Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 9 December 2019

Chef Gary Rhodes dies in Dubai, aged 59

The celebrated chef had a strong presence in the Dubai restaurant scene

Chef Gary Rhodes has died in Dubai, aged 59.

He passed away on the evening of Tuesday, November 26, and was seen filming his new TV show in Dubai on Friday, November 22. He had lived in the emirate since 2010.

His family has released a statement asking for privacy during this time. "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, 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."

The teams at Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa where Rhodes ran fine-dining restaurants have said that they are "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."

Rhodes's cause of death is as of yet unconfirmed.

The Dubai British Schools Group, which Rhodes worked with to develop healthy school meals, also paid tribute. "We will remember him fondly and his memory will forever live on at our school through the Food Technology Suite that was named in his honour," said Executive Principal Brendon Fulton. "Our community will always associate him with the practical demonstrations that he gave in this suite, his humour, friendliness, inspiration and passion. We are all truly heartbroken by his sudden passing."

Gary Rhodes in the Food Technology Suite that was named in his honour at Dubai British School Jumeirah Park
Gary Rhodes in the Food Technology Suite that was named in his honour at Dubai British School Jumeirah Park. Supplied

The British celebrity got his first taste of Michelin success as a head chef when just 26 in 1986. Since then, he’s been at the helm of six one-star restaurants.

Nearly a decade ago, however, he decided to leave all that behind and move to Dubai, where he ran RhodesTwenty10 at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa, and Rhodes W1 at Grosvenor House Dubai, as well as his in-theatre dining concepts in collaboration with Vox Cinemas.

In 2013, Rhodes told The National that he saw himself in the UAE long term, “I’d like to think that my future is here. I love it.”

I’m not one of these chefs who sticks his name above a door and walks away

Gary Rhodes, 2014

When opening his Dubai restaurant Rhodes W1 in 2014, he told The National he "was always hands-on. I’m not one of these chefs who sticks his name above a door and walks away,” which he proved with his commitment to living close to the restaurants that he ran. He was renowned for his habit of coming out and chatting to the diners in his Dubai restaurants.

His Dubai Marina steakhouse Rhodes Twenty10 has said it will be "closed until further notice".

Tributes pour in

Vineet Bhatia, who has a restaurant in the Grosvenor House alongside Rhodes's, wrote "had known this gem of a man for years and in fact filmed with him just 4 days ago for his new TV series. RIP my friend and may God give strength to Jennie and your boys in these tough times."

Gordon Ramsay called Rhodes "a chef who put British cuisine on the map".

Jamie Oliver wrote, "Sadly Chef Gary Rhodes OBE passed away. My heart felt 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."

British chef Simon Hulstone tweeted: “Very sad to get a message this morning from Dubai informing me of the brilliant Chef and mentor Gary Rhodes passing last night. What a shining star for British gastronomy. Rest well Chef.”

Food and lifestyle personality Gillian McKeith wrote: “I’m shocked and saddened by the news of Gary Rhodes. Rest in peace. Prayers to the family. Such a wonderful person in this world. Gx”

Chef Gary O Hanlon said: “Ah no. The inspiration for many a good dinner and bad hair cut in my youth (and still today) Gary Rhodes and Floyd were always on the TV at home when I was a kid. Gone too soon. #RIP.”

Young British chef Tommy Banks wrote that he "was a pioneer who inspired so many young cooks."

Singer Paul Young said, “So sad to hear Gary Rhodes the British chef died last night at just 59. He was at the forefront of the gastronomy explosion in the 80s, ate at his place many times & just missed my chance to go to his restaurant in Dubai a couple of months ago. My sympathies to his wife & family.”

Presenter and former tennis star Andrew Castle wrote, “so very 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.”

Indian chef Vikas Khanna called Rhodes "one of the greats".

Updated: November 27, 2019 04:12 PM

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