The World Lost A Great Chef

Just got wind of some horrible news a few days ago. Chef Tony Van Rees, a wonderful chef and friend who believed in me recently passed away. He didn’t have any health issues, as far as I know. He always had a big smile on his face, no matter what.

Shocked.. This is the word that comes to my mind when I think about chef Tony. He just emailed me a few days prior to his passing, inquiring about my spices and teas. It doesn’t seem real that he is gone. Why would this happen to a kind soul like him?? Why.. why.. why.. 

Such a huge inspiration to me, to many people as I can see on his Facebook page from the beautiful comments. Not only was he a great chef, but he was full of energy, passion, and love. He was one of my favorite teachers at Le Cordon Bleu. He taught me baking and pastry, and he made class fun. He always made sure to engage with every student, and make sure each person was learning. He invited my friend and I to his Fat Cat Scone shop, where he made the best and delicious scones. I remember picking up the aroma of fresh scones in the air, and my mouth was watering. I was lucky enough to see the production of Fat Cat Scones.  For those who reside in Sacramento, I’m sure you have tried one of his scones. I know he sold FCS to some local markets in the area. He even brought scones to our class one day, and I remember each student was so very happy.

In dedication to chef Tony I want to make some scones. I decided to try out an orange and chocolate scone recipe of my families. I dug out some old recipes, and guess what found a winner. I think chef would be happy that I am trying this recipe out.

If I could say a few words to chef, I just want to say thank you! Thank you for believing in me, and for your continuous support for Kouzounas Kitchen. I know you read on my FB that my first cookbook is published, and I put your name in the dedication page. Many people miss you chef, and my heart goes out to your family. I am praying for them, and words can’t express how I feel right now. DANG YOU LEFT WAY TOO YOUNG!!

Here is to you chef, and I hope you aren’t laughing at my scone recipe. πŸ™‚ The family actually dived into these this morning and my parents approved. πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» I could tell my mom’s heart was a bit broken when I explained the story behind the scones. She remembered when I would come home from culinary school, and the many stories I would tell her about chef Tony.
Life is short people, so please live each day to the fullest. 

Orange Dark Chocolate Scones 


  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pinch pink Himalayan sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons organic sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 Oranges, reserve juice
  • 4 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 cup semi sweet dark chocolate chips/ chopped chocolate
  • Honey for the glaze



  1. In a large bowl, add the dry ingredients. (AP flour ,baking powder, baking soda,  sea salt, and sugar.)
  2. Next in another bowl, whisk the liquids together. ( Egg, vanilla, buttermilk, orange juice, orange zest.)
  3. Add the tiny bits of butter into the flour, making sure to cut in the butter. (The flour mix should be crumbly.)
  4. Next add the liquid to the flour mix, as well as the chocolate chips.
  5. Shape your dough into a round disk, patting it down a bit. Place disk in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove dough from refrigerator, and flour a working surface.
  7. Follow my diagram above, and cut 8 wedge pieces out of the dough.
  8. Place scones on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown. Once you remove from oven, drizzle honey over the top and serve while warm.

-Scones are best served warm paired with coffee or tea. 




  1. Thanks for this tribute. I was also a friend of Tony’s. We were in a fantasy basketball league for over 10 years. Each year the members of the league, there were thirteen of us, would get away for a long weekend where we’d eat, drink and spend time together. Those of us who enjoyed cooking would split up the meals and cook for the group. Of course, Tony would always be in charge of one meal. Often a perfectly cook piece of meat. This past November it was a full prime rib roast. The time before that it was schnitzel and spaetzle. But more than eating his food, I enjoyed cooking for Tony. I’m just a home cook, but Tony would always find his way into the kitchen, taste the meal in progress, tell me how awesome it was, and offer some simple suggestion to make it better. He was encouraging and always made me feel good about my skills. One of the nicest people I’ve ever known.

  2. Beautiful tribute. I’m sure he is smiling at the decadence those scones surely were, and the love in which you prepared them in his honor. <3 Big hugs. Sending you comforting vibes. As he added to your life, you certainly added to his. xo

  3. Sorry, Krystina mou for losing a friend and mentor!

    Life is unpredictable and only the soul and God knows why we exit this life untimely.
    May you always remember chef Tony. May his soul rest in peace.

    Love you!

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