Celebrities and food industry leaders have made moving tributes to Edinburgh chef Paul Kitching following his sudden death. The pioneering chef behind 21212 in Royal Terrrace died this week aged 61, his partner Katie O’Brien announced, writing: “My love has gone”.
Reacting to the news, good critic Jay Rayner wrote: “RIP Paul Kitching. He was quietly one of Britain's great chefs.” Rayner shared his Guardian review of Kitching’s former Cheshire restaurant Juniper, which the critic said “pretty much covers the wild ride his food could be”.
Also joining the tributes was the Michelin Guide itself, which awarded 21212 a star between 2009-2019. It 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.”
Television presenter Stephe Jardine wrote: “Oh no Katie, I’m so sorry. He was an extraordinary talent and a beautiful human being. I have a letter from him I’ll always treasure. I’ll be thinking about you both in the days ahead.”
Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan said: “Incredibly sad to hear of the passing of Paul Kitching - a great man and massive talent. There was no one like him. I’ll never forget the nuttiest but most memorable meals. A true inspiration to me. My thoughts are with Katie and the team.”
Katie O’Brien, who opened 21212 with Kitching back in 2009, broke the news to customers in a heartfelt email. She wrote: "Dear friends, it is with heavy heart that I write to let you know that I've lost my love - Paul - who sadly passed away yesterday. The death has come as a total shock to us at 21212 and we are trying to come to terms with the passing of a legend within our industry. Paul was an inspirational figure to everyone who ever had the pleasure of meeting him or working with him and we are all devastated."