Yukio Sekikawa, the head chef at Seki, a well-known Lexington sushi restaurant, has died. He was 64.
Authorities said it appeared that Mr. Sekikawa, whose wife died Jan. 13, jumped from the Tyrone Bridge along the Woodford and Anderson county line over the weekend.
Mr. Sekikawa's vehicle was found near the bridge Saturday morning, and his body was discovered Saturday night, Woodford County Coroner Steve Ward said.
Mr. Sekikawa and his wife, Masako, were famous in the Lexington restaurant community for their small sushi restaurant on South Broadway. It closed temporarily earlier this year after the death of Masako Sekikawa, who served the meals that her husband created. It underwent a renovation after that, and Mr. Sekikawa returned as head chef, said family friend and restaurant owner Shan Tao.
Tao said he plans to keep the restaurant open, saying it was Mr. Sekikawa's wish that it stay open and not change names. The late chef also had taught Tao his style and recipes. Tao has placed a photo of Mr. Sekikawa in a corner of the small restaurant, which has just eight tables, as a tribute to the chef.
"I feel like he can walk through that door any time," Tao said.
Mr. Sekikawa was mourned by the restaurant's dedicated customer base.
Dan Wu said he and his wife dined there Friday night, and Mr. Sekikawa "came by and started chatting."
"When I'd heard he died ... it put his uncharacteristic chattiness in a new light," Wu said. "I will miss his expertly made, unfussy sushi, Mrs. Sekikawa's smile and grandmotherly nature, the crowing-chicken jar of candies she handed out with the checks, the Polaroids of customers on the wall, even the fluorescent lights.
"It truly is the end of an era for us."