In Memory of Jason Dunbar
Millennium's Sous Chef, Jason Dunbar, spent his last day in Yosemite on Friday May 13th, his favorite place outside of the kitchen, with people he loved, people who loved him. He and Eric Tucker created the menu together for the past five years and he had been with Millennium since February of 2004.
Although I never got to know Jason, I always had the sense that he was a special person. He emanated presence: serene, grounded, but always had a mischievous twinkle in his eye! He would come in the last hour of my many cooking classes at the restaurant, cast a watchful eye on the state of the upstairs kitchen (my classmates and I regularly trashed it), and head downstairs to start prepping for the Sunday dinner service. I'd often go downstairs for some final ingredients and find Jason and the staff laughing and joking around as they worked. To me, he represented the joy of a self-actualized life and an easy connectedness with others.
Millennium, to me, is so much more that a restaurant and a place to learn about vegan cooking. There is such a strong sense of family there, and even though I may be a cousin, twice-removed, I have always felt welcomed into that family with open arms. I've met so many wonderful people who have become good friends at Millennium cooking classes. Jason was a big part of that family.
Jason emulated qualities I totally respect: he was extremely talented, passionate about and dedicated to feeding people delicious food that did not do harm in its making.
Jason left us too soon, and he will be missed deeply by everyone who knew him.
I invite you to take a moment to to send healing thoughts to Alison, his life-partner, his parents, family, and friends, Eric and his extended Millennium family.