Rose Gray at the River Cafe

Rose Gray, who gave Londoners a “little piece of Italy on the Thames” and became one of Britain’s best-known chefs, has died from cancer. She was 71.

She will be remembered, mainly, as co-chef and patron of the River Café, a Michelin-starred restaurant, in Hammersmith, west London, with Ruth Rogers.

Her passion for Italian food, spawned while bringing up her family with her second husband, sculptor and artist David Macilwaine, in Lucca, Tuscany, had stayed with her. When it opened its doors in 1987, in the old Duckhams oil storage facility, the River Café was a humble restaurant.

But it quickly attracted a following with locals and the pair went on to become two of Britain’s most influential cooks.

It was during the making of a television programme in 1999 that a sous chef by the name of Jamie Oliver was discovered in the restaurant’s kitchen. He worked there for three-and-a-half years. Another former employee who went on to culinary fame is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

The restaurant was awarded a Michelin star in 1998

Taken from the Guardian news article 01 March 2010

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