The Devastating Death Of Alastair Little

With 2022 just over halfway through, the culinary world has been shaken by the loss of many greats like "Top Chef" alum Howard Kleinberg, cookbook author Diana Kennedy, and Di Fara founder Dom DeMarco. Sadly compounding that loss, chef Alastair Little has passed away at 72 (via Eater London). His accomplishments as a chef, restaurant owner, and cookbook author earned him the moniker "the grandfather of modern British cooking."

His culinary journey began when he worked his way to becoming a chef at L'Escargot in 1981. By 1985, he and former partner Kirsten Pedersen opened their first restaurant, which would become a blueprint, aesthetically, for many modern London restaurants (boasting design elements like bare tables with paper napkins and a kitchen overlooking the dining room). However, one of the most novel concepts at the time was that it had a menu that changed twice daily. The restaurant earned rave reviews thanks in part to Little's core beliefs about cooking. For him, it was about "simplicity," according to Eater London.

A chef 'ahead of his time'

Alastair Little's unexpected death sparked an outpouring of love from fans and the culinary community (via Eater London). Speaking on Little's legacy in an Instagram post, fellow British chef Jeremy Lee said, "Alastair Little was a godfather of modern British cooking and a champion of keeping it simple. His cooking was just incredible x peerless. Unique, charming, brilliant x a joy to cook with x a huge inspiration x a great pal and a great boss x gone too young x too soon x much missed and never to be forgotten."

The Michelin GuideĀ tweeted, "Alastair Little was a self-taught, intelligent & articulate chef who was ahead of his time. His eponymous Soho restaurant influenced a generation of chefs & restaurateurs, and the British food scene owes him so much. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends."

Food journalist, author, and radio presenter Dan Saladino tweeted his respects to the British giant saying, "Rest in Peace Alastair Little... British food giant... beautiful man... champion of simple, authentic & generous food."

His tweet prompted a response from a fan that echoed the feeling of many, "What sad news. Alastair was one of the biggest names in British food in the eighties and nineties...." While the culinary world lost one of its brightest stars, his impact and legacy will no doubt be seen for generations.