TV chef Gary Rhodes died 'after falling ill during break in filming'

Thursday 28th November 2019 10:00 GMT

The 59-year-old, who appeared on programmes including Rhodes Around Britain and MasterChef during his celebrated cookery career, passed away yesterday.

He was working on a new series for ITV with Rock Oyster Media, a subsidiary of Goldfinch.

In a statement, Goldfinch said: "Gary was in the middle of filming a wonderful new series with Rock Oyster Media for ITV from his base in Dubai.

"Gary was taken ill very suddenly at home during a break in filming and died a short time afterwards.

"Production was obviously halted as soon as Gary was taken ill and members of the Rock Oyster Team remain in Dubai to support the family as best they can."

His family had said they were "deeply saddened" by his death.

In a statement, they 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 26 November, at the age of 59, with his beloved wife Jennie by his side. The family would like to thank everyone for their support and ask for privacy during this time."

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At the time of his death, Rhodes ran restaurants at two hotels in Dubai, which also released a joint statement.

The teams at Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa said they were "devastated" to learn of his death and hailed him as a "true culinary legend" and "very dear friend".

They said: "No words can express our sadness at Gary's death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rhodes family."

Rhodes was also filming a new TV series in Dubai, according to his friend and fellow chef Vineet Bhatia.

He posted a photo of the pair on Instagram along with the caption: "Extremely sad to know of Chef Gary Rhodes sudden passing away.? ?

"Had known this gem of a man & an amazing chef for years and in fact filmed with him just 4 days ago in Dubai for his new TV series.? ?RIP my friend and may God give strength to Jennie and your boys in these tough times."

Tributes have been paid from famous chefs in the UK and abroad, with Rhodes having built up a strong international reputation thanks to his restaurants overseas.

Marcus Wareing told Sky News: "Gary was an iconic chef, he was an icon of British cuisine. He was the chef that really revolutionised British food, because we're all trained the French classical way.

"Gary was a classically trained chef in the style of French cuisine, but decided to talk and cook just about English cookery so really did revolutionise our thinking about the way we cook things here.

He added: "Gary really took the old style recipes that were British recipes that mums and grans used to cook, and did them very well, and put them in front of restaurateurs and our customers.

"The classic fish and chips, the pies, the beautiful puddings we're well known for, Gary brought them to the forefront."

Gordon Ramsay posted on Instagram: "We lost a fantastic chef today in Gary Rhodes. He was a chef who put British cuisine on the map. Sending all the love and prayers to your wife and kids. You'll be missed."

Also on Instagram, Jamie Oliver described Rhodes as an "incredible ambassador for British cooking" and a "massive inspiration to me as a young chef".

He added: "He reimagined modern British cuisine with elegance and fun. Rest in peace Chef."

On Twitter, another celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall described Rhodes as "an amazing chef" who "led the charge for British cooking".

James Martin, best known for his cooking shows on the BBC and ITV, said he was "hugely influential in my life and the life of the British food scene".

Polish chef Damian Wawrzyniak, who has cooked for the Royal Family and at the London Olympics, tweeted: "I came to this country over 15 years ago, all I knew it was Gary Rhodes, Nico Ladenis and Pierre Koffmann!

"True culinary king just passed away, I am sure Mise en place is already prepped in heaven for you Chef!"

Cook and Sunday Brunch host Simon Rimmer said Rhodes was "a lovely man who gave me great advice when I first started out", adding: "Love and thoughts to Jennie and the boys."

Former Ready Steady Cook presenter Ainsley Harriott tweeted: "So sad to hear the news about Gary Rhodes. A true culinary icon and a lovely man.

"Sending my love and thoughts to his wife Jennie and their boys. RIP, my friend. xx."

Food critic Jay Rayner said: "Terribly saddened by the news of Gary Rhodes' death, far far too young.

"He was a complex man. Most of all he was an astonishing restaurant chef."

Andrew Castle, who competed alongside Rhodes on Strictly Come Dancing in 2008, tweeted: "So very sorry sorry to hear of the death of Gary Rhodes. A charming man, kind and thoughtful.

"With all our love to Jennie and the two boys Sam and George. Gary and I were terrified on Strictly together and became very close. A terrible loss."

London-born Rhodes grew up in Kent before embarking on his career, which took off soon after he completed his cookery training at a college in Thanet.

He was a chef at the Amsterdam Hilton and Capital hotels before becoming head chef at the Castle hotel in Taunton, where he retained its Michelin star at the age of just 26 and developed his famous passion for British food.

According to The Caterer magazine, he returned to London in 1990 to become head chef at Greenhouse in Mayfair, which won its first Michelin star six years later.

He went on to launch several restaurants bearing his name, including Rhodes & Co, Rhodes 24 and Rhodes W1.

His first overseas eatery opened at the Calabash hotel in the Caribbean in 2004, which was followed by the cruise ship restaurant Arcadian Rhodes in 2005.

Later restaurants named after him included the Rhodes D7 in Dublin, the Rhodes Mezzanine in Dubai, and the now closed King Rhodes and Rhodes South in Dorset.

Jaideep Bhatia, PR director of the Grosvenor House Dubai, said Rhodes was working "until the day he died".

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