Olathe — John Joyce, the chef who led the Johnson County Community College culinary team to national and international titles, died Saturday in his Lawrence home. He was 53.
Joyce's culinary team at the college won two national championships and an international championship.
The team, with Joyce serving as assistant U.S. coach, took second place at the Culinary Olympics last year in Erfurt, Germany.
Joyce died Saturday morning of cardiac arrhythmia, said Natalie Hamilton, his partner of 11 years.
He died shortly after he woke up at 3:30 a.m. to join his students at the college for a 5 a.m. practice for culinary competitions.
He was born in England and moved to Kansas City in 1984. He was executive sous chef at the Alameda Plaza Hotel and executive chef at the Allis Plaza Hotel before joining Johnson County Community College in 1991 as a culinary professor.
Joyce was a demanding, tough leader, said his boss, Lindy Robinson, the academic director of hospitality management. "It was always about their success, never about his," Robinson said. "He wanted these kids to reach their full potential."
Joyce is survived by three children and six grandchildren. Funeral services will be 3 p.m. Saturday at Mt. Moriah and Freeman Chapel in Kansas City.