WESTWOOD, NJ — Those who knew Jessica Vogel said she was creative and a “great chef.” She was her toughest critic. There was pressure to succeed and stand out. Her life was on social media for all to see.
Her obituary says Vogel escaped the pressure and stress the way many people do: With drugs and alcohol.
“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,” her family said in her obituary. “This took a toll on Jessica and over the years she would escape to drugs and alcohol.”
Vogel had recently committed to “living a better life” and had graduated from an inpatient rehabilitation program.
“Unfortunately, the damage done over the years was too great and she died, like she lived, a fighter,” her family said.
Vogel, a Westwood native, died Monday. She was 34.
She was 29 when she appeared on Gordon Ramsey’s “Hell’s Kitchen.” She also appeared on an episode of “Cutthroat Kitchen” on the Food Network.
“When she set her mind on something there was no way to stop her,” Vogel’s family said in the obituary. “Jessica was fearless when it came to work, never backing down from a challenge.”
Vogel was executive chef of Black Rebel Burger in Hackensack and Artisan Kitchen & Bar in Hawthorne.
“She was a bright young spirit full of culinary passion and excitement for the industry,” said Howard Stilianessis, proprietor of Artisan Kitchen & Bar. “Our hearts and prayers go out for her and to her family in this time of grief.”
Vogel had a “true fascination with the genius required to pick quality ingredients and combine them in a unique and innovative way to create a true culinary experience,” the obituary states. “As a result she was very difficult to have dinner with because most meals fell far short.”
Vogel is survived by her mother, Donna Bruchmann, father, Mark Vogel, and sister Caitlin Johnstone.
“She wants the message left behind not to be ‘sex, drugs and Foie Gras’ but rather the importance of appreciating your talents, always working hard to improve, but to never forget that it is the loving heart that truly changes the world,” her obituary states.
Kind words about Vogel were posted on social media following news of her death.
Related: Westwood Star Chef Jessica Vogel Reportedly Dies
Photo: Jessica Vogel (YouTube screenshot)