Andrew Fairlie, one of Scotland’s most celebrated and respected chefs, died on Tuesday aged 55.
Fairlie was diagnosed with cancer in 2005 and had been fighting the illness ever since. In November, he stepped down from his acclaimed restaurant at Gleneagles after he became too unwell to continue working.
The Scotsman’s parents announced the news on Tuesday morning: “It is with enormous sadness and grief that Kay and I announce the death of our beloved son Andrew.
“His wife Kate and his family have kept vigil with him for some weeks. He slipped away quietly this morning but his many achievements and memory will live on”.
Fairlie opened his eponymous Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Perthshire’s five-star Gleneagles Hotel in 2001. He won a star within a year and by 2006 had two.
The chef started working aged 15 in his hometown of Perth, and became the first winner of the prestigious Roux Scholarship in 1984. Fairlie then went on to work in some of Europe’s most acclaimed kitchens, including One Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow.
Fairlie also achieved four AA Rosettes in 2004 and in 2011 was named a Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef, one of only seven chefs to be given the honour in the UK.
Touching tributes to Fairlie have been shared this week, with fellow chefs such as Tom Kitchin and Michael Caines, and the likes of Nicola Sturgeon and Celtic Football Club – of which Fairlie was a fan – paying their respects.
Fairlie was well-loved in the industry and didn’t want to stop cooking. In November, he told The Times: “The fact that I’ll never be back, never have that buzz and atmosphere of the kitchen again, was very emotional.”
A statement from wife Kate Fairlie, and his daughters Ilona and Leah, read: “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.”
Reporters have long loved Fairlie’s restaurant. The tasting menu in this year’s guide was described as the “ultimate culinary experience that shouldn’t be missed”.
One review said: “For a truly memorable evening, I can’t think of a better place to splash out.”