Known as ‘the Huell Howser of California Food,’ ‘Chef Ernie’ Lauded as Historian, Educator, Consultant and Speaker
Coast Packing Company today announced the passing of Ernest D. Miller, the company’s Corporate Chef and a popular figure on the Southern California food scene. Miller, 51, died in his sleep on Friday, Sept. 21, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
As Coast’s Corporate Chef for the last year and a half, Miller maintained an active schedule educating the public on the qualities and benefits of animal fats, mainly Beef Tallow and Lard. A familiar presence in museums, schools and kitchens throughout Southern California, he was co-leader of Slow Food Los Angeles, a member of the speakers’ bureau for the Culinary Historians of Southern California, lecturer for the National Food and Beverage Foundation, director of Slow Food Preservers of Los Angeles County and founder of Rancho La Merced Provisions LLC, a manufacturer of fermentation kits. Formerly a chef instructor for Le Cordon Bleu Los Angeles, a U.S. Marine and officer in the U.S. Navy, he was a graduate of the United States Naval Academy Annapolis, Maryland, and Yale Law School.
“Chef Ernie joined the Coast Packing family in April 2017 and will be remembered for his warm smile, sense of humor, and tremendous passion,” said Eric R. Gustafson, Coast Packing CEO. “Ernie was a walking encyclopedia and possessed an unrivaled wealth of knowledge for food and California and U.S. history. He had an incredible zest for life and embraced all of its beautiful curiosities. Throughout his career, Ernie sought to feed both body and soul with food and classes that reflect the rich history of California. Coast was fortunate to have him in our organization, and those who knew him quickly realized they were fortunate to have him in their lives. We will miss our friend and colleague.”
“Food is never just food – it always has a narrative,” Miller said on the occasion of his joining Coast. “The more you know the history and story of food – its role in our shared cultural heritage — the better it tastes.”
Viewing, which is open to the public, is scheduled for Monday, October 1, from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Rose Hills in Whittier, and then at Latter Day Saints Chapel in Rosemead, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Those interested in honoring Chef Miller are invited to join in the celebration of his life or donate to his memorial fund.
Please read this beautiful eulogy from Chef Ernie’s good friend Gustavo Arellano: Canto XXXI: Eulogy for Ernest Miller, Quiet Genius of Southern California’s Food Scene
Kind words from the community:
We grieve, with the entire Los Angeles food community, the loss of our friend, colleague and former Co-Chair Ernest Miller. An exuberant teacher, passionate advocate for real food and an encyclopedic resource of all things edible, he will be deeply missed. pic.twitter.com/bOzcaZUDeE
— Slow Food L.A. (@slowfoodla) September 24, 2018
— Wendy Rose Ellison (@CanningBee) September 24, 2018
We lost another thoughtful, lovely man this week. Ernest Miller the man who taught another generation about preserving and food history https://t.co/AJtl3JCr1A
— Evan Kleiman (@evankleiman) September 24, 2018
So sad to hear about the sudden passing of Chef Ernest Miller. He was so generous and kind, open minded for ideas. He loved sharing food history and facts. Thank you, Chef, for your… https://t.co/oop0wzCqNG
— PeasOnMoss (@PeasOnMoss) September 24, 2018
A wonderful food-world colleague, Ernest Miller @RLMProvisions, died on Friday. He was a warm, enthusiastic and wildly knowledgable person who loved California, its history and its food, and was so good at telling people about it. We’ll miss you so much, Ernie.
— Katherine Spiers (@katherinespiers) September 24, 2018
We are deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of one of our members, Ernest Miller (@RLMProvisions) – a chef, educator, & historian who has been called “the Huell Howser of California food.” He was an extraordinary teacher, mentor & friend and will be sorely missed by many
— Culinary Historians (@CHSoCal) September 26, 2018
— LAhistory (@LAhistory) September 26, 2018
I’m brokenhearted to find out my food preservation mentor passed away suddenly on Friday. RIP @RLMProvisions. I’m going to miss you Ernie.
— 🦏 rhino (@rhinoblues) September 24, 2018
— Val at Trippy Food (@TrippyFood) September 24, 2018