Paul Kitching: Chef behind one of Edinburgh's best restaurants 21212 dies suddenly

Tributes have been paid to chef Paul Kitching who has died suddenly

Kitching, who ran the five star 21212 restaurant in Edinburgh with his partner Katie O’Brien, was described as a “true inspiration”.

Sharing the news on social media on Thursday, she wrote: “I’m sorry to say the love of my life has gone.”

Tributes quickly flooded in.

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In a Tweet released by the Michelin Guide, which inspects hotels and eateries across the world, the organisation paid tribute to “a true maverick”.

The post said: “Paul Kitching was kind, clever, hugely talented and infectiously enthusiastic. He was also a true maverick and his passion and creativity were evident in every dish he created. Our heartfelt sympathies go to Katie and all his family.”

Elsewhere, tributes flooded in online, with industry figures and ordinary food fans alike sharing their thoughts and memories.

ne person wrote: "Paul was such an incredible person – so gifted, insanely creative but also had time to talk to everyone, and to listen. Was an honour to know and work for him.”

Edinburgh chef Paul Kitchling has diedEdinburgh chef Paul Kitchling has died
Edinburgh chef Paul Kitchling has died

“I will never forget my time working at Juniper, he was an amazing, wild, funny, inspirational man,” said another, and another social media user wrote: “He was the most inspiring person I have ever met, genius!”

Reacting to the loss, Chef Dean Banks – of the Pompadour in Princes Street Waldorf Astoria – wrote a moving tribute on Instagram.

It said: “A true inspiration to thousands of chefs who passed through his doors and to many more. Paul taught me there are no rules in cooking. Lemon tart with Chicken, STP with venison are a few that I mention alot. Paul will live on through his cooking and teaching.

“Paul was my last Head chef before I went out on my own and was truly part of creating me and my style. My condolences to all who loved him and to all who look up to him as one of the greats. He will be missed dearly.”

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The pair opened 21212 in Edinburgh’s Royal Terrace in 2009. Since, the restaurant has received a number of awards – including best new restaurant in the UK, a Michelin star between 2009 and 2019, four AA rosettes and was named Catering in Scotland's Restaurant of the Year. Kitching was also awarded the Prince Philip medal for services to the catering industry.

Before moving to Edinburgh, the couple ran Juniper in Greater Manchester. The restaurant became the area’s only Michelin-starred restaurant, ranked in the top 20 restaurants in The Good Food Guide and was England’s Restaurant of the Year.

Gordon Ramsay previously described Kitching as “pure talent, driven by a great creative energy; a powerhouse of the north”, while food critic Jay Rayner said: “Paul Kitching is on more than nodding terms with genius.”

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