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Tributes to Gary Rhodes from the man who changed his approach to cooking

The Caste Hotel in Taunton

Tributes are being paid to celebrity chef Gary Rhodes, whose career took off after working in Taunton.

The 59 year old's family say he passed away last night with his wife at his side.

Rhodes was famous for appearing on TV with spiky hair and fronting shows like MasterChef and Hell's Kitchen.

In 1986 he was hired to work at The Castle Hotel in Taunton town centre by proprietor Kit Chapman - following a four hour interview.

He describes Rhodes at that time as a French 'nouvelle cuisine mechant' and said if he wanted the job he would need to 'celebrate British food'.

Mr Chapman says told him, during the interview he wanted to 'revive the British repertoire' adding: "Which he did in spades and for the whole of the country - and that was his legacy."

Rhodes worked at The Castle for around five years.

He met his wife Jennie at catering school, who he went on to have two children with, and she was The Castle's restaurant manager for a time.

Rhodes recently returned to The Castle to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the current ownership and cooked his famous bread and butter pudding for guests.

Click play to hear Kit Chapman speaking to reporter Andrew Kay about his memories of celebrity chef Gary Rhodes


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