Tributes have been pouring in from the culinary world for British chef Gary Rhodes, who died suddenly in Dubai yesterday of natural causes at the age of 59.
The spikey-haired father of two championed modern British cuisine and was one of the first celebrity chefs in the UK, paving the way for the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver.
In an online tribute yesterday, Ramsay called Rhodes “a fantastic chef” that “put British cuisine on the map”.
Jamie Oliver described Rhodes as “an incredible ambassador for British cooking and a massive inspiration to me as a young chef. He reimagined modern British cuisine with elegance and fun”.
TV chef Nigella Lawson also paid tribute to Rhodes, calling him “such a talent”, while the former presenter of Ready, Steady, Cook, Ainsley Harriott, said he was “a true culinary icon and a lovely man”.
John Williams, head chef of The Ritz London, tweeted that Rhodes was “one of the very best British chefs”, while Paul Ainsworth, a protégé of Rhodes, spoke of how the chef gave him his first break, paying for him to stay in a London hotel for three months so that he could move to the Big Smoke and begin his career.
“This man’s vision and knowledge of gastronomy was like nothing else. His mastery of simplicity was unsurpassed. I will forever be lucky to know I got to cook with him and call him boss and mentor. Rest in peace chef and thank you for everything,” Ainsworth said in a touching tribute on Instagram.
During his fruitful career, Rhodes was head chef at six Michelin-starred restaurants and was awarded an OBE in 2006. He went on to author a number of cookbooks, including Rhodes Around Britain, moving to the Middle East in 2012, where he worked until his death.