The popular and talented chef James Sly had a stroke last week and passed away two days later at age 67. Sly, a Santa Barbara icon, operated with his wife Annie, Sly’s restaurant in Carpinteria from 2008 to 2018. Before that Sly was a chef at the El Encanto and the founding chef at Lucky’s in Montecito. He will be greatly missed.

James Sly was also a founding sponsor of The Restaurant Guy blog and supported this column during his Carpinteria restaurant’s entire 10-year run. Sly would periodically send me food news tips without using his real name and is the person who, years ago, came up with the idea of using reader “Annie” (his wife’s name) for all anonymous tips published in this column. Reader Annie continues to appear in The Restaurant Guy several times a month, and each time she does, consider it a wink from James Sly.

James Sly with wife Annie

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  1. Elise contreras says:

    I am so sorry for your loss he was a wonderful man.

  2. Kim says:

    This is heartbreaking news…we have missed Sly’s sooo much since James and Annie retired, and missed seeing them…it’s like we’re still reeling over the closure of the restaurant, and now this! Love to Annie and all their family! James Sly will be greatly missed.

    • Susan & Jack says:

      We also have been missing James & Annie since
      the restaurant closed…so many thoughts of them on
      8/8/19 …11 years from the opening in 2008….
      it was the first time we did not celebrate their anniversary
      with them at the restaurant…ah those wonderful
      tomatoes they put outside for all to enjoy…and the
      memories of Julia Child they shared with all….
      Carpinteria misses James’ chef skills & Annie’s
      beautiful smile….Slys was Carpinteria’s CHEERS
      where everyone knew your name

  3. Connie milano says:

    Oh this is sad

  4. Brad says:

    He was a class act, a great chef/restaurateur and a nice man.

  5. Susan says:

    We have missed the restaurant, but we have missed Sly and Annie more here in Carp. They were so generous in our community. Sending Annie and family our sympathy and love.

  6. Stuart Z Grossman says:

    We loved the food and ambiance. A truly enjoyable place.
    Montecito customers are so sorry for your loss.

  7. Anne Rizzoli says:

    This is such sad news:)
    He was a great chef and person. He will be greatly missed. Prayers to his family especially Annie!!
    Good one gone too soon.

  8. Kristen says:

    Heartbroken. He was one of a kind and meant so much to all of us in Carp. Our condolences to Annie.

  9. JP says:

    Sly’s was the best restaurant in Santa Barbara, period. We celebrated many family events there. Condolences to Annie and family.

  10. Beverly Schulte says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. He was so charismatic and a talented chef. I hope that you have lots of support from your family and friends. Bev Schulte

  11. Lyne Hamel says:

    I had the pleasure of working with James for many years at the CCWC at Hearst Castle. He was an amazing human. I will be holding Anne in my heart. (pats heart, and points to Sly)

  12. debbie says:

    there really are no words to describe him…..
    he was just awesome in soon many things…..
    a great friend, mentor, teacher, alway helpful and inspiring
    I just can’t believe he’s gone…..

  13. Louise Gardner says:

    This is indeed sad news for all of Santa Barbara. Sly was, I believe, a founding sponsor of Empty Bowls, the annual fundraiser for the SB Foodbank, giving back to those in our community who may never have had a clue what an amazing force of a chef he was. He will be missed well outside the culinary and foodie community. Sincere condolences to his family and friends.

  14. Jacky winter says:

    We were very sad to hear about James he will
    Be missed Our condolences to Annie family and friendsj