Chef Gary Rhodes, Who Changed the Perception of British Cuisine, Has Died

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Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes has died at the age of 59.

A statement released by his family, and tweeted by Richard Vines, said: “The Rhodes family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved husband, father and brother, Gary Rhodes OBE. Gary passed away last evening, Tuesday 26th November 2019, at the age of 59…”

It is understood that the chef was in Dubai.

Over the course of his career, Rhodes headed up six Michelin-starred restaurants and was awarded an OBE in 2006.

Born in 1960 in south London, Rhodes grew up in Kent and trained as a chef in Thanet, where he met his wife, Jennie. His first restaurant job was at the Amsterdam Hilton, after which he cooked in the likes of the Reform Club on Pall Mall and the Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge. At 26 he became head chef at the Castle Hotel in Taunton, retaining its Michelin star, before taking the reins at the Greenhouse in Mayfair aged 30. It won a Michelin star six years later. (Not all of his ventures were so critically lauded: in 2015 his Plymouth restaurant @ The Dome was given a zero rating by food-hygeine inspectors.)

Le Pont de la Tour Restaurant Celebrates its 20th Birthday - Inside
Gary Rhodes (far right) with Fergus Henderson, Michel Roux Jr, Sir Terence Conran and David Burke in London in 2011
Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

Although he was best known for being one of the chefs who ‘updated’ classic British dishes like bread and butter pudding and cottage pie in the 1990s, Rhodes credited his Jamaican stepfather with giving him an interest in culinary cultures outside the UK. In 2012 he and his family moved to the Middle East, where he lent his name to a series of restaurant projects.

Rhodes fronted shows including the BBC’s MasterChef and Rhodes Around Britain, and was also a guest on Shooting Stars – hosts Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer requested that he “represent fire through the medium of dance”.

More soon.