Paul Kitching, one of Scotland’s best known chefs and owner of popular Edinburgh restaurant 21212, has died at the age of 61.
The acclaimed chef’s passing was announced by his partner, Katie O’Brien, with whom he opened the popular restaurant on Edinburgh’s Royal Terrace in 2009.
In an email sent to mailing list customers, 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.”
21212 was first opened in 2009 by the pair and attained a coveted Michelin star just six months after opening.
Over the years the restaurant received a number of awards including four AA rosettes.
Kitching was also awarded the Prince Philip medal for services to the catering industry.
Before making the move to the Scottish capital, the Gateshead-born chef and O’Brien ran Juniper in Greater Manchester which became the area’s only Michelin-starred restaurant.
Tributes have poured in across the industry for the hospitality legend.
On social media, the Michelin Guide 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.”
Food writer Jay Rayner described him as “quietly one of Britain’s great chefs.”
MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Chef Dean Banks – of The Pompadour in Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria – wrote a moving tribute on Instagram.
He said: “A true inspiration to thousands of chefs who passed through his doors and to many more.
“Paul taught me there are no rules in cooking. Lemon tart with Chicken, STP with venison are a few that I mention a lot. Paul will live on through his cooking and teaching.
“Paul was my last head chef before I went out on my own and was truly part of creating me and my style.
“My condolences to all who loved him and to all who look up to him as one of the greats. He will be missed dearly.”