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Here's to Us(6)
Elin Hilderbrand

Deacon Thorpe was nearly as famous for his life away from the stove as he was for his life behind it. He was married to his high school sweetheart, Laurel Thorpe, from 1982 to 1988. The couple has a son, Hayes Thorpe, 34, who works as the hotels editor at Fine Travel magazine. In 1990, Thorpe married Academy Award–winning actress Belinda Rowe; the couple’s daughter, Angela Thorpe, 26, worked for Mr. Thorpe at the Board Room in a position unique to the restaurant called the fire chief. After divorcing Rowe in 2005, Thorpe married Scarlett Oliver, causing a tabloid sensation, as Ms. Oliver had for many years served as Chef Thorpe and Ms. Rowe’s nanny. The couple has a nine-year-old daughter, Ellery Thorpe.

Mr. Thorpe’s agent and longtime friend, John Buckley, issued a statement on Friday afternoon that said, “Everyone who knew Chef Thorpe is shocked and saddened by the news of his death. The country has lost not only a culinary genius but also a cultural icon. The friends and family of Mr. Thorpe ask simply for privacy and respect during their time of mourning.”

Clams Casino Dip with Herb-Butter Baguettes (Courtesy of Deacon Thorpe)


8 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 sweet onion, diced

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup of minced or chopped clams (fresh or canned and drained work)

2 blocks cream cheese, 8 ounces each, softened and cubed

8 ounces fontina cheese, freshly grated

4 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, freshly grated

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Spray a 9-inch round baking dish at least 3 inches deep with nonstick spray.

Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat and add the bacon. Cook until the bacon is completely crispy and the fat is rendered. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain excess grease.

Keep the skillet with the bacon grease over medium-low heat and add the peppers and onions. Add in the smoked paprika and black pepper. Stir well to coat and cook until the vegetables are soft and golden, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and the chopped clams and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove the vegetables and clams with a slotted spoon and add them to a large bowl. Add the cream cheese, grated cheeses, and bacon into the bowl. Use a large spatula to mix, and stir until everything is combined, distributing the cream-cheese cubes as you go. Spoon the mixture into the baking dish. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve immediately with the herb-butter baguettes.

Herb-Butter Baguettes

1 large ciabatta baguette, sliced into ½-inch rounds

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

⅓ cup freshly chopped herbs (I used cilantro, basil, thyme, and oregano)

½ teaspoon flaked sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Spread the softened butter on the baguettes. Cover the butter with the assorted herbs (use whatever herbs you like!). Bake until the baguettes are warm and golden and toasted, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the flaked salt. Serve immediately.

Friday, June 17


It was her eleventh day back working as fire chief, although she tried not to think in those terms—eleven days back at work, forty-three days since Deacon had died. Instead, Angie tried to think of it as just another Friday night at the Board Room, the busiest night of the week. The world had been shocked silly by her father’s death, and so Harv, the general manager—the only one with the stones to make the tough decisions—had closed the restaurant for a month. The front windows had been sheathed in black curtains, which Harv felt was appropriate. People—customers, fans of the shows, random New Yorkers—dropped off bouquets of flowers and hand-lettered signs, poems and stuffed animals, candles and crosses. When Angie saw these offerings, her throat ached. She wanted to cry, but the tears wouldn’t come. She was bone-dry.

Angie had thought that the restaurant’s popularity might wane or that it would veer off course like a ship without a captain. The Board Room was Deacon’s creation and vision—from the wild-strawberry caprese salad, which was sourced from a boutique farm upstate and which he’d put on the menu two days before he died, to the gleaming copper tables and the caviar sets made especially for the restaurant by a descendant of one of the Russian czars, to the limited-edition Robert Graham shirts he liked Dr. Disibio to wear behind the bar. But bizarrely—or maybe not; Angie wasn’t a great judge of human behavior—the frenzy for reservations had more than doubled, which hardly seemed feasible. The wait for a table was six weeks already.

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