Former Thanet College student and celebrity chef Gary Rhodes has died aged 59.
The dad-of-two passed away last night in Dubai with wife Jennie by his side. He had earlier collapsed due to a subdural hematoma (blood collecting between the skull and the surface of the brain).
A family statement says: “The Rhodes family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved husband, father and brother, Gary Rhodes OBE.
“The family would like to thank everyone for their support and ask for privacy during this time.”
Gary was born in 1960 and grew up in Kent. His catering career started off in 1976 at East Kent (formerly Thanet) College where he studied General Catering and Food Preparation. He was student of the year and chef of the year in 1979. He also met wife Jennie at the college. He returned to the college numerous times over the years helping to judge the National Junior Chef competition.
Graham Razey, Chief Executive Officer, EKC Group, said: “We’re all deeply saddened by the loss of Gary, who did so much to inspire generations of young chefs who’ve trained at Broadstairs College. He himself was one of our most distinguished alumni, and showed our students that there was no limit to their potential achievements with a technical and vocational skillset.
“Gary visited us many times after he achieved his qualifications here, and we had named a room in his honour in our catering area. His passion for seeing the next generation of chefs develop was exceptional, and his passing will be keenly felt throughout the world of professional cookery. There’s no doubt that our whole college community will miss him greatly.”
Gary fronted shows including MasterChef, MasterChef USA, Hell’s Kitchen, and his own series, Rhodes Around Britain and was known for his distinctive spiky hairstyle and love of British food. In 2006 he was made an OBE.
In 1997 he opened his first restaurant, City Rhodes, going on to take the helm of three more as well as launching his own line of cookware and bread mixes.
In 2011 he moved to Dubai and later opened Rhodes W1 at Grosvenor House Dubai and Rhodes Twenty10 at Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort.
In a statement released on behalf of the hotels, it says: “The team at Grosvenor House Dubai and Le Royal Meridien Beach Resort and Spa are devastated to hear of the tragic passing of chef Gary Rhodes OBE. Not only has the industry lost a true culinary legend, we have also lost an inspirational human being and a very dear friend.
“No words can express our sadness at Gary’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Rhodes family.”