Of the people who shared memories about Chef Robert Myers, perhaps the nicest tribute came from a man whom Myers fired.
Josh Nichols was a member of the Lexington Country Club’s kitchen staff when Myers fired him in December. The two had exchanged words after a bad night. But Myers kept in touch and had a hand in bringing Nichols back as part of the club’s dining room staff in April.
“That’s how much he cared about me,” Nichols said. “It just showed his true character.”
Myers, 56, executive chef of the club, died after his vehicle was rear-ended on Versailles Road near Keeneland about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday. The loss devastated the staff at the country club, which set up a memorial with flowers, a cookie, carrot cake, a bottle of Ale-8-One, and a sheet of signed goodbyes on the prep table where Myers often worked.
Kim Brown, another member of the kitchen staff, said Myers was one of the most creative people she knew.
“He was able to lead people without ego, and he was able to teach you without making you lose your own identity from a culinary standpoint,” Brown said. “He was wise enough to help you build on your own skills, without completely superimposing his ideas from a cuisine standpoint.”
Myers, the father of eight children, was known for his salt-risen bread, which he made in a wood-fired brick oven at his home in Perryville. Myers not only used the bread at Lexington Country Club, but for a time he also supplied Idle Hour Country Club, said Jonathan Gossett, the executive chef there.
“I think that speaks to his tireless work ethic: The fact that he was working on his day off to make sure that we had bread,” Gosssett said. “He was very passionate about food.”
Nichols expressed amazement that, even though they had parted on bad terms, Myers kept in contact after the firing.
“A week later he texted me and said, ‘What are you doing?’” Nichols said. “We went and had lunch. We went and had tacos. We talked about everything. We squared everything away and he said, ‘Well, I will try to find a spot for you.’”
Nichols believes he was one of the last people to see Myers alive.
“I had been serving Tuesday and he asked if I had a good night. And I said I had a great night, and everybody loved the food. He was the last one to leave that night out of this kitchen. He was like that: First in, last out.”
A GoFundMe page was started Thursday to collect donations for the Myers family. Go to the Friends of Robert Myers Memorial Fund at https://www.gofundme.com/FriendsOfRobertMyersMemorial