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British Television Chef Gary Rhodes Dies at 59

Television chef Gary Rhodes, who hosted “Masterchef USA” for two seasons and fronted his own cooking program, has died. He was 59.

Rhodes suddenly fell ill during a break in filming a new show in Dubai for ITV by Rock Oyster Media, which belongs to Goldfinch’s stable of companies. Rhodes ran two restaurants in Dubai.

Rhodes’ family said in a statement that they were “deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved husband, father and brother Gary Rhodes.” The London-born chef died Tuesday “with his beloved wife, Jennie, by his side.”

In a joint statement, Rock Oyster Media and Goldfinch said they were “devastated by this tragic news. 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.”

Rhodes opened his first two restaurants in London in 1997 and 1998, both of which went on to earn a Michelin star. He cooked meals for Princess Diana and other celebrities, wrote a number of cookbooks and began opening eateries overseas.

Fellow celebrity chef Jamie Oliver called Rhodes “a fantastic chef and incredible ambassador for British cooking,” and credited him with being “a massive inspiration to me as a young chef.”

Rhodes first appeared on television in the late 1980s on a show called “Hot Chefs.” He fronted his own program, “Rhodes Around Britain” in the 1990s, and hosted “Masterchef USA” in 2000 and 2001.

“Gary was one of the true greats of the British food world, part of that great gang of chefs that turned TV cooks into rock stars and encouraged millions of people around the world to get into their kitchens and start cooking,” David Nottage, managing director of Rock Oyster, said. “He had a wicked sense of humor, but his standards and work ethic were second to none. A driven, fastidious and incredibly hard-working individual, he was unerringly focused, always, on producing food of the highest possible quality. It is a great privilege to have known him and worked with him over many years. He will be greatly missed by us all.”

Gordon Ramsay paid tribute to Rhodes on Wednesday, writing on Twitter, “He was a chef who put British Cuisine on the map.”

 

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