Edinburgh’s top chefs have joined in tribute to honour the legacy of Scotland’s leading culinary visionary Andrew Fairlie, Gleneagles chef, food ambassador and mentor who has died following a long illness.
Michelin star chef Tom Kitchin was among those to praise Mr Fairlie on his impact to the Scottish food scene.
He said: “He was the most humble, humble man, but he was a real thinker. What he has done for the Scottish culinary side of things is just unbelievable. He’s taken this country to levels we never even knew existed. It’s just a really, really sad day.”
Edinburgh restaurateur and chef Mark Greenaway tweeted: “Such a sad day for Scotland. Rest now chef Andrew Fairlie you are still an inspiration for the whole industry.”
Michelin-starred chef Paul Kitching and the team at 21212 on Royal Terrace added on Tuesday: “Incredibly sad news today. Andrew was a true culinary hero for Scotland. What a great guy. Our thoughts are with his family, team and all at Gleneagles.”
Mr Fairlie presided over his Gleneagles restaurant for over 17 years, influencing and inspiring a new generation of chefs, while dazzling customers including the Queen and world leaders with his showcase of fresh Scottish produce.
In that time, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie became the only establishment in the country to be awarded two Michelin stars.
However, the prodigious chef faced an altogether graver challenge after being diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2005.
He underwent treatment but was told last June nothing further could be done. He stepped down in November after announcing his terminal diagnosis.
In a statement following his death on Tuesday, his wife, Kate Fairlie, 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.”
Stephen McLaughlin, current head chef of Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, 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 judgment, 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.”