Sarig Agasi
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Sarig Agasi
  • September 29, 1962 - December 4, 2017
  • Raleigh, North Carolina

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Sarig Agasi was raised on Kibbutz Rosh Hanikra on the northwestern coast of Israel, where he developed a lifelong love for fresh food, the outdoors, the ocean and his Israeli identity. He served proudly in the elite search and rescue unit 669 of the Israeli Defense Forces from 1982-1985 in both Israel and Lebanon.

After marrying Nancy Sturz in 1988, he came to the United States, and lived in New York, California and then Raleigh, after training at San Francisco's California Culinary Academy. As a chef, he cooked at Bouley and Lespinasse, two of New York City's finest restaurants, before working as the sous chef at Nana's in Durham in the mid 1990's. He subsequently opened Butterflies Restaurant in North Raleigh, Zely & Ritz on Glenwood South, and then Pullen Place Caf. Chef Sarig's tomato dinners, wine dinners and original farm to table cuisine at his restaurants and in private homes in the area were highly sought-after. He was especially well known for his famous hummus.

Not always a man of words, Sarig was a man of passion. He expressed himself best with his hands, whether embracing and hugging his three children and wife, or through his cooking. One of his greatest gifts was his ability to convey new places, ideas, and connections to others through his cooking. When Sarig first arrived to the United States in 1986, en route to a year he'd spend with Nancy traveling through South America, he spoke no English. And yet he was able to convey to his future in-laws who he was and that their daughter would be safe. However, she wasn't just safe; she was transformed by the experience and by him. Many were.

Sarig was a man of evolution, and he became a dedicated and accomplished marathoner runner, competing in many races including New York City and Boston as well as the Outer Banks Marathon which he completed in under 3 hours. He had an unconventional gait, but he was fast, persistent, fearless and talented. As a chef and runner, and sometimes as both, he was featured in articles in Runner's World, the Raleigh News & Observer, Rodale's Organic Life, Endurance Magazine and others. He appeared as well in the 2013 book "Chefs of the Triangle, Their Lives, Recipes and Restaurants," by Ann Prospero, and 2009's "The Athlete's Palate Cookbook: Renowned Chefs, Delicious Dishes, and the Art of Fueling Up While Eating Well," by Yishane Lee.

Sarig's greatest success, however, was his family. They are his enduring legacy. Nancy and he raised their children with the same love for Israel, travel, food and ocean that Sarig developed as a boy. He died after a brief illness, and is survived by their three children, Ziv, Geffen and Maytal, his wife Nancy, his three siblings Rotem, Limor and Tomer, and his parents Yehudit and Biri. The funeral will be held at Raleigh's Temple Beth Or on Thursday, December 7 at 11:00 am.

Donations can be made in lieu of flowers to the Interfaith Food Shuttle Farm. Additionally, the family requests that the community shares their stories of favorite meals and food that Chef Sarig prepared for them at chefsarigfavoritefoods@gmail.com