Travis Wright is the celebrated chef and owner of The Shark on the Harbor restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland, died on August 18 at 45.
Wright’s wife, Jody Kelly Wright, who ran the restaurant with her husband, announced his tragic passing in a Facebook post. Jody referred to her husband as being, “so much more than a local chef and restaurant owner. He was a devoted son, husband, brother, friend and leader in our business community.”
The post did not mention Travis Wright’s cause of death. The conclusion of the post asks for donations to be made to the Jesse Klump Suicide Awareness and Prevention Program, 10737 Piney Island Dr. Bishopville, MD 21813, or the Worcester County Humane Society, P.O. Box 48, Berlin, MD 21811.
One Fellow Chef Said of Wright’s Passing: ‘Our Culinary World Lost a Superstar’
According to the Baltimore Sun, fellow Maryland chef Chad Wells said of Wright, “Travis played a huge role in changing the game not just in Ocean City, but in the region. I am so thankful for his important contributions to our food community and I am at an absolute loss for words. Our culinary world lost a superstar and even more so, the world lost an awesome person.”
The Shark on the Harbor had been featured by the Baltimore Sun earlier in August 2019. Wright told the newspaper at the time that he worked seven days a week in order to keep in touch with local seafood suppliers to ensure his restaurant got the freshest fish and seafood.
Wright went on to say that he was originally from Arlington, Virginia, and attended college in Charleston, South Carolina and that his cooking style was influenced by southern cooking.
Wright’s Wife Jody Said That the Couple’s ‘Mutual Love of Music Gifted Us the Best of Times Together’
Wright’s wife described her husband being a keen musician who played drums for a band in the Northern Virginia/Washington D.C.-area. Jody wrote that their “mutual love of music gifted us the best of times together.” In another paragraph, Jody wrote, “Travis was fearless, although I don’t think he would have described himself that way. Even so, I know it to be true. He was smart and creative and just quirky enough to make everyone around him feel that it was okay to be exactly who they were. He empowered people in his world to be great. Including me.”
Jody wrote of a friend, Jon Tremellen, saying of her husband, “Travis is a man of few words. But, when he speaks he has something thoughtful and important to say. So when he leans forward to say something, I listen.”
Wright Was Named as Maryland’s Chef of the Year in 2014
In a tribute to Wright, the Restaurant Association of Maryland says that in 2014, Wright was named as Maryland’s Chef of the Year.
The Shark on the Harbor has been in its current location for ten years. Chef Chad Wells had told the Baltimore Sun earlier in August 2019 that the restaurant “is still the best restaurant in Ocean City, Maryland, and one of my favorites in the state.”
According to his obituary, Wright had run the restaurant since 2000. The tribute says that a celebration of Wright’s life will take place on September 4 at The Shark on the Harbor.