Tributes have been paid to Andrew Fairlie, a leading light in Scotland’s thriving restaurant scene, after he died yesterday following a long illness.
The 55-year-old presided over his Gleneagles restaurant for 17 years, influencing and inspiring a new generation of chefs, while dazzling customers including the Queen and world leaders with his showcase of fresh Scottish produce.
In that time, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie became the only establishment in the country to be awarded two Michelin stars.
However, the prodigious chef faced an altogether graver challenge after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2005.
He underwent chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and surgery, but was told last June no further treatment was available. He stepped down from the restaurant in November after announcing his terminal diagnosis.
In a statement, his wife, Kate Fairlie, and his daughters, Ilona and Leah, said: “We are utterly heartbroken that Andrew has gone but are so thankful we had this extraordinary man in our lives. He was a beautifully kind, generous loving son, father, husband, brother and friend, and enriched the lives of anybody lucky enough to meet him. He has taught us so many lessons in life, not least to be kind.
“He worked incredibly hard and his favourite thing to do was to create magic for us in the kitchen at home. We will miss his calm, wonderful spirit, his cheeky sense of humour and his loving nature.”
His father. Jim, revealed the news on Twitter, saying: “It is with enormous sadness and grief that Kay and I announce the death of our beloved son Andrew.
“His wife Kate and his family have kept vigil with him for some weeks. He slipped away quietly this morning but his many achievements and memory will live on.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon led the tributes to the renowned chef, saying “it was a privilege to know him”.
She added: “I’m so sorry to hear that Andrew Fairlie has died. My deepest condolences to his family.
“Andrew is gone far too soon, but his achievements will always be remembered and his legacy will inspire the next generation of world class chefs.”
Michelin star chefs Tom Kitchin and Nick Nairn were among those peers of Mr Fairlie to praise his achievements.
Mr Kitchin said: “He was the most humble, humble man, but he was a real thinker. What he has done for the Scottish culinary side of things is just unbelievable.
“He’s taken this country to levels we never even knew existed. It’s just a really, really sad day.”
Mr Nairn said: “I think it is almost impossible to overstate the loss to Scottish cooking. Andrew’s legacy is going to be enormous.”
Stephen McLaughlin, current head chef of Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, and general manager, Dale Dewsbury, said: “We are heartbroken that Andrew has gone and our thoughts go out to Andrew’s wife, Kate, and his family.
“Our sadness is matched only by our tremendous pride in all his achievements and our thankfulness that we had the opportunity to share in his life and career.”
A private funeral will take place and later this year a memorial service will be held at the Gleneagles Hotel.