Tributes paid to founder of Gerard Cafe after news of his death
'For many years Gerard's in Jumeirah was the place to meet. It was always buzzing in the mornings, afternoons and evenings,' says customer Kirsty Heaton
Coffee shop owner Gerard Reymond has died at the age of 68. The news of his death was announced on Thursday.
“In our remembrance of a legend in Dubai. Our great Gerard who touched so many hearts. We already miss you. Love you papa,” posts on Facebook and Instagram read.
The owner of the popular Gerard Cafe chain, which was founded in 1978, was known for his cappuccinos, pastries and cakes, as well as his friendly rapport with customers. Many people credit him as a stalwart in helping to establish the roots of the vibrant cafe scene in the UAE today.
Gerard arrived in the UAE from France in 1978 after receiving an invitation to visit from a friend. He opened his first coffee shop in Sharjah the same year. Over time, he expanded his reach, opening branches in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah.
Since news of his death was announced, people from across the country have paid tribute to the man. Emirati writer Sultan Al Qassemi shared a photo of Gerard and himself at the cafe.
“RIP Gerard Raymond, founder of Gerard Cafe, who passed away aged 68. Gerard arrived in the UAE in 1978 setting up his famous French cafe carrying his name first in Sharjah at the Flying Saucer and later expanding to Dubai's Al Ghurair Centre & Magrudy's complex in Jumeirah,” tweeted Al Qassemi.
The exact cause of death has not been announced. His son Anthony Reymond thanked those who had offered kind words, as well as the medical professionals who treated his dad.
“On behalf of my father, I’d like to thank the doctors and nurses that did their best during and after dad’s heart surgery," he wrote on social media. "I’d like to also thank the healthcare system of the UAE, and the blood donors that have made the donations.
"Finally, I’m grateful for all the love and support sent to my dad during these past few days. Means a lot to us. Thank you all.”
Kirsty Heaton, a teacher at Mindful ME in Dubai, said her family have been visiting the Gerard Cafe for more than 30 years.
“For many years Gerard's in Jumeirah was the place to meet. It was always buzzing in the mornings, afternoons and evenings," she said.
"You would always see familiar faces, the staff were so welcoming and everyone knew each other. It was the 'hub' of the city and Gerard himself was always there, welcoming guests and chatting to his customers. The cafe had a family feel and the smell of freshly baked croissants was always in the air,” she said.
Updated: September 12, 2020 06:25 PM