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Industry pays tribute to chef Matt Campbell

23 April 2018 by
Industry pays tribute to chef Matt Campbell

The industry has been paying tribute to chef and MasterChef: The Professionals contestant Matt Campbell, who has died aged 29 after collapsing during the London Marathon.

Marcus Wareing, MasterChef judge, chef and restaurateur, said: "He was a talented, innovative and driven chef with a bright future ahead of him. My thoughts are with his friends and family at this tragic time."

Jamie Park, head chef at the Frog E1 in London and fellow MasterChef contestant, said: "Matt was the sort of guy you like from the first day you meet him, and over the past 12 months I've known him he has inspired me inside and outside the kitchen. As a cook he was incredibly clever, creative and conscious about what he was feeding people. He changed my perception about what it is to be a chef; he was a nutritionist, eco warrior and humanitarian, all at the same time as being ‘just a chef'."

"People who see the whole picture don't come along very often and he helped me do the same. As a person he was very humble, he had time for everyone and he was just the nicest guy. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten. My thoughts are with his family and friends."

Campbell worked as a private chef in the Lake District and received widespread attention for his dishes, many of which were vegan and focused on nutrition, when he made it to the semi-finals of BBC Two's MasterChef: The Professionals. He also received praise from the judges.

He fell at the 22.5-mile mark of the marathon course and was given immediate medical treatment but died later in hospital. He was running for young persons' charity Brathay Trust in memory of his father who died nearly two years ago.

It was his second marathon in two weeks, having run the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon earlier this month in less than three hours.

A spokesperson for MasterChef said: "We are shocked and saddened to hear the news about Matt Campbell, one of our talented contestants from last year. It was a privilege to have him on the show. He will always be remembered for producing some of the most innovative and ground-breaking food that we saw on the series. From the whole MasterChef team, our sincere condolences and thoughts are with his family and friends."

The Brathay Trust has said: "Matt was a unique inspiration, a positive person whose enthusiasm and love of life touched so many. In the time we knew Matt, we were all affected by his unique personality and talent. We were in awe of his flair as a chef and he was generous with his time and knowledge. We were all looking ahead to working with him on some of his culinary ideas to inspire the next generation.

"Matt gave so much to Brathay and the young people we work with. We are stunned and humbled by the outpouring of love and support in his memory on his Just Giving page, creating a lasting legacy allowing us to reach many more young people."

Many of those who knew Matt paid tribute on social media.

Chef-patron of Moor Hall Mark Birchall tweeted: "This is so sad. Matt was an absolute gent and a great talent. My thoughts are with his family."

Food critic for The Observer Jay Rayner wrote: "Awful news. I presented Matt with an award for outstanding achievement at last month's Cumbria Life Food and Drink Awards. He was clever and, as my colleague @gracedent said in @obsefood only yesterday, hugely creative and innovative. My thoughts are with his family."

Thousands of pounds have been donated in the hours since his death was announced - if you would like to make a donation please follow this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mattcampbell-londonmarathon

This is so sad. Matt was an absolute gent and a great talent. My thoughts are with his family. x https://t.co/F5GKyeEQIH

— Mark Birchall (@MarkDBirchall)

God this is absolutely awful.
So so sorry to hear this.
Thoughts with his family X

— STICKY (@StickyWalnut)

Awful news. I presented Matt with an award for outstanding achievement at last month's Cumbria Life Food and Drink Awards. He was clever and, as my colleague said in @obsefood only yesterday, hugely creative and innovative. My thoughts are with his family. https://t.co/jgPuX0aXTe

— Jay Rayner (@jayrayner1)

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