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TWO of Heston Blumenthal’s senior chefs have been killed in a horrific road accident during a promotional tour in Hong Kong.
The staff, who worked at the Michelin-starred Fat Duck restaurant, died after a double decker bus ploughed into the taxi in which they were travelling.
Reports last night claimed Mr Blumenthal had been in Hong Kong and was travelling in a separate cab at the time of the crash.
The accident happened after the driver of the bus apparently fell unconscious for ten seconds and careered down a hill before hitting two cars, the taxi and another bus.
The chef victims were named locally as Briton Ivan Jorge, 34, and Carl Lindgren, 30, from Sweden. They died alongside their driver Wong Kim-Chung, 53, after their taxi was crushed between the two buses.
They were trapped in the cab for more than an hour before firemen could free them from the wreckage. They were later declared dead at the hospital.
A further 56 people, including a seven-month old child, were injured in the pile up on Monday.
The chefs had been in Hong Kong with Jonny Lake, the head chef of The Fat Duck, to promote a new Blumenthal restaurant. Mr Lake had tweeted a picture of Mr Jorge and Mr Lindgren along with another chef preparing a special dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong on Saturday night.
The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, last night refused to confirm the identity of the men but said they were senior members of staff and described them as ‘uniquely talented young chefs’.
A spokesman said: ‘They were both great and dear friends…loved by everyone who worked with them.’
Self-taught chef Mr Blumenthal, 46, who has a £1million, two-year deal with Channel 4, has become renowned for his adventures in so-called molecular gastronomy.
He launched the Fat Duck in 1995 after buying a 450-year-old pub, The Ringers in Bray. The past few years have seen him expand his business into London. He also stars in adverts for Waitrose.
A source close to the Mandarin Hotel said: ‘Heston had been out in Hong Kong on a promotional tour for the hotel. It is pure chance that he was not involved in the accident. His two chefs got into one cab and he got into another soon after.’
Mr Blumenthal was due to appear at a Gourmet Escape event in Western Australia this weekend but organisers expect him to pull out.
The Fat Duck was open as usual last night. A total of 46 chefs are believed to work in the kitchen. A restaurant spokesman said: ‘The entire team, as you may imagine, are devastated.’
Chef Raymond Blanc offered his support to those at the Fat Duck via his Twitter account. He wrote: ‘My heart and my thoughts are with the families of the 2 young chefs from the Fat Duck & with Heston & the whole team at this tragic time.’
Hong Kong police said the bus driver was arrested for causing death by dangerous driving and he has been released on bail.
A spokesman for Mr Blumenthal refused to comment on whether he had been in Hong Kong. - Daily Mail