Tributes from Lexington chefs and restaurant owners continued after the death of longtime chef Lucie Slone Meyers.
Meyers, 68, died Wednesday afternoon after a battle with lung cancer. Her funeral will be 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Milward Funeral on Broadway, with visitation from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Burial will follow at Lexington Cemetery.
With her many restaurants, including a la Lucie, Rosebud, the Phoenix, the Julep Cup, Roy & Nadine’s, Pacific Pearl and, most recently, Lucie’s Red Light Kitchen & Lounge, she led the way for many female chefs and owners, and she was celebrated for her spirit as much as her food.
Chef Ouita Michel was among those hailing Meyers. “Her level of creativity, of individuality, her generosity of spirit and true sense of hospitality were gifts to the community we will never be able to repay,” said Michel, owner of Honeywood and Holly Hill Inn in Midway. “She touched so many lives. I feel like she paved the way for me and for a lot of my friends. She will be sorely missed.”
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Debbie Long, owner of Dudley’s on Short, called Meyers an icon.
“Tough as nails, kind and generous,” Long said. “Being a female in the restaurant industry in the ’70s and ’80s, there weren’t a lot of us. I had so much respect for her work ethic, creativity. Competing in a man’s world, and she killed it. It’s a sad day for Lexington and our close knit restaurant community. She will be sorely missed but never forgotten.”
Meyers’ influence extended several generations. Alex Huber, a Lexington restaurant publicist, admired her first when she was a teen working in Meyers’ kitchens.
“I grew up celebrating all manner of occasions at a la Lucie. Even then, she saw something in me that I didn’t even know I had, and she later nurtured that by trusting me to cook in several of her kitchens as a teenager,” Huber said.
“Lucie made being a female chef and restauranteur seem absolutely normal and attainable for someone like me. Her encouragement changed the course of my career, and while I’m not in the kitchen, the innate love of food in me that she nurtured (in a seemingly very non-nurturing way), is what would lead me to a career in food and restaurant PR in New York City, and eventually to founding Kindling. She was a force, and Lexington won’t be the same without her.”
Chef Jeremy Ashby, owner of Azur and Dupree Catering, said her influence on Lexington dining can’t be overstated.
“We have lost a true culinary force,” Ashby said. “To say that Chef Lucie was a trailblazer for cuisine and concepts in our town is an understatement. I think our region style, taste preferences, overall hospitality, pretty much everything we eat have been touched by Lucie.”
Chef Jonathan Lundy, who got his start as a chef in Meyers’ kitchens, called her his “culinary mother” and said she was Lexington’s “first true superstar chef.”
He recalled being astonished at the people who would greet her everywhere they went.
“How did all these people know her? It was amazing,” he said.
Chef Ranada Riley, owner of Lexington Diner, posted a tribute on her Facebook page, saying, “You paved the way for so many of us female chefs in this town. Certainly one of my local idols. Such a gentle heart and fierce spirit, not to mention a badass in the kitchen. Rest in peace, Chef Lucie. The Lexington culinary world is devastated. My deepest condolences to her family and friends. #alalucie #redlight #womenchefsrule”
Meyers is survived by her siblings Anne Bates Allen, Jamie Bates and Susan Bates Creacy; her son, Harold Slone Jr.; her daughter, Sasha Slone Miller; and grandchildren Joshua and Tallulha Miller.