Vale Paul Kitching

Paul Kitching, chef-proprietor of Edinburgh restaurant 21212, has died suddenly at the age of 61. His passing was announced this week by his partner, Katie O’Brien, who said “I’ve lost my love“.

Paul was born in Gateshead and worked in leading kitchens, including Gidleigh Park in Devon, before launching Juniper in Altrincham with Katie. In 2009 they moved to Edinburgh and established 21212 (named after the choices for each course on the menu), which wowed critics and diners with what is described in this year’s Harden’s guide as “intriguing, inventive flavour combinations“.

Our founder Peter Harden remembers: I first came across Paul at Juniper, which for a long while was well-known as the only Michelin-starred restaurant within striking distance of Manchester. Harden’s reporters had some criticisms to make of his food, which could at times be a bit overwrought in terms of the number of ingredients and combinations. Via phone, he let it be known that he was a little stung by the criticism, but without any effing and blinding. Over time, he came to view our comments as constructive and we exchanged much warmer messages.  

“After he shifted to Edinburgh at 21212, he said he had found some of our comments useful and for whatever reason his scores in Edinburgh were higher than those in Altrincham: indeed, some of the highest in the city.  “What came across about him first and foremost, though, was irrespective of any beef he might have had with his entry, he was a thoroughly decent human being who was thoughtful about things that were said and who wanted to make his contribution to the world via his artful cooking and through his hospitable personality”.

Share this article: