A celebration life service will honor the memory of Scott McLeod, 41, who died suddenly March 22 at Alma de Cuba on Walnut Street in Rittenhouse, where he worked for the last year as its chef.

It's scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, March 30 at New Liberty Distillery (1431 N. Cadwallader St.) in Kensington.

Chef McLeod had worked in Philadelphia for more than a decade, picking up awards and praise while at such restaurants as Denim Lounge and Bridget Foy's, as well as Latin destinations such as Azafran, Pasion, Cuba Libre and Alma de Cuba.

About 12 years ago, he owned Fresca Superior, a pizzeria in Rittenhouse.

He died of natural causes related to heart disease, the city's Medical Examiner's Office said.

By phone, his father, Bob, a lawyer, said Scott always loved the kitchen. "He used to drive us crazy when he was a little bitty kid - he made such a mess," Bob McLeod said. "He was better at cooking than cleaning."

The family moved from Monroe, La., to Asheville, N.C., where a kitchen job "ignited something inside of him," his father said. He attended the L'Academie de Cuisine in Washington, D.C., and externed at Rive Gauche.

Besides his father, he is survived by his girlfriend, Erica Jane, his stepmother, Daphne McLeod, a sister, Michelle McLeod Baker, and a stepbrother, Jed Edwards. His mother, Ann, died two years ago of heart disease, his father said.