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Tributes pour in following the death of chef John King

24 November 2016 by
Tributes pour in following the death of chef John King

King, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in May 2015, won many accolades during his career including the gold medal for Best Regional Team in the World for the Ritz Club at the 1988 Culinary Olympics. He was an active member of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, chairing the selection committee and golf society.

Until recently he took up a post as a part-time lecturer at Westminster College, where he started his career, as well as working two days a week as chief caviar packer at King's Fine Food alongside his wife Laura, owner of the fine food specialist supplier. He was the father of four children.

Laura King told The Caterer: "Everyone loved John. Everywhere we went people knew him, and just last year at Westminster Kingsway we managed to get a picture of him with many of the student he had taught."

Gary Hunter, vice principal for hospitality and adult learning at Westminster Kingsway College, said: "John started his career at Westminster Technical College as a student on our Professional Chef Diploma and he came full circle after an illustrious career coming back to us two years ago to teach on the very same programme. He was a remarkable chef and one of life's true gentlemen. He was everything a professional chef should aspire to. We are all deeply heartbroken that John's illness has taken him from us. Our thoughts are sincerely with Laura and his family."

Following an operation at Atkinson Morley last year, King's family took on a project to bring a garden at the hospital 'back to life' and spent many hours in the garden, re-planting and spending time there with each other.

The garden had recently been renamed the John King garden and a trust fund has been set up in his memory to pay for its future upkeep.

His wife has asked for all donations for the foundation to be directed through her via laura@kingsfinefood.co.uk and will confirm further details regarding his funeral which is expected to be held on the 9 December.

John and Laura had been married for 22 years.


First and foremost John was one of our greatest ambassadors within the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, the flagbearer for education and selection for young chefs - he believed in education. He was a very capable chef and back in the 80s he was a leading light. It was a different time then with how you were able to 'show yourself' but he was at the forefront of competitions, as an individual competitor and with his team. He trained some fantastic chefs in his kitchens. He did amazing work for the Academy and we should never forget that, he always gave completely selflessly. One of my lasting memories of him was at the Cheltenham Festival with a group of chef friends. We'd stood and watched all our horses over the last hurdle and we'd all lost. But as we turned around, there stood John, cigar in hand. "Not me," he said. "25/1 and I backed it - and the third!"He was one of our industry's real gentlemen, a keen sportsman and a great golfer. We will all miss him enormously.
John Williams, executive chef, the Ritz London

John was a lovely man. He was a core part of the development of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and an active member since the mid-1980s. John was a true gentleman with a talent for food and cooking and never short of wry humour. Everyone loved him - fellow chefs, students and golfers alike! He leaves a unique legacy and we will all miss him dearly.
Sara Jayne Stanes, chief executive, the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, Adopt a School Trust

John King was one of life's true gentlemen who had a great enthusiasm for training young people in our industry. He always had such patience and skill and was brilliant at passing it on. He will be missed.
Chef Brian Turner

November 2016 has proved to be a terrible month, just heard that John King, a renowned chef, has died earlier today. A long term friend - RIP John.
Chef John Retallick, Craft Guild of Chefs and Worshipful Company of Cooks - via Facebook

I am really sorry and saddened to hear that John King has died. He was a great guy, we worked together as sous chefs at the Carlton Tower oh so many years ago. A great chef and a great loss.
Chef Ian McAndrew, Blackaddie hotel, Sanquhar, Dumfries and Galloway - via Facebook

I am totally lost for words, the laughs and great times at the Ritz Club with John were the best days of my working life, God bless you John, you will be sadly missed.
Chef Michael Kitts, director of culinary arts, the Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management - via Facebook

John was my first head chef in London at the Ritz Club, I couldn't agree more with Michael Kitts it was some of the best times, I learnt so much, not a bad golfer either, You will be missed. My thoughts are with John's family at this time.
Iain Sampson, executive chef at Dere Street Restaurant Bakery & Bar - via Facebook

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