Celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver and Ainsley Harriott have taken to social media to pay tribute to MasterChef star Gary Rhodes who died at the age of 59 on Tuesday.
“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 Gx,” Gordon wrote on Twitter.
Jamie called the British-born chef ‘a massive inspiration’ and offered his thoughts to his family.
“Sadly Chef Gary Rhodes OBE passed away. My heartfelt sympathies to his wife, kids, friends and family, sending love and thoughts ..... Gary was a fantastic chef and incredible ambassador for British cooking, he was a massive inspiration to me as a young chef. He reimagined modern British cuisine with elegance and fun. rest in peace Chef,” the ‘Naked Chef’ wrote on Instagram.
Award-winning chef Vineet Bhatia shared a photo of himself with Rhodes, saying he was filming with him just four days ago, while Ainsley Harriott of SBS’s Ainsley’s Market Menu called him a ‘lovely man’.
MasterChef star Gary Rhodes dead at 59
The star of MasterChef and MasterChef USA – famous for his signature spiky hairdo – died at his family home in Dubai, where he has lived since 2011.
In a statement released to Sky News by independent content producer Goldfinch TV and Rock Oyster Media, who was producing Rhodes’ new show, the company confirmed: "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 said in a statement: “The Rhodes family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved husband, father and brother, Gary Rhodes OBE.
“Gary passed away last evening 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”.
‘A true culinary legend’
Rhodes had two sons, Sam and George, with wife Jennie. He was granted his OBE in 2006 and earned a record five Michelin stars during his career.
Born in 1960, he underwent major brain surgery at 19 when he was hit by a transit van on a night out.
He got his big break on TV at 27 and his TV shows include the likes of Rhodes Around Britain and Gary's Perfect Christmas.
In 2008 he competed on Strictly Come Dancing and was the third celebrity to be voted off after the judges slated his footwork as “flat as a pancake”.
He moved to the United Arab Emirates in 2011 and opened steakhouse restaurant called Rhodes Twenty10.
A message on its website reads: “Closed from 16th September until further notice”.
A statement from the hotel where he worked said: “The team at Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa are devastated to hear of the tragic passing of Chef Gary Rhodes OBE.
“Not only has the industry lost a true culinary legend, we have also lost an inspirational human being and a very dear friend.
“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.”
Additional reporting by Albertina Lloyd.
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