Former yacht Chef Lacey Rico died suddenly at her home on Jan. 20 in Hillsboro Beach, Fla. She was 47 years old.
The official cause of her death is pancreatic cancer, but Ms. Rico didn’t know she had cancer, said her brother, Chef Kevin Rico, also yacht crew. He said she attributed recent pain to the flu and her duties in the kitchen at The Hillsboro Club.
Ms. Rico began as a yacht chef in the 1990s and worked on many yachts including Summer Breeze, a 114-foot Broward, Bayou, a 122-foot Breaux Cinzana and Utopia III, a 150-foot Trinity.
She retired from yachting, worked on dinner boat cruises in Ft. Lauderdale and most recently worked at The Hillsboro Club.
Ms. Rico was in yachting long enough to know a lot of people, said friend, Chef Neal Salisbury.
“She was sweet and we all knew her,” Salisbury said. “She was definitely a presence.”
“The brother sister aspect was nice, too,” he said. “It was great to see family in this industry because this job usually takes people away from family. Lacey and Kevin were even both in the World Yacht Chef Competition in 2003.”
She worked with Capt. Robert Cowart for nearly five years on M/Y Second Chance, a 105-foot Hatteras, during the late 1990s. She was the first formal hire on the new boat, Cowart said.
“The owners knew her and requested me to see if she was available,” he said. “We were all fond of her, she had a nice heart and guests liked her cooking.”
With a crew of four, Ms. Rico did many jobs onboard, including working on deck or driving the tender.
“Lacey was very flexible,” Cowart said. “She had no preconceived idea of what her duties were as crew and she was a big part of the team.”
Ms. Rico grew up in St. Thomas, USVI and loved to scuba dive.
“I thought of her as the island type, she was always happy to get back to St. Thomas,” Cowart said. “Lacey was very personable, very sharp and could hold a good conversation.”
Ms. Rico is survived by brother and father, David Rico. A date for a memorial service is to be determined.