Rose Gray, the co-founder of the River Café restaurant, has died after a prolonged battle with cancer. She was 71.
The chef and cookery writer set up the London restaurant with Ruth Rogers in 1987. The pair were credited with influencing the likes of Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, who both worked there.
Oliver paid tribute, describing Gray as a “pioneer” and a “’really great boss”.
The 34-year-old television chef said: “’I’m so saddened by the death of Rose. She really was one of life’s very, very special, natural, genius chefs; a true pioneer of delicious simple cooking. It was my honour to have worked with her – a really great boss, a wonderful person who gave me some of my fondest cooking memories and great funny times. The quality of food and chefs that have left the River Café over the last 20 years speaks for itself and is all credit to the partnership, love and values of Rose Gray and Ruthie Rogers. Without question the world has lost one of the most important chefs of our times, she will be sorely missed.”
The River Café opened in Hammersmith in 1987, bringing the two women’s version of Italian cooking to British diners with a focus on freshness and seasonal ingredients.
Gray and Rogers were awarded MBEs in this year’s New Year’s Honours list for services to the hospitality industry.
R.I.P. Clemency Anne Rose Gray 1939-2010