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The loss of a legendary chef, and friend

April 8, 2022
By Guest Columnist


Unfortunately, my friend Chef Josh Orlick, passed away last week. He will be sorely  missed. Josh and I worked together on several occasions in Boca Grande. He was the first person I always called to ask for help for upcoming events. He usually agreed and sometimes would show up a half-hour late “just to cook my grits,” so to speak, but we never cooked grits. He would purposely push me to be a better, more organized chef by calling me and saying, “Oh s*** Chef, I just woke up, I’m on my way to the event” and then walk in the door. He always ribbed me like that, I didn’t mind, because Josh was becoming my big little brother from another. We began to work together years ago, and briefly after we began, I knew he was the guy. I knew he knew what I knew and was trained. I’m not saying I’m the best chef in the world. I’m saying there is trained and not trained. When Josh came into the kitchen, I knew he was trained right away. 

Josh kept up that banter between chefs like that every time we did an event. I know he did that every chance he got to make me nervous. I remember one event where we would serve a dish with goat cheese, and we were to serve the children a side dish of mac-n-cheese, and I looked at Josh and said, “Where’s our goat balls?” meaning the goat cheese we’d rolled into balls before we caramelized them, and Josh looked at me and said, “What you talkin ’bout Willis? I put that in the mac.” I knew he was (no pun intended) just “Joshing” me. 

Josh was awesome in the kitchen in so many ways, he could keep the focus of everyone working the line on the line. He was also good at messing with other line cooks during the rush by placing random things on their workspaces just to get a reaction out of them. He did that same crap to me every event we worked, I think it was him getting me back for all the times I did the same previously. 

At the last event we did, he made sure to show up late, which I didn’t mind, and get there at the perfect time to run the kitchen at the last minute and boil my gizzards because of lateness. 

Josh always saw it through, He made me want to be his friend as soon as I met him. Because he looked at the bigger picture. Like Robert said, “Your rearview is that size for a reason, look forward.” Josh did the same, and I do too. 

Josh will be missed by everyone that knew him. I certainly will miss him too.