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Beloved chef Jack Riebel shares 'miracle' cancer news

Jack Riebel says his oncologist had never seen a patient respond to chemotherapy treatment so well.

Jack Riebel says his oncologist had never seen a patient respond to chemotherapy treatment so well. Facebook

Just two months after detailing his fight against cancer, iconic Twin Cities chef Jack Riebel was back with an update over the weekend.

It wasn't what anyone who'd read the Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine story about Riebel would've expected—perhaps least of all Riebel himself. The self-made and decorated kitchen master's resume inlcudes head-chef stints at La Belle Vie, Butcher & the Boar, and Dakota Jazz Club.

Most recently, Riebel undertook the task of reopening the Lexington in St. Paul, a process that took years, but was worth the wait; in our review of the restaurant's 2017 resurrection, Riebel was labeled "consistently the Twin Cities' best chef."

The food scene was rocked, then, to learn Riebel was suffering from cancer that had gone undetected for some time. (A doctor at first blamed symptoms on the chef's life of late nights and long hours.) The cancer was determined to be "advanced stage 3," mutating, and had spread to his liver. 

"It's a rare, rare cancer, there's no cure, but I'm hopeful," Riebel told MSP, saying he'd be treated with chemotherapy, and was stepping back from actively working the line at the Lexington. In one moment revealing the severity of his illness, Riebel contemplated what kind of "legacy" he might "leave behind."

That sort of talk can be put on hold with a Facebook post Riebel published over the weekend. 

Chemo worked wonders, Riebel wrote, and he's now "99 percent cancer reduced," and can switch to "maintenance therapy" instead. Riebel's oncologist told him the recovery was "nothing short of a miracle," and that he'd "never seen such a positive response to this treatment regimen."

Reiterating that there's no cure for his type of cancer, Riebel wrote: "This does not get me out of the woods, but I can see the light!" 

"It is with much gratitude I post this today," Riebel wrote. "To all of the people in my life and in the social media world that came to my side. You showered me in prayers, blessings, meals, and love. You were my chemo buddies, my support group, and champions for me in my darkest of hours."

Riebel didn't specify on Facebook what his recovery meant for his career running the Lexington, though few if any of the hundreds of people offering support seemed to care.