Former 'Hell's Kitchen' contestant Jessica Vogel dead at age 34
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 08/01/2018
Former Hell's Kitchen contestant Jessica Vogel has sadly passed away at age 34.
The chef died on July 30 in New Jersey, according to northjersey.com, but her official cause of death has yet to be released.
The former reality TV star was engaged to John Michael Keyser, who reportedly said Vogel was being treated for colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, at a hospital in southern New Jersey when "her heart gave out."
"We were planning to open a restaurant together," Keyser told the website. "My heart is breaking."
According to her obituary, Vogel had "a strong appreciation for a good meal" but also "a true fascination with the genius required to pick quality ingredients" that, when combined in a unique and innovative way, create "a true culinary experience."
The obituary reads that as a result, Vogel "was very difficult to have dinner with because most meals fell far short."
Vogel studied culinary arts at Johnson and Wales in Denver, CO.
Not only did she compete on Hell's Kitchen in early 2014 and finish in twelfth place, but she also appeared on Cutthroat Kitchen, becoming a local icon for foodies in Bergen County, NJ.
"When she set her mind on something there was no way to stop her. Jessica was fearless when it came to work, never backing down from a challenge," says the obituary.
Although Vogel was being treated for colitis around the time of her unexpected death, she apparently struggled with substance-abuse issues as well.
"In these difficult times, there is immense pressure on young people to stand out in a world where the intimate details of our lives are made public in blogs and on Facebook. This took a toll on Jessica and over the years; she would escape to drugs and alcohol," reads the obituary.
"She was recently committed to living a better life and had graduated from an in-patient rehabilitation program with hopes of regaining control of her life. Unfortunately, the damage done over the years was too great, and she died, like she lived, a fighter."
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Vogel hoped to leave behind a message that it's important to love others, appreciate one's talents and always work hard to improve oneself.
At the time she competed on Hell's Kitchen, Vogel lived in California and was working at a creperie and bakery.
In addition to holding down several jobs as a pastry chef, she also worked as an executive chef at Black Rebel Burger in Hackensack from March 2016 until the restaurant closed down in February 2017.
Vogel is survived by her fiance, parents Donna Bruchmann and Mark Vogel, and her sister Caitlin Johnstone.