Ruth Rogers

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Ruth Rogers
Born (1948-07-07) 7 July 1948 (age 70)
Culinary career
Cooking styleBritish and Italian cuisine

Ruth Rogers, Lady Rogers, MBE (born 7 July 1948[1]) is an American-born British chef who owns and runs the Michelin starred Italian restaurant The River Café in Hammersmith, London.[2][3] She is the wife of the Italian born British architect Richard Rogers (Lord Rogers).

Early and private life[edit]

Ruth Elias, known as Ruthie, was born in upstate New York. She inherited her left-wing politics from her parents.[4] Her father was a doctor, the son of immigrants to the US from Hungary; he spent some time in Spain in the 1930s during the Spanish Civil War.[5] Her mother was a librarian and trade union activist, whose parents came to the US from Russia.[6] The family moved to Woodstock in the early 1960s; she recounts an anecdote of turning down an invitation to watch Bob Dylan and his band rehearsing in 1965.[5]

She studied at Colorado Rocky Mountain School from 1964 to 1966, and then for a year at Bennington College in Vermont.[5] In 1967, her second (sophomore) year, she took a year out to come to England, accompanying a boyfriend who was a Rhodes scholar in Oxford. After she decided against returning to Bennington, she studied design at the London College of Printing from 1968. While in London, she joined the protests against the Vietnam War outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square in 1968.[7]

She met the architect Richard Rogers in late 1969.[4] Rogers was 15 years older, and at the time he was married to and in a professional partnership (Team 4) with his first wife Su Rogers (née Brumwell), with three young sons.[4] After Rogers divorced his first wife, he married Ruth in 1973. She accompanied Rogers when he moved to Paris for several years to supervise the building of the Pompidou Centre. They lived above a market in Le Marais, where she learnt the importance of seasonality, before moving to the Place des Vosges.[4] She then spent time in north Italy; Rogers's parents had moved to England from Florence.

She lives with her husband in two town houses in Chelsea, converted to a single dwelling by her husband in 1983.[4][8] They have two sons, Roo (born 1975) and Bo (born 1983). Their younger son Bo died suddenly in October 2011, aged 27. She was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2010.[5]

The River Café[edit]

The River Café

After her experiences in France and Italy, Rogers was inspired to open an Italian restaurant in London in 1987 with Rose Gray, initially almost as a canteen to feed the staff at Rogers's architecture practice based nearby at Thames Wharf, Hammersmith.[4] Her husband designed the minimalist space. The River Café developed a strong reputation for the seasonality and quality of its food, and its intense focus on authentic Italian cooking. Its cookbooks, such as The River Café Cook Book (first published in 1995), have become best-sellers, and Gray and Rogers presented "The Italian Kitchen" on Channel 4 in 1998. The restaurant has trained a series of successful chefs, including April Bloomfield, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver, and Theo Randall, and it has held a Michelin star since 1998. Rogers has continued to run the restaurant after the death of her business partner Rose Gray from cancer in 2010.[9]

Among her culinary influences are Julia Child and her book Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and Marcella Hazan and her book The Classic Italian Cook Book.[10]


  1. ^ Ruth Elias, Lady Rogers (1948–), Chef and restaurateur, National Portrait Gallery
  2. ^ Adam Lusher Record 10 women chefs win Michelin stars The Telegraph 17 January 2009
  3. ^ Robert Winnett River Cafe's Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers given MBEs in New Year's Honour's list The Telegraph 31 December 2009
  4. ^ a b c d e f The women who don't get out of bed for less than £10,000 a night, The Guardian, 12 June 2005
  5. ^ a b c d The Inventory: Ruth Rogers, Financial Times, 21 April 2012
  6. ^ Ruth Rogers: a woman for all seasons, The Daily Telegraph, 18 November 2007
  7. ^ Daily Telegraph Inside the world of Ruth Rogers, The Daily Telegraph, 7 June 2013
  8. ^ My Space: Ruth Rogers, The Guardian, 31 January 2010
  9. ^ The NS Interview: Ruth Rogers, chef, New Statesman, 1 August 2011
  10. ^ My life in food: Ruth Rogers, chef-owner of the River Café, The Independent, 21 March 2013