Fond memories of a big-hearted Texan food blogger.

The McGary Chilli Challenge. Some of the best cooking fun possible.

The McGary Chilli Challenge. Some of the best cooking fun possible.

On 9th of October 2015, I learned of the passing of my food blogging colleague Richard McGary, of Dallas Fort Worth, Texas. One could take the view that I shouldn’t have been very upset. I had never met Richard. However, in the four years I have been writing this blog, there are very few people who would have had more of an influence on me than that kind, sharing and convivial man. 

When I thought of writing something about bereavement, I started to feel a bit of a fraud. Given that I never have, and now never will have, the pleasure of Richard’s company, writing of loss seemed disingenuous of me. However, those feelings don’t cover it. Over a long period of time, Richard and I conversed at least a couple of times a week. That’s more than I talk to many members of my close family. Richard gave me an education in Texan and Mexican cooking. He opened my eyes to the amazing range and subtly of flavour in those often mis-understood cuisines. I well remember the fun and excitement generated by ‘The McGary Chilli Challenge’, a wonderfully generous and entertaining competition set for Stefan and me. His fun approach to the Board Meeting posts reflected so well on his personality. My friends Stefan Kees and Mimi all got to visit with Richard and Elia, Richard’s beloved wife and the Baby Lady of pouring shot fame. 

Richard’s influence has led to the repertoire in our household being expanded. We now have Masa flour, Achiote paste, a huge range of sweet, smokey and hot chilis, a tortilla press and an understanding of ingredients that otherwise would elude the average Irish cook. 

But, I have much more than that. Just like one of those wonderful ‘frozen in time’ pouring shots on the REM Cooks blog, I have memories that, though now frozen in time, make me smile and have kind thoughts of Richard, my Texas food blogging buddy. R.I.P. 

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  • Sorry to hear this news. You don’t have to have met someone in person for them to be a good friend and I’m sorry for your loss. My condolences, through you, to his family.

    • Thanks Linda, as you can see from the above, I am a bit conflicted. He was a lovely man.

  • That photo says it all!

  • beautiful expressed. best wishes to you.

    • Thanks Adam. Not what I want to be posting about.

  • What a wonderful way to remember your friend! I’m so sorry to hear about him passing away. Even though you don’t meet IRL, blogville friends grow a special place in our hearts that somehow grows stronger. Hogs and snout kisses. XOXO – Bacon

    • Thanks for that kind though. Like I say above, he was a great chap altogether.

  • I am sorry for your loss. I really think that you don’t need to necessarily meet someone for them to be a part of your life or for them to have made an impact on your life. He obviously did that for you and I hope that, in time, your memories of your conversations will sustain you and give you comfort.

    • Thanks Maggie. We had a hoot of a time with the various childish challenges we enjoyed. It’s such a pity that is now part of the past.

      • I totally understand that. Perhaps, at some stage, you can do a fun challenge in memory of him? It may not be something you want to think about now but some day down the road, it may be a nice way to honour him.

  • A fitting tribute to your friendship. Strong bonds can definitely be made without ever meeting in person and the loss is no less than if you were next door neighbors. Hugs to you my friend. Xx

  • A loss is a loss, Conor, and I’m sorry for yours. This is a lovely tribute to make.

  • One thing I’ve learned is that there are all sorts of rewarding relationships. And thank goodness for them. Nice tribute.

  • Sounded like my kinda dude Conor – heartfelt stuff mate 😉

    • Richard was huge fun. He was also very generous with his professional advice. He was a lawyer and gave me deep advice on how to deal with my photos being nicked. He went to lots of trouble when there was no need for him to do so. You would have got on very well with him. He was a big flavour guy. Do have a look at his site, linked above. You will love some of the stuff going on there.

  • I know you struggled with posting about Richard. I think this does the memory of him fine justice, Conor. Be well, my friend…

    • Thanks Kathryn. Very nice of you to say so.

  • Great tribute to a fellow blogger. Sorry for the loss.

    • Hi Debbie,
      Hop over to REM Cooks and see some of the wonderful cooking he was at. The sense of fun came through in everything.

  • “He opened my eyes to the amazing range and subtly of flavour in those often misunderstood cuisines”…. A heartfelt tribute to your amazing blogger-buddy.

    May his soul rest in eternal peace and happiness.

  • I’m so sorry to hear about this, but what a beautiful tribute to someone who expanded your food horizons and even though you never met in person, you could say you were close. You were food soulmates, which is no small miracle. Those Mexican ingredients are a true asset to a kitchen. I’m sorry for your loss and it is a loss for you. It’s beautiful to see such a lovely tribute.

    • Amanda, you are far too nice. There are many of us in the blogosphere who are very sad to see him gone.

  • Great tribute to your friend .

  • A lovely post Conor. I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. It’s amazing the different ways people can touch and influence our lives, and leave such a void when they’re gone.

  • I’m not certain how I stumbled upon your post but I must thank you. I had the absolute pleasure of knowing Richard. I was fortunate to have him cook a meal for me in his home (fabulous!). He had several dinners with us (in St. Louis, Missouri). My husband worked with him and I was the tag along (lucky) wife that got to know him (and his beautiful wife, Elia). I believe I first met him on our turf and he was wearing his cowboy boots and hat and that BIG smile he always carried with him. We went to the best restaurants when Richard was in town and enjoyed fine wine. When we managed a trip to Dallas we were welcomed in their home and I was amazed at the art of his cooking. I’ve been grieving the loss of our friend and your post brought me such a smile. Thank you!

    • Hi Erin,
      Many thanks for sharing these thoughts. I will be in Amsterdam with Stefan and Kees in a couple of weeks time. They made the trip over and were welcomed with McGary generosity and friendship. They had the pleasure of cooking with Richard and Elia. Stefan has spoken with great warmth of both of them. It was to have been a future trip of ours. Sadly, this will now not be.
      Best,
      Conor

  • Lovely tribute… I too have made some wonderful acquaintances through the wide world of international food blogging, who I now consider dear friends and with whom I look forward to communicating with on a weekly basis.

    • Thanks Angelica. That is kind of you to say.

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