Gary Rhodes: 'A pioneer who inspired so many young cooks' - tributes pour in for TV chef

The culinary world has paid tribute to celebrity chef Gary Rhodes who has sadly passed away at the age of 59.

Gary shows off his Order of the British Empire (OBE) awarded for services to the hospitality industry in 2006.

Described as a pioneer who "inpsired many young cooks" and the man who "almost single handedly put British food on the world stage", Rhodes was one of the best known ambassadors for British cuisine and inspired a generation of Brits to enjoy cooking.

The top chef, who received five Michelin stars during his career, he is best known for his work on MasterChef, Ready Steady Cook and Hell's Kitchen.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

He also appeared on shows like the Great British Menu and even took part in Strictly Come Dancing.

Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and James Martin were among the cookery stars to pay tribute to "gent and genius" Rhodes, who was known for his distinctive, spiky hairstyle.

Oliver said: "Sadly, chef Gary Rhodes passed away. My heartfelt sympathies to his wife, kids, friends and family, sending love and thoughts."He posted on Instagram: "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."

Always smiling, the chef was an inspiration for a generation of home cooks.

Ramsay wrote 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. You'll be missed."

Martin wrote: "Hugely influential in my life and the life of the British food scene. Gent and genius...RIP Gary, I can't believe you're gone."

Ainsley Harriott wrote: "So sad to hear the news about Gary Rhodes. A true culinary icon and a lovely man. Sending my love and thoughts to his wife Jennie and their boys. RIP, my friend."

Chef Simon Hulstone described him as "a shining star for British gastronomy", while Brian Turner added that he was "one of England’s great chefs".

Actor and Writer Kadiff Kirwan shared a lovely story about the popular chef on Twitter, he wrote: "In 2008 on my gap year I worked at his restaurant in Marble Arch to save for drama school. Gary was always so lovely. When I left to go to drama school he gave me one is his signed cookbooks, I opened it and there was £200 inside."

Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown posted: "So so sad to hear about Gary Rhodes. His banana and syrup loaf was the first thing I baked all on my own. The pages are stuck together with syrup. So much love to his family."

Tom Kerridge stated that he was "deeply shocked" and "hugely saddened", adding that it was he considered it to be an honour to "have stood alongside him at the pass", he wrote: "He is one of the greatest British chefs who almost single handedly put British food on the world stage. Taking simple ingredients, embracing classic dishes and making something world class. Many chefs have been through his kitchen, myself included. My thoughts go out to family and close friends for their huge loss."

Top critic Jay Rayner wrote that Gary's book, New British Classics, was one of the "greatest cookbooks of the last 30 years", he said: "Terribly saddened by the news of Gary Rhodes’ death, far far too young. He was a complex man. Most of all he was an astonishing restaurant chef. I ate spectacular meals at City Rhodes."

Jaideep Bhatia, PR director of the Grosvenor House Dubai, told the PA news agency the star was working "until the day he died".

He said: "He arrived in Dubai in 2007 and had two restaurants, Rhodes 2010 at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa, and Rhodes W1 at the Grosvenor.

"He was working until the day he died. He was working until Tuesday."

The hotels where Rhodes worked, Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort And Spa, said in a statement: "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. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rhodes family."