Food Industry

Richard Hales Rushed to Emergency Brain Surgery as Jenny Hales Calls on Miami's Prayer Warriors UPDATED

Jenny and Richard Hales of Blackbrick, Sakaya Kitchen, and Bird & Bone.
Jenny and Richard Hales of Blackbrick, Sakaya Kitchen, and Bird & Bone. Photo by Robert Hales
click to enlarge Jenny and Richard Hales of Blackbrick, Sakaya Kitchen, and Bird & Bone. - PHOTO BY ROBERT HALES
Jenny and Richard Hales of Blackbrick, Sakaya Kitchen, and Bird & Bone.
Photo by Robert Hales
Update: Richard Hales is recovering from successful surgery. On his Instagram account, the chef posted a thank-you: "I'm here again blessed in so many ways. Only dealing with pain and not the worse like so many I see here at the hospital. It's incredible what we can endure with all the love and prayers sent my way."

Sakaya Kitchen and Blackbrick chef and owner Richard Hales will undergo emergency brain surgery this morning following a procedure to remove an 8-year-old brain tumor at the beginning of this year.

Hales said he's been having trouble with his vision since late January and returned to the doctor to try to solve the problem. This past weekend, things became so bad he went blind in his right eye. After overseeing a photo shoot for Bird & Bone's spring menu, Hales was rushed to the hospital for a battery of tests that resulted in a spinal tap and news he would have to undergo surgery again to reduce the pressure inside his skull.

"The spinal tap was fucking excruciating," he said. "I don't recommend it to anybody, and it's not even a permanent fix."

Hales was in good spirits when New Times spoke with him by phone ahead of the surgery Tuesday morning. He said he was grateful for all the support he's received since a story earlier this month revealed he has struggled for a decade with seemingly never-ending health problems while continuing to work long hours in the kitchen and open restaurant after restaurant.

"Positive energy helps," he said. "I'm hoping it's not as bad as the last time, and I'm hoping to be back at it as soon as I can."
click to enlarge Richard Hales transported to the hospital. - PHOTO BY JENNY HALES
Richard Hales transported to the hospital.
Photo by Jenny Hales
Hales' health journey was chronicled in a February New Times story. His issues began in summer 2011 when doctors found a slow-growing brain tumor called a meningioma. The chef experienced severe headaches and vomiting but continued working to build a culinary empire that includes Sakaya Kitchen, Blackbrick Chinese, Bird & Bone, and his latest endeavor, Society BBQ at the Citadel food hall.

His wife, Jenny, posted the following message on Facebook: "Prayer warriors please send us some good ones. Richard Hales complications from original surgery and he's going into another brain surgery this morning to fix it." The Miami culinary community is rallying around the family with good thoughts for a complete recovery. 
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss
Zachary Fagenson became the New Times Broward-Palm Beach restaurant critic in 2012 before taking up the post for Miami in 2014. He also works as a correspondent for Reuters.
Contact: Zachary Fagenson