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Culinary industry mourns the death of Chef Alastair Little

The British culinary industry is mourning the passing of Alastair Little, one of the most influential chefs in the history of British food. Picture: Sarah Martinez/ Facebook

The British culinary industry is mourning the passing of Alastair Little, one of the most influential chefs in the history of British food. Picture: Sarah Martinez/ Facebook

Published Aug 5, 2022

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The British culinary industry is mourning the passing of Alastair Little, one of the most influential chefs in the history of British food.

Reports reveal that the legendary chef passed away this week at the age of 72, and the cause of his death is not yet known.

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Little, who has been dubbed the 'Godfather of modern British cooking', rose to fame in the 1980s when he opened his self-named restaurant in Soho.

The establishment was famed for its simplicity, serving soup, salad, fish, meat, and puddings, with the menu usually changing throughout the day based on the supply of ingredients.

According to a 2003 profile of the chef in the Independent, the restaurant served simple and delicious fare (from a menu that changed twice a day, according to Little's shopping trips) in a dining room sans tablecloths or cloth napkins but with bare floorboards, and a view into the open kitchen.

Throughout his career, he received numerous awards, including the Times Restaurant of the Year in 1993 and the Glenfiddich Award for the Best Food Book of the Year for "Keep It Simple”.

Chefs, food critics, and industry professionals inspired by the life of Little are mourning a great loss as tributes have come in from across the culinary world.

Taking to Instagram, Jamie Oliver shared two black-and-white photos of Little, including one where he held up a large flatfish and wrote: "Rest in Peace Alastair Little. A wonderful chef who inspired me greatly as a young chef, he was just brilliant! Much love to his family. Jamie xxx."

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On Twitter, food critic Tom Parker Bowles said: “Such a lovely man. And what a cook. One of the most influential chefs of his generation. His books will endure forever.”

Nigella Lawson wrote: “I’m so saddened to hear that the great Alastair Little has died. What a hugely influential and inspiring chef, and a wonderful man. Huge love to his family. Such a loss.”

The Michelin Guide UK also paid tribute: “Alastair Little was a self-taught, intelligent & articulate chef who was ahead of his time. His eponymous Soho restaurant influenced a generation of chefs & restaurateurs and the British food scene owes him so much. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.”

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