Chad Smith, 31, drove off Mt. Cross Road, hit a ditch, and then a utility pole. He was wearing a seat belt, according to Virginia State Police, and according to WSET, the roads were icy. Investigators believe the accident happened around 2 a.m. but was not discovered by a neighbor until around 7 a.m. Friday, Feb. 27.
Smith was the executive chef at the Golden Leaf Bistro, which closed the day of his death. Before leading that kitchen he worked at several popular dining spots locally; Europa, Hard Shell downtown, and the Hanover Tavern.
“He really took Golden Leaf Bistro, the food quality, the food service in this area to the next level,” said general manager Taylor Alvis, to WSET.
“Along with teaching them how to cook, he gives them a good foundation to believe in themselves and actually want to pursue a better dream as a cook,” said co-worker Reagan Atkins, to WSET.
That’s why the Danville Community College Educational Foundation established the Chad Smith Memorial Fund, intended to help benefit people looking for “hospitality food service careers.”
The Richmond dining community has also rallied, and hopes to donate to the memorial fund.
All Richmond Restaurant Group locations (The Hill Cafe, Pearl Raw Bar & The Vintage Room, Water Coastal Kitchen, The Daily Kitchen & Bar, and both The Hard Shell locations) will be donating $1 of every Budweiser sold, in honor of Chad Smith. The Betty on Davis, is doing $1 Bud and Jameson donations.
All money collected through Sunday, March 8, will be donated to Chad’s Education Foundation.
Donations can also be made online, here, or mailed to the address below.
Donations can be sent to
DCC Educational Foundation
1008 South Main Street
Danville, VA 24541
Attn: Chad Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund