Eutiquio Sanz, 66, Tio Pepe chef for more than 20 years


Eutiquio Sanz, a retired chef who for more than two decades prepared the celebrated Spanish cuisine of the downtown Baltimore restaurant Tio Pepe, died of cancer Sunday of cancer at Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. The Bolton Hill resident was 66.

Mr. Sanz was born and raised in Segovia, Spain. At 15, he became an apprentice chef and began working in some of Madrid's finest restaurants. A decade later, he moved to Tenerife in the Canary Islands, and took over as head chef of the five-star Hotel Valle Mar.

During the summer of 1983, his cousin Pedro Sanz, owner of Tio Pepe Restaurante at 10 East Franklin St., arrived for a visit in Tenerife and convinced him that he should bring his culinary expertise to Baltimore.

Mr. Sanz agreed to come to Baltimore and work in the restaurant for 18 months, bringing his wife, the former Carmen Leon Gonzalez, and their three children. But the 18 months became 22 years.

Last year, the couple became naturalized citizens.

"Eutiquio was our sous chef. He was a very dependable and experienced chef and always nice to work with," said Miguel Sanz, a cousin who is co-owner of Tio Pepe. "He only retired last year because of failing health."

"Every morning, he was a man who had to prepare a feast, and every morning he started with cold stoves, empty pots and raw food, and by the end of every day, he had satisfied many hungry customers," said a son, Lorenzo Sanz of Glen Arm. "He was a hard-working man who never missed a day of work during his 22 years at the restaurant."

Mr. Sanz was known for his paella as well as for his large seafood salads and chicken and lobster entrees. His flan and rice pudding dishes were prepared from old family recipes.

"He's the most wonderful and kindest man I've ever known," said Rose A. Starkey, who with her husband, Michael J. Starkey, dines at Tio Pepe at least three times a month.

"I loved his garlic shrimp and his sauteed soft crabs. They're the best I've ever eaten in the world, and I won't eat them anywhere else," she said. "For special customers, he'd make The Sword, a dish that wasn't on the menu. He'd take a large filet mignon and cover it with spinach and tomatoes, and served it on a brass sword."

When Mr. Sanz visited the Starkeys' home, he always enjoyed preparing champagne sangria, a favorite of the couple.

"He was a Spanish-speaking man who didn't learn English," said Kim Schonfeld of Abingdon, a friend of Mr. Sanz and his family for many years and a regular customer since 1983. "He always had a smile on his face and was able to communicate through his face."

"He was a chef among chefs, and I loved his garlic chicken, which he served with lots and lots of Spanish red wines. He loved his red wine no matter what time of the day. Outside of the restaurant, he loved preparing paella for family and friends," Ms. Schonfeld said.

"He had no hobbies except the kitchen. That was his hobby," said daughter-in-law Antonietta P. Sanz of Glen Arm. "He loved his work and he loved doing it home as well. Whenever or wherever there was a party, he'd always bring the food."

Mr. Sanz was a communicant of St. Michael the Archangel Roman Catholic Church and of Casa Espana, a cultural organization in Dundalk.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, 200 E. Padonia Road, Timonium.

In addition to his wife of 41 years and his son, Mr. Sanz is survived by another son, Juan Carlos Sanz of Madrid; a daughter, Fatima Sanz of Geneva; his mother, Emiliana Sanz, brother Teodosio Sanz and sister Eulalia Sanz, all of Madrid; and three grandsons.

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