Industry figures have paid tribute to Ronnie Clydesdale, the iconic Scottish chef-restaurateur and founder of the famous Ubiquitous Chip restaurant in Glasgow, who has died aged 74.
Clydesdale was one of the UK's longest serving chef-proprietors having opened the Ubiquitous Chip in an unpromising back alley in Glasgow's West End nearly four decades ago in 1971. Widely credited with bringing fine dining to Glasgow, he was the first Scottish chef to focus his cooking on high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients and credit his suppliers on his restaurant menus.
In addition to the flagship restaurant, Clydesdale was a consummate chef and restaurateur who headed up a mini-empire of five businesses - the Ubiquitous Chip, the Chip Upstairs, Stravaigin, Back Alley and the Ubiquitous Chip Off-Licence. All this he achieved without formal training, but with an innate understanding of good food, sensitive management and acute business acumen - and by having the courage of his convictions.
Ian Brown, head chef at the Ubiquitous Chip for 21 years, told a local paper that with Clydesdale's death he had "lost a friend, mentor, boss and ally all at the same time". "Ronnie was the godfather of Scottish cooking. It's heartbreaking that he won't be here to celebrate the Chip's 40th birthday next year," he said.
Tony Borthwick, chef proprietor of the Michelin-starred Plumed Horse in Edinburgh, added that Clydesdale's death was a sad day for the Scottish hospitality industry. "Ronnie was so passionate about food and wine, he was a real gourmand who really enjoyed life and brought so much to other people," he told Caterer.
"The Ubiquitous Chip is a Glasgow institution, a brilliant restaurant and real celebrity haunt and Ronnie brought that up from nothing. It's so sad that he has died."
Clydesdale suffered serious spinal injuries when he fell down the stairs at his home in Glasgow in 2008. He died in hospital on Saturday after suffering a stroke and pneumonia.
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By Kerstin Kühn
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