Ross Burden dies following short battle with leukaemia

21 July 2014 by
Ross Burden dies following short battle with leukaemia

New Zealander celebrity chef Ross Burden has died at the age of 45, following cancer treatment in Auckland.

The chef was most well-known for appearing in the BBC MasterChef final in 1993, after which he went on to host cooking programme Ready Steady Cook. He had also appeared on ITV show The X Factor: Battle of the Stars, with fellow celebrity chefs Jean-Christophe Novelli, Aldo Zilli and Paul Rankin, in 2006.

The self-trained chef lived in the UK for almost 20 years before returning to New Zealand to judge its own MasterChef in 2010.

He was diagnosed with leukaemia last year, and died unexpectedly last Thursday.

Local newspaper the New Zealand Herald spoke to the chef's sister, Kirsten Hughes, who confirmed his death, and said that he had contracted an infection following a bone marrow transplant.

The chef was working on a Masters degree in Maori Studies, Hughes said, and had been working part-time as a waiter at an Auckland restaurant before he became ill.

In her statement to the newspaper, she called her brother "larger than life". Hughes added: "He's just a friendly, compassionate guy - nothing was too much trouble. Right up until probably a week-and-a-half ago, he was making his next lot of plans. He had the world map out."

A host of well-known chefs have taken to Twitter to send their condolences to Burden, including Zilli, James Tanner, James Martin, Paul Hollywood and Mat Follas.

Zilli tweeted that he was "remembering the good times on this very sad day" and posted a photo of the chefs singing along on the X Factor.

Martin, presenter of BBC's Saturday Kitchen, head chef at the James Martin Manchester, and former Ready Steady Cook presenter, wrote: "Just heard the sad news my old Ready, Steady, Cook colleague Ross Burden has passed away. My thoughts go out to friends and family. RIP Ross."

Hollywood, baker and co-presenter of BBC Great British Bake Off, said: "I'm so sorry to hear the news that Ross Burden has died… appearing for years in Ready, Steady Cook; my thoughts are with his family x."

Tanner, presenter and co-owner of Tanners in Plymouth, tweeted: "I worked with Ross Burden for years on RSC [Ready, Steady, Cook] and shows in South Africa. He was a gent [sic] and encyclopaedia of food, such a loss at a young age, RIP." He added: "Condolences to his family and friends."

Fellow New Zealander Follas, head chef at the Casterbridge, Dorset, said: "Sad news of the passing of chef Ross Burden, a generous and well -loved man."

Ross Burden, December 13 1966 - July 17 2014

Former MasterChef winner Mat Follas opens second restaurant in Dorset >>

A minute on the clock: James Martin >>

Aldo Zilli sells remaining London restaurants to Bill's Produce >>

TagsChef and Obituary
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