8 March 2024

Vale Jason Orange, beloved father and dedicated chef

| Zoe Cartwright
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Jason Orange.

Jason Orange was a proud chef at Kiama’s Saltwater Cafe, who loved his family and hospitality above all else, his daughter Annalyce Orange said after Jason died on 5 March. Photo: Annalyce Orange.

The Illawarra community is mourning the death of beloved dad and chef Jason Orange on Tuesday.

Jason, who was born in the Illawarra, lived in Berkeley and was chef at the Saltwater Cafe in Kiama.

Jason’s daughter, Annalyce, has paid tribute to her father after he died unexpectedly on Tuesday 5 March, aged 47.

“He was a lovely man, a good man, he was very family orientated and he loved us kids,” she said.

“He loved his hospitality and we weren’t surprised to see how highly his customers have spoken not just about his food but about him as well.

“He loved to spend time with his kids, grandkids and parents, and take trips around the Illawarra with us.”

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Jason was a chef at Saltwater Cafe in Kiama for the past five years, staying with the business when current owner Gulcin Topel bought it in 2021.

She paid tribute to him via Facebook on Thursday (7 March), which prompted an outpouring of grief from customers who remembered Jason’s kindness, willingness to have a chat and wonderful food.

“Jason was the rock who supported us from the beginning, staying on in the kitchen when we took over the cafe in May 2021, and easing our entry into the community,” Gulcin said.

“Jason’s contribution to Saltwater’s success is measured in the thousands of customers who enjoyed and praised his food, especially the many who made a point of visiting the kitchen to thank him.

“Illawarra born and bred, Jason, 47, was a vital member of the local community and a passionate family man.”

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The talent Jason contributed to the business was recognised last year when Salwater Cafe was voted the Illawarra and South Coast region’s Outstanding Restaurant at the 2023 Local Business Awards.

Jason leaves behind two daughters in their 20s, a 13-year-old son and three grandchildren, twin five-year-old boys and a one-year-old.

As Jason died suddenly, and did not have funeral or life insurance, his children are facing a heavy financial burden, as well as the loss of their much-loved father.

Annalyce has set up a GoFundMe appeal to help raise money for his funeral, and in 24 hours it has raised more than $5000 towards Jason’s funeral costs.

“Our family would be so grateful for every cent that is donated to help Dad’s family and community celebrate his life,” Annalyce said.

To contribute, go to: https://gofund.me/c8940871

Details about Jason’s funeral service will be published on the Saltwater Cafe Facebook page.

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