MUKILTEO — A prominent Edmonds chef is presumed dead after a diving accident around the waters of Mukilteo Lighthouse Park in mid-June.
The 33-year-old diver who went missing on June 17 was identified by his family as Hans Korompis, the director and creative force behind Mar•Ket in Edmonds.
“There’s nothing harder than losing one of your top management to a tragedy,” said Feedme Hospitality owner Shubert Ho, who opened Mar•Ket under his restaurant group. “The sudden disappearance is the hardest part.”
Around 9:15 a.m. June 17, two recreational divers were reported to be in distress near Lighthouse Park, per the Mukilteo Police Department. One, a 33-year-old Everett man, came to shore. Korompis never surfaced. Several agencies searched the water, including the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Coast Guard, but authorities couldn’t find him.
Korompis was likely caught in an underwater current, said Ho, acting as a spokesperson for Korompis’ family.
The Korompis family expressed gratitude to responding officers for their efforts to find him.
Ho said Mar•Ket staff members initially worried Korompis was the missing person, as he was an avid diver and hadn’t shown up for work after the incident.
“He was just shucking oysters a week and a half ago with me,” Ho said. “It is surreal.”
Korompis joined Feedme Hospitality in 2015 as a line cook at Salt & Iron in Edmonds. He quickly became one of their best line cooks. His cool and collected demeanor, culinary creativity and passion for food didn’t go unnoticed: In 2018, the restaurant group sought Korompis to lead Mar•Ket, a new seafood-forward concept.
“Mar•Ket was really built for Hans and not the other way around,” Ho said. “We came up with the idea, we put him into place and let him just run wild.”
The Edmonds eatery is known for its lobster rolls, classic fish and chips, and inventive dishes like Dungeness crab doughnuts. Korompis shaped Mar•Ket through his multicultural upbringing and love of food from both the Pacific Northwest and around the world.
Korompis helped expand the brand and mentor staff in four locations: downtown Edmonds, the Seattle Art Museum, the Olympic Sculpture Park and Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery.
“He grew that place through the pandemic and held our company up,” Ho said.
During the pandemic, Feedme Hospitality transformed into a community kitchen to provide meals for food-insecure families and frontline workers.
“Our mantra since starting the community kitchen was to pour back into the community,” Ho said. “Hans embodied that.”
Ho told The Daily Herald that Korompis, a Singapore native, achieved and lived the Asian American immigrant’s dream. He became director of a beloved Edmonds restaurant — the highest position at Feedme Hospitality (besides ownership) — and helped buy his family a house in Edmonds two years ago.
Hans is survived by his mother, father and two brothers, who relied on him as a major financial contributor. The family set up an online fundraiser to help with finances as they adjust to the sudden loss.
“We still hope and pray Hans would come back to us one day, so we could all send him off properly. It is the least he deserved,” the Korompis family wrote. “However, even if he doesn’t, let’s not be too hard on ourselves, because he never liked to trouble other people, and is doing what he loves — travelling around the world.”
Outside of Mar•Ket, Korompis was a chef influencer and food vlogger on social media. On Instagram, he made reels of creative dishes you won’t see on a restaurant menu — those classic chef cravings for a late night or lazy Sunday. Korean instant noodles topped with pork katsu and blistering cheese, strawberry kimchee, a mortadella-and-Cheetos sandwich.
“Hans loved cooking and eating. … Hans also loved travelling,” his family wrote in a post on his Instagram profile. “His ultimate dream was to combine both, while making his home in Ubud (Bali, Indonesia).”
Ho said Mar•Ket will continue running in his absence.
“If there’s anything that Hans has done, it’s to train protégés and create a system that lasted,” Ho said.
After seven years at Feedme, of building and expanding a restaurant brand and training its next generation of chefs, Korompis was prepared to leave Mar•Ket.
“He was ready to move on to the next adventure,” Ho said.