Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Del. restaurateur Matt Haley dies after motorcycle crash

Haley was honored by the James Beard Foundation this year for his humanitarian work.

Del. restaurateur Matt Haley dies after motorcycle crash

Restaurateur Matt Haley, speaking at the Food Bank of Delaware on Aug. 5.
Restaurateur Matt Haley, speaking at the Food Bank of Delaware on Aug. 5. via Twitter, @FoodBankofDE
Travel Deals

Matt Haley, 53, who owned a chain of mainly seafood restaurants in Sussex County, Del., and was honored by the James Beard Foundation this year for his humanitarian work, died of injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash Monday in India. 

Haley's business partner, Scott Kammerer, told the News-Journal's Patty Talorico that Haley was driving in the mountains near Leh, India, when his bike collided with a truck. He was taken to a remote hospital, unconscious, but died during a medical flight to New Delhi.

The News-Journal says he was starting a six-week trip through northwestern India and eventually Nepal, where he planned to deliver stoves to a Nepali village.

Haley was with about eight or nine other motorcycle riders and international filmmaker and motorcycle expert Guarav Jani, the paper reported.

The Beard Foundation, in honoring Haley in May, began its profile about him this way:

"Twenty years ago, a chef at an Alexandria, Virginia, catering company took a chance and hired Matt Haley—an ex-con, recently out of rehab, and a survivor of childhood abuse. 'He probably shouldn’t have hired me,' recalls Haley, 'but he was loving, kind, and compassionate and took the time to work with me and teach me. There are so many people along the way, people who didn’t turn their back on me. If they had, where would I be today?'

"Now the owner of seven restaurants in Delaware Beach resort towns as well as of Plate Catering and a foodservice management company (all under the Matt Haley Companies umbrella brand), chef and restaurateur Haley credits his success to his 23 years of sobriety plus countless helping hands.

"As for his JBF Humanitarian Award—in recognition of his local and international efforts to help disadvantaged children—Haley believes 'a thousand people deserve a piece of this. Awesome people who believed in me until I learned to believe in myself.'

"Lindsey Jacona, who worked her way up from waitress to controller of Matt Haley Companies, says, 'All the help he got led him to where he is now, where he’s always wanted to be. I feel he’s always trying to pay that back or pay it forward.'

"The result: personally and through Matt Haley Companies, Haley gives up to $200,000 a year to nonprofit initiatives, and in 2011 he founded the Global Delaware Fund (GDF) to provide goods and services to at-risk children and children in challenging circumstances, both in Delaware and around the world."

More coverage
How clean is your favorite restaurant? Inspection reports
Philadelphia Distilling moving next to Fillmore to Fishtown
What's new in restaurants this summer
Philly restaurant's $150 meal, by the numbers

We encourage respectful comments but reserve the right to delete anything that doesn't contribute to an engaging dialogue.
Help us moderate this thread by flagging comments that violate our guidelines.

Comment policy:

Philly.com comments are intended to be civil, friendly conversations. Please treat other participants with respect and in a way that you would want to be treated. You are responsible for what you say. And please, stay on topic. If you see an objectionable post, please report it to us using the "Report Abuse" option.

Please note that comments are monitored by Philly.com staff. We reserve the right at all times to remove any information or materials that are unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable. Personal attacks, especially on other participants, are not permitted. We reserve the right to permanently block any user who violates these terms and conditions.

Additionally comments that are long, have multiple paragraph breaks, include code, or include hyperlinks may not be posted.

Read 0 comments
comments powered by Disqus
About this blog
Michael Klein, the editor/producer of philly.com/Food, writes about the local restaurant scene in his Inquirer column "Table Talk." Have a question? Email it! See his Inquirer work here.

Michael Klein Philly.com
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com
letter icon Newsletter