BY JAMES DAVIES
Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes has died at the age of 59.
South London born Rhodes was in Dubai when he passed away on Tuesday with his wife at his bedside.
A family statement said: “The Rhodes family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved husband, father and brother, Gary Rhodes OBE.
“The family would like to thank everyone for their support and ask for privacy during this time.”
The spikey haired chef ran two restaurants in the emirate and is said to have been working “until the day he died” according to a spokesperson for Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa, where he worked.
Rhodes was born in South London on 22 April in 1960 before moving with his family to Gillingham in Kent. After a brief stint studying shipping management, he went on to catering college in Thanet where he met wife Jennie.
He was seriously injured after being hit by a transit van in Amsterdam during his first job at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel.
At the age of 26 he became head chef at the Castle Hotel in Taunton and retained its Michelin star.
He came back to London in 1990 and championed British cuisine as head chef at Greenhouse in Mayfair before launching several restaurants including Michelin starred City Rhodes and Rhodes In The Square.
Rhodes made his first TV appearance at the age of 27 on Hot Chefs before going on to become a regular staple on cooking programmes including MasterChef, Hell’s Kitchen and his own series – Rhodes Around Britain.
Tributes have flooded in following the news.
Gordon Ramsey – whose restaurants include Southwark’s Union Street Café – said on twitter: “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.”
Wandsworth schooled TV chef Ainsely Harriott, said: “So sad to hear the news about Gary Rhodes. A true culinary icon and a lovely man.”
Rhodes is survived by wife Jennie and sons Samuel and George.
Picture: Gary Rhodes, centre, surprises Gordon Ramsey in 2006.