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'Daddy Jack' Chaplin, iconic chef in New London, dies at 62

Jack Chaplin, a beloved figure in the New London food community through his restaurant Daddy Jack's and popular YouTube channels, died Tuesday, his family announced. He was 62.

Daddy Jack's had posted on Facebook in late April asking for prayers, saying that Jack had a triple bypass heart surgery in September and started having complications. One of his daughters wrote Tuesday, "It is with deep and profound sadness that we share that after a courageous battle, our dad passed away today."

Last summer, Chaplin talked to The Day about the struggles of the pandemic and his future plans, saying he was "low on energy" and looking for a path to retirement even before COVID-19 hit. But there were other projects he was interested in, such as his "Chaplin's Classics" and "Cookin' with the Blues" YouTube channels, and producing blues albums for his Jack Daddy label. Each of his channels has amassed more than 100,000 subscribers.

Chaplin was raised in Vernon and graduated from Johnson & Wales in 1978, going on to work at restaurants across the country. He became a local star in Dallas, where he opened Daddy Jack's and served New England seafood.

Chaplin returned to Connecticut then came to the New London area in 2009, when he opened Chaplin's restaurant. He eventually closed Chaplin's to focus on Daddy Jack's, which opened in 2014.

The restaurateur said last summer, "I think if you can always work at what you love, you'll be in a good place. New London is a good place. We love it here. It's a great city with great people."

 

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