Arts Instructor for the Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY was revered and well-loved by CIA faculty, staff and students. His current role was chef-instructor evening service at American Bounty Restaurant. Brian proudly graduated with high honors from the CIA in 2002, earning his Associate Degree in Culinary Arts along with receiving the management award, making the dean’s list, and voted the honor of being class graduation student speaker. Brian furthered his culinary education by completing a CIA Fellowship Certification in 2003. Prior to his role as chef instructor at the CIA, Brian had been an executive chef, sous chef and general manager at a number of local restaurants in the Hudson Valley. He was committed to sourcing local hyper-regional ingredients. His focus was creating ever-changing seasonal menus, highlighting the bounty of farms and products nearby. Brian especially cherished the relationships he formed with many farm owners and their workers over the years. Brian was living his dream of sharing his creative skills in the role of teacher and was highly active on several committees at the CIA.
Brian cultivated his love of the outdoors in everyday adventures. Whether foraging for mushrooms or other wild edibles, fishing and camping with his family, visiting local farms/markets, mountain biking, hiking, snowboarding, or prowling the ocean for a wave to surf, Brian was in constant contact with nature. He carried this love into his work as a chef where he was a strong proponent of farm and forest to table menu design.
Brian was a volunteer youth soccer coach with Hyde Park United Soccer League. He touched the lives of many children across the district. He was intellectually curious, down to earth, and always willing to challenge the norms. He was an avid cookbook collector, and especially liked to score cheap finds at estate sales featuring food history. Brian often danced to his own tune, and inspired others to do the same, ensuring that he was never dancing alone for long.
Prior to graduation from the CIA he graduated from McDaniel College, Westminster, MD in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, exercise science. Brian was born in Toms River, NJ and grew up surrounded by a large endearing family. He mainly grew up in New Jersey and spent years in the ocean, his happy place, surfing the east coast. Eventually, the west coast and its beautiful ocean waves were calling. He met his wife Tara in sunny California and upon meeting they quickly began adventures together all over Southern California and Baja, Mexico. Shortly after starting their relationship, Brian was intrigued by the possibility of studying to start a new career path, eventually declaring, “I think I want to be a chef.” He decided on CIA Hyde Park, NY and soon they traveled cross country together to start that path. Together for 22 amazing jam-packed years, and married oceanside in Key West, FL 2005, they welcomed baby Hayden Eliott in 2010. Brian was taken too soon in 2021, as he was nowhere near finished.
Brian is survived by his wife Tara (Lieb), his son Hayden, his parents Mary and Edward Kaywork, his brothers Tym and Nick, his sisters Aly and Mary-Kate and a large family of uncles, aunts and cousins.
In accordance to his wishes, Brian’s cremated remains will be displayed amongst pictures and memorabilia celebrating his life. Those wishing to pay respects can do so between 10:30 am and 2:00 pm on May 8, 2021 at Burnett & White Funeral Home in Rhinebeck, NY. A private reception will follow at Locust Grove Estate, Poughkeepsie.
The trajectory of Hayden and Tara’s life without Brian is forever changed. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made thru www.kaywork.com to help support preparations and planning for the future.
We are gathering precious moments for safe keeping, and the family requests anyone that is willing to please share pictures of Brian to www.kaywork.com.
9 thoughts on “Brian Kaywork’s Memorial Page”
Brian, your story was over too soon, but it was certainly a best seller. You made us all proud but took a piece of our hearts with you when you left. Soar with the angels, dear cousin.
My favorite “recent” story about Brian – I wanted to take my (now) wife, Kristen to go check out his food. So I email Brian to set the plan. He asked what foods we DIDN’T like. I think he took it personally when mushrooms were on that list. We get to the restaurant and are told there are no menus, “The Chef has already prepared your courses for the night.” Typical of Brian, he wanted to challenge us and prepared everything I told him we “hated.” He was right, the mushrooms were the star of the feast. (I would have eaten the tablecloth if it had his Rosemary/Tomato Confit on it- yes I have his recipe.) One of the top 3 meals of my 44 years. I’d never say it was #1 – his ego needs no air. 🙂
The next morning, we met for brunch – He ran a little late – distracted by a farmer’s market between his car and our meeting spot. We pick him out across the street, cool and unbothered by the traffic, basket of bounty under his arm. He presents us with local tomato and concord grapes, with his typical grin, “I know how much you like tomatoes!” I hate tomatoes – until we meet again.
Rest easy cuz.
I can remember sitting quietly with Brian at a table at a family function (which is so unheard of with our crew) and we just talked and talked as the little one’s ran around by our feet. Slowly other cousins joined us and it was no longer the quiet table lol it was back to norm for us Kaywork’s. But I always remember our bonding moments and will treasure them. Brian had a natural way of making others feel comfortable by his gentle smile and warm disposition.
When Brian decided to sign off of FB & enter the IG world he wrote to everyone… “Live good lives & never lose sight of what matters.”
Excellent advise that I follow.
I always admired you lil cuz. I always will. It’s been an honor, a true honor. Rest easy. Love You, Crissi
So many of my personal memories include adventures with Tara, from our teens through our 20s. Later in our lives, a lot of those adventures existed because of Brian, some of them just made better by Brian being there. Brian, you were the best thing I could ever have imagined for my little buddy Tara.
I will never forget that weekend in NYC when Brian worked for Figgy at Mina. Tara asked me to join them to keep her company while Brian helped Figgy and her staff prepare a meal for the James Beard House. Needless to say, amazing feasts and maybe some debauchery was had by Jessica and Tara that weekend. Little did I know, I was pregnant during that trip and who knew champagne and babies don’t mix. Let’s just say Brian is a saint and took care of a rough ending to that weekend. Apart from some minor embarrassment on my end – that entire weekend will always be a standout memory that I will never forget. Thank you thank you thank you.
When I was there for Tara, I might not have had any connection to the event or the people, I was just being a friend to Tara. Not once did Brian make me feel like an outsider….he just naturally said Hey, this is my wife Tara and here’s her buddy Jess. He made you feel a part of his life, no matter how big or small.
We first met Brian thru our son in law, Roberto. We clicked from the word Go. The fact he was a Jersey Boy with a ponytail, helped, but he just had an ease about him. Tara and Brian are like peas and carrots, just a pleasure to be around.
My siblings visit often. We’re foodies, and on our agenda, have dinner at one of Brian’s restaurants. We were like groupies with a rock band. He always made time to come out and chat a bit.
One particular visit, we had our teenage niece visiting, she was interested in the culinary arts. Brian gave her a personalized kitchen tour. She is now a nurse, but remembers the experience fondly.
I saw Brian and Hayden in the deli, regularly. He always managed to put a smile on my face.
We last saw him about a year ago. Brian was in the woods next to our house. My husband saw this guy, proceeded towards him and said, “Dude do you have permission to be on that property?” Brian started to walk away, “Dude, did you hear me?” Brian stops, turns and they immediately recognize each other. Brian had a sigh of relief, and said “I found these ramps”
Needless to say, they were there for the picking after that.
The news of his passing has rocked everyone who was lucky enough to know him.
Brian, your love for family, food, friends came so natural to you. We will take comfort in the days ahead, knowing you took every opportunity to make the most of your time here. You are missed, you are loved.
My deepest condolences to his family and friends. Brian truly lived and loved life, and we connected when he came back to teach at the CIA. Our students always expressed feeling heard, seen, and cared for by this creative and passionate new Chef. As an alum, he had such a knowing of what they needed, what they craved, and how to guide them in a way that was exciting, trail blazing, and compassionate. He was the chef we knew our students could count on to enter our industry in a way that was healthy- he modeled and championed for this throughout his career. You would find him outside, picking berries with them, always exploring and teaching them in a way that excited them – his passion for what he did was contagious! I was driving a golf cart one day during one of our new student welcome days- he was on campus, on his day off, volunteering as he always did. I stopped and said “Hey, you are doing a great job, our students tell us this all the time!”. His face lit up, and from there we committed to embracing and enhancing our students overall mental, emotional, and vocational health. He will be remembered as one of our best, in all ways. His spirit will live on through his students that loved him, that he loved and cared for, in everything that he did. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you!
I really only knew him for 6 whole weeks in the American Bounty but prior to that chef was just my “Jersey” basketball buddy from the court at C.I.A.. I was in there everyday shooting around and trying to get better and some days chef was too just shooting around, sweating, and enjoying another one of the million things he loved to do. We constantly ****-talked each other about him being from Jersey (where he got his elbowing and foul-forward basketball style((dirty jersey as he described))) or me being from Long Island where I got that smart mouth that he would always check me on. We played so many 1 on 1s against each other in my time there I probably still have bruises from those evil Jersey elbows. I thought he was an older student who was here for their true passion but still loved the game of basketball like me. He had such a love for life and put so much into everything he did including my ribs. Fast-forward some months later and I’m in American Bounty with him; enamored with his menu, his cooking style, and the way he just rocked it every day. He’d walk in and take over and have 20-30 kids with light cooking experience moving to get everything done while still having a watchful eye on quality. He was a master of this madness. He gave me the opportunity to push myself by taking on more work under him while still keeping my cocky *** in check. He was one of the few chefs that understood me and pushed and cared about me (I felt) and my future and he continued that after my graduation whenever I needed advice. He gave me so much energy and motivation every day that I was in there and I know he did the same for so many students in the culinary. He was one of the most kind, caring, driven and straight-up honest people I have ever met in my life and I just wanted to be like him since I left C.I.A.. Thank you to the family for the chance today to come to Rhinebeck and see his whole life on display and remember him. I’m gonna make you proud Chef.
Brian, your time on earth was far too short. My deepest condolences to the Kaywork family and all the lives that Brian touched. I studied with Brian at McDaniel College, and while we hadn’t connected in many years, his impression on me and memories of our time together will last forever. Brian embodied compassion and was always in search of uncovering greater meaning and purpose. I can recall many times when we’d engage in philosophical conversation, with our shared love of musicians and bands as the literal soundtrack in the background. His positive outlook and optimistic spirit was infectious – you couldn’t help but be a better person when in Brian’s presence.
“I’ll ride the wave where it takes me.”
Your energy and soul live on forever, Brian.
I just found out today that Brian has passed and I am truly crushed. Brian was my daughter’s soccer coach 2 years ago and I sincerely enjoyed the time that I spent hanging out with Brian, Tara and Hayden. Brian was an amazing man and it was such a pleasure seeing how he treated all the children with great love as if they were his own. Watching Brian share love on the field while simultaneously teaching them the skills and fundamentals of the game was a treat to see. Tara and Hayden will continuously be in my prayers.