Rhodes in 2008
|Born||22 April 1960|
|Died||26 November 2019 (aged 59)|
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Jennie Rhodes (m. 1989)
|Cooking style||British cuisine|
Gary Rhodes,  (22 April 1960 – 26 November 2019) was a British restaurateur and television chef, known for his love of British cuisine and ingredients and for his distinctive spiked hair style. He fronted shows such as MasterChef, MasterChef USA, Hell's Kitchen, and his own series, Rhodes Around Britain. As well as owning four restaurants, Rhodes also had his own line of cookware and bread mixes. Rhodes went on to feature in the ITV1 programme Saturday Cooks, as well as the UKTV Food show Local Food Hero.
Rhodes was born in Camberwell, South London in 1960, to Gordon and Jean (née Ferris) Rhodes. He moved with his family to Gillingham, Kent, where he went to The Howard School in Rainham. He then attended catering college in Thanet where he met his wife Jennie.
His first job was at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel. He was hit by a transit van in Amsterdam leaving him with serious injuries. He then toured Europe in various jobs before becoming sous chef at the Reform Club, Pall Mall and then on to the Michelin-starred Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge where he worked under Brian Turner. Rhodes became the head chef at the Castle Hotel, Taunton in Somerset. He retained the hotel's Michelin star at the age of 26.
In 1990, Rhodes returned to London with his family to become Head Chef at the Greenhouse Restaurant in Mayfair. The menu became known for reviving British classics, including faggots, fishcakes, braised oxtails and bread and butter pudding. He was awarded a Michelin star for the Greenhouse in January 1996. In 1997 he opened his first restaurant, City Rhodes, and in 1997 Rhodes in the Square – both with global contract catering company Sodexo. This partnership expanded into the brasseries of Rhodes and Co in Manchester, Edinburgh and Crawley.
One aspect of Rhodes culinary skill set that drew particular admiration was his mastery of pickled onion slicing. It is thought that his now legendary pickled onion-slicing demonstrations inspired the huge resurgence in domestic pickled onion slicing, which was once an art form exclusively carried out by a small number of sandwich-making mothers in the North of England.
In 2003, following the closure of restaurants City Rhodes and Rhodes in the Square the previous year, he opened Rhodes Twenty Four in one of London's tallest buildings, Tower 42. Rhodes described his hopes for the restaurant on launch: "If we never get a Michelin star here, I will be very disappointed, but what I really want is customers." It won a Michelin star in 2005, which it retained until it closed as one of two Michelin starred restaurants for Rhodes in London.
His first TV appearance was at the age of 27, courtesy of Glynn Christian on Hot Chefs; this led to Rhodes Around Britain and Gary's Perfect Christmas. For two seasons, 2000 and 2001, Rhodes hosted the original MasterChef USA on PBS. Rhodes ran a TV series New British Classics reintroducing classic British cuisine, and published a book of the same name.
Rhodes starred in the television series Rhodes Across India, with apprentices Bushra Akram, Scott Davis and Kalwant Sahota, and Rhodes Across China, which explored Chinese cuisine, with sous chefs Melissa Syers and Teresa Tsang.
Rhodes appeared in a commercial tie-in with Tate & Lyle in the late 1990s, and his recipes endorsed sugar and treacle products accordingly; his name was printed on every Tate & Lyle sugar sachet across the country. Rhodes was associated with a Cooking in Schools campaign with Flora UK and appeared in television adverts for Flora margarine, some of which featured him "driving a van topped with a giant styrofoam crumpet" which were banned.
He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) on 17 June 2006. In the same year he competed, representing the South of England, in the BBC's Great British Menu, but lost to Atul Kochhar.
Rhodes appeared on the BBC Two spoof game show Shooting Stars, during which hosts Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer asked him to 'represent fire through the medium of dance'. He also competed, with professional partner Karen Hardy, in the sixth series of Strictly Come Dancing which began on 20 September 2008, and finished in 14th place.
In 2011, he moved to Dubai. He headed Rhodes Mezzanine (the forerunner to Rhodes W1) at the Grosvenor House hotel, and another called Rhodes Twenty10 at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort. In 2013 he opened his first restaurant in Abu Dhabi. Rhodes was a supporter of Manchester United FC.
Rhodes died in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on 26 November 2019; he was aged 59. Rock Oyster Media and Goldfinch TV said in a statement to the PA news agency that Rhodes was taken ill very suddenly at home, during a break in filming a new television series, and died a short time afterward. It was later confirmed by Rhodes's family that his death was as a result of a subdural haematoma, normally associated with a brain injury.
Many fellow celebrity chefs paid tribute, including Marcus Wareing, Aldo Zilli, Ainsley Harriott, Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, the last of whom said he was "a massive inspiration to me as a young chef", adding that he "reimagined modern British cuisine with elegance and fun". Tom Kerridge described Rhodes as "one of the greatest British chefs who almost single handedly put British food on the world stage".
- Rhodes Calabash – located in the Calabash hotel, in Grenada
- Arcadian Rhodes – aboard the P&O liner Arcadia
- Oriana Rhodes at the Curzon – aboard the P&O liner Oriana
- Rhodes D7 Restaurant in Dublin – closed in 2009
- Rhodes W1 (Grosvenor House; London) – closed
- Rhodes Twenty10 (Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort & Spa and Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
- Rhodes 44 (St. Regis Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) – closed in 2014
- Rhodes at the Dome, Plymouth Hoe, Plymouth – ended involvement in January 2016
- Rhodes 24 (NatWest Tower, London) – closed 2014
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