Aaron Grissom competed on Top Chef in 2014

By Gabrielle Chung
September 11, 2020 05:40 PM
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Aaron Grissom
Tommy Garcia/Bravo

Aaron Grissom, who competed on the 12th season of Top Chef, has died at the age of 34.

The chef passed away on Tuesday after suffering "multiple blunt force injuries" in a traffic accident, according to the Pierce County medical examiner. His death was ruled as an accident.

He was involved in a motorcycle accident near Chambers Bay in Washington, Yu Nanakornphanom, who owned Moshi Moshi ramen bar where Grissom previously worked as head chef, told The News Tribune on Thursday.

Grissom had selflessly given his kidney to Nanakornphanom when the restaurant first opened, the eatery owner told the paper.

Aaron Grissom
David Moir/Bravo

Grissom left the restaurant last year and was cooking for touring musicians before concerts were canceled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to Nanakornphanom.

Nanakornphanom said the chef had been living in Mexico since the outbreak, but his return to the Washington area was unexpected.

“He had a lot going on,” Nanakornphanom said “I think he had a good future ahead of him. He’s always learning to do something. He was driven. He lived his life fully.”

In addition to Top Chef, Grissom appeared on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives while working as an executive chef when the Food Network show featured Dirty Oscar's Annex in Tacoma.

In 2014, he served as the executive chef at Los Angeles' Bow & Truss.

Following his stint on Top Chef, in which he was eliminated in the fifth episode, Grissom teamed up with bartender Colin Smith to open a second outpost of Dirty Oscar's Annex in Montana in 2016. The restaurant was closed in 2018, according to online reviews.

"Bravo and the Top Chef family are saddened to learn about the passing of Chef Aaron Grissom from Season 12: Boston," a representative for the network tells PEOPLE in a statement. "Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family and friends."