A talented young chef who spent nearly five years working for Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles in Auchterarder has died suddenly.
James Rehill, 25, who had been sous chef at the five-star, 39-bedroom Cliff House in Ardmore, County Waterford, Ireland, since January, died on Wednesday after suffering what was believed to be an epileptic seizure.
Martijn Kajuiter, head chef at the Cliff House, which has one Michelin star, said that he and the seven-strong brigade worked together for 14-15 hours per day and Rehill's death was a major blow for everyone.
"James was a very motivated guy who was keen to do well and move on in his career," Kajuiter said. "He was always on time, so when he didn't turn up for work on Wednesday, we knew something was wrong."
Fairlie said that Rehill had suffered head injuries in a car accident two years ago, since when he had suffered a number of seizures. "James was a hugely talented chef, a real gem of a guy and we all loved him to bits," he added.
Following the accident, Rehill decided he wanted to move back closer to his home in County Donegal, and as a result he joined the Cliff House.
In Kajuiter's new book, Let's Go Disco: Martijn Kajuiter at the Cliff House Hotel, Rehill said: "Kitchens can be intense places to work and sometimes there are raised tempers and voices, but the important thing is that it's always all in the service of enforcing quality standards and making sure things are done right. It's about everyone having a commitment to certain standards, and that's the same everywhere that high standards are delivered."
Rehill's funeral will take place at 1pm on Sunday at St Marys Church, Muff, County Donegal.
By Janet Harmer
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