Tributes have been paid to the renowned chef Paul Kitching, following his death at the age of 61.
Kitching was the chef behind the popular 21212 restaurant in Edinburgh, which held a Michelin star for a decade.
His partner, Katie O’Brien, announced the chef’s death in an email to customers on Thursday, describing it as a “total shock”.
In a follow-up post on Instagram, shared with a picture of Kitching, she wrote: “I’m sorry to say the love of my life has gone.”
Celebrity chef Tom Kerridge was one of those to pay tribute to Kitching, writing in a post: “A wonderful man and incredible cook…”
Michael O’Hare, chef-patron at the Michelin-starred The Man Behind The Curtain in Leeds, wrote on Instagram: “A true avant-garde and free thinker. What a guy.”
In a post on Twitter, the Michelin Guide, which awards Michelin stars, wrote: “Paul Kitching was kind, clever, hugely talented and infectiously enthusiastic.
“He was also a true maverick and his passion and creativity were evident in every dish he created. Our heartfelt sympathies go to Katie and all his family.”
Originally from Gateshead, in the northeast of England, Kitching began his career in food by working as an apprentice baker a job he said in a 2016 interview that he “absolutely loved”.
He briefly quit the profession to take up labouring, where he could earn more money, before returning to cooking as a kitchen assistant.
Kitching later moved to York, where he learnt about French cooking and Nouvelle Cuisine, before running the Juniper in Greater Manchester with partner, Katie.
Image: Paul Kitching’s 21212 restaurant in Edinburgh. Pic: Google Street View While in charge, it became the North West’s only 4AA rosette restaurant and Greater Manchester’s only Michelin-starred restaurant.
The couple later moved to Scotland to launch 21212, a five-star restaurant with rooms, in 2009.
The restaurant received numerous awards since opening, including the best new restaurant in the UK and a Michelin star between 2009 and 2019.
Kitching was also awarded the Prince Philip medal for services to the catering industry.