St. Paul restaurant Forepaugh's is reeling from the sudden loss of its executive chef, Kyle Bell, who died Feb. 1 at the age of 32, the restaurant announced.

Bell, who cooked at Forepaugh's for about five years before being promoted to executive chef last fall, had been battling the flu, said general manager Mimi Doran.

"It was just a shock to everybody," Doran said.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday at Washburn-McReavy Funeral Chapel, 2301 Dupont Av. S., Minneapolis. Afterward, Forepaugh's is hosting a celebration of life, for which some of the restaurant's purveyors have donated food and flowers.

"The outpouring of kindness from restaurant patrons, friends, family and friends of staff, has just been amazing," Doran said.

Bell's uncle set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Bell's wife, Sarah, and two children, 3-year-old Stormy and 3-month-old Maurice.

Before his promotion, Bell was most recently sous chef at Forepaugh's. Before joining the restaurant, in an ornate Victorian mansion across from the Alexander Ramsey House, he worked at McCormick & Schmick's in Minneapolis and Mozza Mia in Edina.

The kitchen at Forepaugh's is currently in the hands of its sous chef. Doran said future plans will be discussed after "we go through this extremely difficult time."

Restaurant staff is remembering Bell for his compassion, calm demeanor, devotion to his family and, of course, his love of food. "We're just going to miss him enormously," Doran said.

Sharyn Jackson • 612-673-4853 Twitter: @SharynJackson