Egon Ronay

Veteran food critic Egon Ronay has died aged 94 after a short illness.

He passed away on Saturday at his Berkshire home with his wife and two daughters by his side.

A Catey Lifetime Achievement award winner, Ronay was a legendary name in the hospitality industry, a man who consistently demanded quality and never compromised on his values who earned the respect of consumers and industry heavyweights alike.

Born in Hungary in 1915, Ronay was the son of a Budapest restaurateur whose businesses were destroyed during and after World War II. He emigrated to Britain with little money in 1946 to escape the Russian occupation.

Ronay did not immediately embark on the career that was to make him famous, but worked in London restaurants before opening his own, the Marquee in Knightsbridge in 1952.

His first foray into food criticism was as a critic for the Daily Telegraph, and he launched his eponymous famous guides in 1957. The guides’ reputation grew swiftly and they were eventually sold to the AA in 1985, although Ronay’s name and services were retained. However, he regained the rights to the books in court in the late 1990s after arguing that the company’s actions were in danger of tarnishing his name.

In the late 1990s Ronay launched a guide to eating at seven British airports run by the British Airports Authority. Although the publication was small, Ronay described its launch as “an emotional moment to go into print again”. He was also instrumental in raising the quality of motorway food, by teaming up with motorway service area operator Welcome Break to award stars to cafés and restaurants trying to improve standards.

Ronay was a highly respected figure whose forthright views asked difficult questions when necessary and who never tired in the quest for quality. He will be sorely missed by the industry.

Article taken from Guide Girl

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