Patrick Feury, 57, a chef whose repertoire and curiosity spanned the globe, died Saturday, Feb. 12, after an accidental fall at his home in Paoli, said his brother Terence Feury, also a chef.
Mr. Feury, who grew up in Middletown, N.J., was the chef and a partner in Nectar in Berwyn, a popular destination restaurant on the Main Line. More recently, he also owned interests in Danlu (later the Common) in University City, which closed in 2020 during the pandemic.
He was a champion of local farmers and food makers, especially those in Chester County, where he was a collaborator with Yellow Springs Farm. He was known for his ice carvings and his fishing excursions.
“I’ll put it the simplest way I can: He just wanted to be loved and make people happy,” said Terence Feury, executive chef at Forty 1 North in Newport, R.I., and three years Patrick’s junior. He and his brother enjoyed a friendly sibling rivalry, whether it was creating competing beers or competing on the Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay. (Terence won but lost to Flay.)
“He was my best friend,” said his fiancée, Jessica Cornacchio, who met him nearly five years ago while playing bingo. (He offered to split his winnings, she said.)
“He paid all the attention to the details,” said Michael Wei, a partner in Nectar who recruited Mr. Feury and became friends with him. “The grief is beyond words,” said Henry Chu, also a partner.
“His culinary curiosity spanned the globe,” said Inquirer critic Craig LaBan, who marveled at Mr. Feury’s “passion and peerless technique, from Taiwanese street food and dumplings to Swedish cured fish, refined French sauces, and the ultimate burger indulgence.”
(That burger, served at the Common, brought together two four-ounce patties from Pinelands Farms beef, topped with caramelized onions, shredded lettuce, spicy house-made pickle chips, and special sauce, with Cooper sharp cheese oozing between the patties.)
Mr. Feury’s first job was pot washer in a butcher shop at 15. He graduated from the Academy of Culinary Arts in Mays Landing, N.J., as did his brother. While a senior, Mr. Feury parlayed his internship at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City into full-time work. After joining Le Cirque, where he rose to sous chef, Mr. Feury convinced his brother to move to New York.
Mr. Feury’s next stop was Paris, where he worked at Les Olivades. The brothers reunited in Philadelphia after Terence Feury took the chef’s job at Striped Bass, then owned by Neil Stein, and recommended his brother to head the kitchen at Stein’s next project, Avenue B, which opened in late 2000 at Broad and Spruce Streets.
Mr. Feury left Avenue B before its abrupt closing in 2003, joining chef Susanna Foo, first as chef at her eponymous restaurant and then as executive chef at her restaurant Suilan at the Borgata in Atlantic City.
His next move, in 2004, was his most auspicious: joining partners in a flashy transformation of a watering hole called Billy Jake’s into the chic Nectar.
Widely praised as the Main Line’s answer to Center City’s Buddakan, Nectar features a $250,000 silk-print Buddha in the dining room and long gold and burgundy velvet curtains modeled after monks’ robes. Mr. Feury hired a Japanese-trained sushi artisan to work the counter.
In 2008, Mr. Feury and his brother were partners in Maia in Villanova, a restaurant, cafe, and gourmet food market with a Scandinavian menu that closed about a year later.
Mr. Feury, divorced with a son, Thomas, 16, and daughter, Nicole, 18, had lived with Cornacchio and her daughters, Paige, 11, and Pali, 9, whom he introduced to skiing.
“He was funny and witty and brilliant and made everyone feel like he was a close friend,” Cornacchio said. “He also wanted people to know the sources of everything. He met the farmers and the brewers and was really amazing at creating relationships.”
Kenny Huang, also a partner, will take over the chef’s duties.
A memorial is planned, his survivors said.