Tributes have poured in from across the industry after the Craft Guild of Chefs announced that its immediate past chair Andrew Bennett passed away over the weekend.
Mr Bennett sadly died on Saturday 30 January 2021 after a battle with cancer.
Andrew Green, chief executive of the Craft Guild of Chefs, led the tributes to the man he described as “a friend, colleague and an industry luminaire”.
He said: “A much-loved chef and friend to many, he had a successful and full career, mentored many people along their chosen path, and was always full of life, cracking jokes, whilst at the same time being an inspiration to the youth. Andrew undertook much charitable work over the years, raising large sums of money for good causes.”
Mr Bennett gave more than 40 years of his life to the restaurant and hotel industry, including 22 as executive chef and food and beverage director of the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel. He was presented with an MBE by the Queen at Buckingham Palace for his ‘exceptional services’ to the hospitality industry and for his charity work.
Mr Bennett was involved with the Craft Guild for more than 13 years and played a key part in shaping its strategy for growth, driving modernisation and mentoring young chefs.
Steve Munkley, vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: “Andrew was not only a giant in stature but also one of the giants in our industry, he has sadly been taken from us at such a young age and he’ll be sorely missed.
“Andrew was someone you could rely upon 100%, his sharp wit and great sense of humour had everyone gripped. He spent all his life developing young chefs and when he wasn’t doing this, he was raising funds for various charities close to his heart.”
David Mulcahy, also vice president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, said: “We will miss our great friend, chef Andrew Bennett very much. A brave man and inspiration to so many of us. Andrew’s passion and determination will be a lasting legacy.”
Tributes also came in via social media, with pastry chef Will Torrent tweeting: ‘Sad to hear this news. Real fondness indeed!’
Compass Group culinary director Nick Vadis tweeted: “It is with great sadness to hear this morning of a great chef, friend and genuine legend of our industry. He supported countless chefs in his illustrious career and a true ambassador for the industry. A giant of a man who’s dedication and contribution will live on. RIP chef.”
Chef Alyn Williams said: “I’m very shocked & saddened to hear of the passing of Chef Andrew Bennett. I had the pleasure of knowing him & judging many competitions alongside him. A true professional & Gentleman. My sympathies go out to his family.”