Respected Scottish chef Andrew Fairlie has died aged 55 following a long battle with a brain tumour.
Fairlie, whose restaurant at Gleneagles is the only one in Scotland to hold two Michelin stars, was the first winner of the Roux Scholarship in 1984 when he was aged just 20 – a competition he returned to judge in later life.
His prize for winning was to undertake a stage at the three Michelin-starred Les Prés d’Eugénie in France under Michel Guérard, which helped to kickstart a successful career that led to the opening of his eponymous Gleneagles restaurant in 2001.
He won his first Michelin star at the restaurant a year later, with a second following in 2006. Among many other achievements, he was named the first Scottish Chef of the Year in 2002, was named AA Chefs’ Chef of the Year in 2006, and was one of only seven chefs in the UK to be named a Relais & Châteaux Grand Chef du Monde in 2011.
Fairlie stepped down from his role in the kitchen at Gleneagles in November last year after his illness worsened.
News of his death was announced by his father Jim Fairlie, who said: “He slipped away quietly this morning but his many achievements and memory will live on.”
Paying tribute, Kate Fairlie, Andrew Fairlie’s wife, and his daughters, Ilona and Leah, said: “We are utterly heartbroken that Andrew has gone, but are so thankful we had this extraordinary man in our lives. He was a beautifully kind, generous loving son, father, husband, brother and friend, and enriched the lives of anybody lucky enough to meet him. He has taught us so many lessons in life, not least to be kind. He worked incredibly hard and his favourite thing to do was to create magic for us in the kitchen at home. We will miss his calm, wonderful spirit, his cheeky sense of humour and his loving nature.”
Chef Michel Roux Sr paid tribute on Twitter, saying: “Today the Roux Scholarship family mourns the loss of our first scholar, the fearless and brilliant Andrew Fairlie. Our heart goes out to his family and Gleneagles team.
“To me, Andrew was like a son and to our scholars and judges, a brother. But death is never the end. Andrew knew we would always carry him with us and his precious legacy will endure.”
And Sat Bains, chef patron of the two Michelin-starred Restaurant Sat Bains with Rooms in Nottingham, who won the Roux Scholarship in 1999, said: “We had the best of times, times that will stay with me forever. Thank you for being a shoulder, a leader a friend and a legend. The original Scholar that showed us all the way. I am going to miss you chief.”
Meanwhile, Fairlie’s colleagues from Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, head chef Stephen McLaughlin and general manager Dale Dewsbury, said: “We are heartbroken that Andrew has gone, and our thoughts go out to Andrew’s wife, Kate, and his family. Our sadness is matched only by our tremendous pride in all his achievements, and our thankfulness that we had the opportunity to share in his life and career. We have lost our colleague, mentor and friend who was always on hand with great judgement, humour and inspiration. We will miss him terribly but will take strength and huge pride in continuing to burn the flame of outstanding cuisine, service and culture that he established.”
Sharan Pasricha, founder and CEO of Ennismore, which operates Gleneagles, added: “Andrew was a true visionary, and one of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met. His extraordinary achievements in the kitchen have paved the way for future generations, and he’ll always be remembered as one of the greatest chefs of his lifetime. He was a huge part of our Gleneagles family and we’ll miss him more than words can say. We’re incredibly proud to continue his legacy so that many more people get the chance to experience what made him a culinary icon.”
A private funeral for Fairlie will take place, and later in the spring, a memorial service will be held at Gleneagles.