Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias, one half of the inspirational culinary team behind Bristol’s Casamia, has passed away at the age of just 32. The sad news comes only days after the restaurant, conceived a run by Jonray and his brother Peter, was crowned the fourth best in the UK by the Sunday Times Food List, powered by Harden’s.
Known as ‘the check-on chief’, Jonray was a fixture in Casamia’s kitchens despite battling Melanoma cancer for the past four years. In a statement released today (10 November) his family revealed that even after undergoing surgeries and countless oncology visits, Jonray would still head straight back to the restaurant to be with his team and guests. His parents said his bravery was ‘unbelievable’ and a testament to his dedication to the industry he loved.
Their statement read: “It is with great sadness to announce that our wonderful son, husband, father and brother Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias passed away the morning of Friday 6 November after battling with Melanoma cancer for the past four years.
“At the age of 32, Jonray achieved more than many of us could dream of accomplishing in a lifetime, not just throughout his incredible career as an extremely talented chef, but also in his personal life as a devoted husband and loving father of two beautiful girls, Olive and Bella.
“Jonray’s talent has been most recently recognised in the announcement made in the Sunday Times yesterday morning, naming Casamia as the fourth best restaurant in the UK. This accolade is a testament to Jonray’s dedication to our restaurant and industry over the years, an industry that he loved so much and considered himself lucky to be a part of.
“Throughout the past four years Jonray’s strength and bravery were unbelievable. No matter what challenges he faced Jonray would always fight back. Even after undergoing numerous surgeries and making countless visits to the oncology unit he was determined to head straight back to his team and guests, just to hear the words, “Check on Chief”. His colleagues and customers would never have known what he was going through and that is the way he wanted it. He always put on a brave face and seldom complained during the four years since his diagnosis.
“We hope Jonray’s last words to his mum will inspire people and his memory will live on through his remarkable life story: “Life gives you a gift every day and you have to use it as best as you can as it won’t last forever. Love you loads and so proud and happy that you are my mum”. These words will stay with us and remind us to live as Jonray did, making the most of every second.
“We would like to thank everyone for the overwhelming support we have received over the last couple of days; it has really helped us to get through this difficult time. Jonray, your incredible wife and daughters, loving family and multitude of friends, colleagues and peers are going to miss you and we will continue to make you proud every day.”