Beloved Atlanta lesbian chef Ria Pell has died

Ria Pell, chef and owner of the renowned Bluebird Cafe and a beloved member of Atlanta's restaurant and queer community, died Sunday.

Pell's Facebook page is being filled with tributes of love and sadness of the sudden loss of the  Atlanta chef as well as a supporter of LGBT equality.

Pell's family includes her wife, Kiki Carr, and partner, Karen Portaleo.

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Sauced Atlanta shutters doors this week

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Just weeks after being named "Chopped" champion, lesbian Chef Ria Pell announced she is closing the doors of Sauced Atlanta this week after four years in Inman Park. The reason? She got an offer she couldn't refuse.

The news comes on the heels of Pell's victory on the Food Network's competitive cooking show "Chopped." Pell won $10,000 and said she is taking her family on vacation to Denmark with the winnings. Check out photos of the party Pell hosted for her appearance on "Chopped" by clicking here.

Pell said she plans re-engergize her iconic restaurant Ria's Bluebird after returning from a "well earned vacation" as well as "plot the next concept in the Atlanta restaurant scene."

“It’s definitely bittersweet to have such great success and then close our doors, but another door is surely opening on the horizon. I’m so proud of what were able to convey with Sauced, showcasing locally grown food, imaginative and inspired cocktails, in a sexy, comfy setting with incredible music," Pell said in a prepared statement.

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Local lesbian chefs bring their expertise from TV to your table

Local chefs on Food Network's 'Chopped

Three Atlanta lesbian chefs tested their skills on episodes of “Chopped,” the popular Food Network cooking competition, during November and December, creating delicious dishes from the TV show’s mandatory — and often decidedly odd — ingredients.

Chef Ria Pell won her episode, which first aired Nov. 20. Chef Virginia Willis placed second after encountering an especially challenging ingredient during her Nov. 27 show. Chef Courtney Renn makes her debut Dec. 18, so tune in then to see if she also finishes among the top “Chopped” chefs.

In the meantime, we asked all of these culinary stars to share some of their holiday recipes to help keep you from getting “Chopped” this season.

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Atlanta lesbian chefs sharpen knives on reality TV

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Chef Ria Pell is the force behind the iconic Ria’s Bluebird and also, in more recent years, Sauced on Edgewood Avenue. The tattooed cook named GA Voice’s Best Chef in 2011, Pell is taking her talents into the kitchen of “Chopped,” the popular Food Network show hosted by former “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” star Ted Allen.

The gimmick that sets this show apart is that the chefs are given mystery baskets filled with anything from chicken feet to frozen french fries to duck hearts. They then have 20 minutes to come up with a creative, tasty and beautiful dish to wow the judges. Starting with four chefs, they compete in three rounds — appetizer, entrée and desert — facing an elimination after each until the winner is chosen.

Pell said she couldn’t reveal what ingredients she had to cook with — or if she won or was chopped without winning the $10,000 grand prize — before the episode airs Nov. 20.