Peter Kromberg, the former executive chef at the InterContinental London Park Lane hotel, has died aged 67 after a stroke.
The German-born chef joined the InterContinental hotel for its launch in 1975 and worked as executive chef and chef patron of fine dining restaurant Le Soufflé for 35 years until his retirement in September 2001.
Over the years Kromberg saw and responded to shifts in eating trends, creating lighter fish based meals, vegetarian options and using olive oil instead of butter.
He became famed for his imaginative soufflés, concocting every flavour from artichoke to chocolate-filled.
Kromberg earned many industry accolades during his long career, including a Michelin star for Soufflé and the Chef Catey in 1987, as well as Caterer's Menu of the Year in 1992.
In 1994 food critic Egon Ronay named Soufflé Restaurant of the Year and the Craft Guild of Chefs accorded their Hotel and Restaurant Chef of the Year title. In 2001 they gave Kromberg their Special Award.
Born in Öberlingen, Germany, in December 1940, Peter Kromberg followed his father, a chef-pâtissier, into the kitchen at the age of 14.
After a three-year apprenticeship, he worked his way up from commis chef in 1958 to chef gardemanger in 1963 at the Athens Hilton. He then joined the Siam InterContinental Hotel in Bangkok, where he was appointed executive chef.
He transferred to London in 1971 where he eventually joined the InterContinental Park Lane.
He was also famed for founding Club Nine, alongside the Connaught's Michel Bourdin, a luncheon club which swiftly became a forum for discussing menu ideas, staffing issues and ways of bettering the profession.
This, in time, provided the impetus that led to the formation of the Academy of Culinary Arts, with Bourdin as inaugural president and Kromberg as a founding committee member.
Sara Jayne Stanes, director of the Academy of Culinary Arts, said: "Peter Kromberg was a privilege and a pleasure to know. Along with several other leading chefs of the time, he was one of the founder members of the Academy.
He was an icon and should be remembered as such, a role model for chefs and you don't see many like that these days."
Brian Turner CBE, president of the Academy of Culinary Arts added: "He was a man who respected the past while at the same time a man of the present. He was a role model all his professional life and will continue to be a role model for the future".
Nick Vadis, national chairman, Craft Guild of Chefs, said: "It is with great sadness to hear of the death of Peter. Always a good friend of the Craft Guild of Chefs, he played a leading role in London and was part of one of first real cookery programmes for television Take Six Cooks. He shall be sadly missed."
Richard Shepherd, CBE, and owner of the Coq d'Or restaurant company knew Kromberg as part of Club Nine.
"Peter for me was one of the great chefs and a very good man. There are a lot of younger chefs out there who have learnt a tremendous amount from him. He brought a whole new meaning to soufflés and could turn them out better than anybody. He always had time for people and had a wealth of knowledge.
"After all he gave to his working life, it is a shame that through ill health he did not get much time to enjoy his retirement. We will miss him sadly."
By Gemma Sharkey
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