Tributes have poured in for Tim Bacon, the founder of Living Ventures and Manchester House, who passed away last Friday following a long battle with cancer. He was 52.
Bacon and business partner Jeremy Roberts are credited with creating some of the most successful restaurant and bars in the North West. Bacon had fought lymphoma for 16 years and was diagnosed with advanced melanoma in 2014.
In a statement in the Manchester Evening News (MEN), Roberts, Living Ventures CEO, said: "Tim has had many enduring friendships with people in his private and professional life because of his vibrant, honourable and generous spirit. He gave his all to everything he did, especially to his family and his friends who were incredibly important to him. I will greatly miss him as we all will and I've lost a true friend."
A number of friends and colleagues took to social media over the weekend to express their sadness with comments led by colleague and chef Aiden Byrne, who launched Manchester House with Bacon and Roberts in 2013.
Byrne said on Facebook: "Feeling empty. The legend lives on through everyone you touched. Good night and God bless from all of us."
On Twitter, Thom Hetherington, the creator of Northern Restaurant & Bar, who had interviewed Bacon at the NRB Debate in Manchester in 2014, said: "'Standing on the shoulders of giants' is a hackneyed phrase, but how many people in our industry have had their success shaped by Tim Bacon?
"Devasted for all who knew Tim Bacon. If you knew him, you loved him. Brilliant; generous; and no one's done more for northern hospitality."
Celebrity chef and Yorkshireman James Martin also commented: "Such sad news about the passing of Tim Bacon, true pioneer of the Manchester food and drink scene. My thoughts are with his family and friends."
Meanwhile, Carluccio's co-founder and chairman Simon Kossoff, a fellow winner of the Cateys Group Restaurateur of the Year award, said: "A very special goodbye to Tim Bacon who passed away this weekend. A champion of our industry."
After an initial career as an Australian TV actor, Bacon went on to become chairman and co-founder of the Living Ventures restaurant group. Together, Bacon and Roberts created one of the most successful and admired restaurant and bar businesses in the UK and in 2014 the pair were awarded the Group Restaurateur of the Year award at the Cateys.
Living Ventures comprises 34 restaurants and won MEN business of the year in 2015. In addition to Manchester House, which featured in the BBC TV series Restaurant Wars in 2014, Roberts and Bacon created the Alchemist, Australasia and Gusto, among others.
Speaking about his partnership with Roberts in 2014, Bacon told The Caterer: "We have a strong and equal partnership. To me, you have got to understand where your strengths are and where your weaknesses are. Jeremy does all the things that I don't do well."
In 2013, Living Ventures secured ninth place in the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work For.
One judge added that Bacon and Roberts' achievement in the field of restaurants and bars has been "nothing short of amazing".
Robbie Bargh, founder of restaurant and bar consultancy the Gorgeous Group also commented on Twitter: "Tim Bacon brought lots of happiness to many, a true restaurateur, a mentor and a great friend - his cup was always overflowing! God bless."
A spokesperson for Hospitality Action said of Bacon, whose Manchester House restaurant had recently held a starred chef night to fundraise for the industry charity: "You were a real inspiration, legend and true gentleman, goodnight, god bless."
Finally, Northcote managing director Craig Bancroft said: "An incredible restaurateur, he will be hugely missed. I wished I had known him better, but I always admired his achievements. Manchester owes him and his business a huge debt of gratitude. RIP Tim."
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