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Tributes to Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias

20 November 2015
Tributes to Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias

Following the very sad news last week that Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias passed away aged just 32, we asked some of the chefs and industry figures who knew him best for tributes to their talented colleague, who ran the Michelin-starred Casamia in Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, with his brother Peter.

"With his warm Bristolian accent and ability to talk the hind leg off a donkey, Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias charmed everyone. As a very young chef he had displayed a voracious appetite for new tricks and loved to push gastronomic boundaries, but then came to the conclusion that food just needed to be delicious. His wonderfully fresh, vibrantly seasonal approach made recent meals at Casamia among the most enjoyable in the country.

"In my opinion, he was on course (with his equally talented brother Peter) to become one of our top chefs. He is a great loss."
Elizabeth Carter, editor, the Waitrose Good Food Guide

"Being a proud fellow Bristolian, the biggest tribute I can give to Jonray is his contribution to the food scene in our city. He not only inspired countless chefs and cooks, but his endless enthusiasm to push culinary boundaries really put Bristol on the map as a major food destination.

"I've lost a great friend, but the industry will miss one of its true shining lights. Miss you, chief!"
Dean Edwards, TV chef

"It was an honour to have known Jonray over the past few years, and also a privilege to have spent some time with him in his kitchen at Casamia. He was such a talented individual and this is a massive loss for the industry. He and Peter were a fantastic team.

Claude Bosi, chef-patron, Hibiscus

"I've known Jonray and Peter for several years. The first thing that struck me when I first met them, other than their youth, was their obsessive nature and energy for two guys so young. We clicked from day one.

"I'll always remember one time they came here for lunch. They were always greedy to try everything, inquisitive and hungry for so much more, they ended up staying for staff tea at 5pm. That progressed into dinner at 8pm and then breakfast the next day. They're still the only two to hold that record!

"When Jonray was diagnosed and taking his meds, he never let on to anyone apart from his closest family and friends.

"Even when the brutality and savagery of the cancer that had taken hold of him was at its worst, he was always upbeat and strong - even when I could see he was in a lot of pain. The bond the brothers have was incredible to see, almost telepathic - becoming each other's strength for the other's weakness. A formidable duo.

"Jonray knew he was ill and he knew his life was on an egg timer. This made him so absolutely driven to leave a legacy for his incredible and strong family. His amazing wife, Kirsty, and his two beautiful daughters, Olive and Bella, his mum and dad, Sue and Paco, and not least, his brother Peter.

"He did everything he was able to to leave them in the best way he could, ready for the next chapter in their lives.

"The courage and strength he must have used in the last few months, I don't think we could ever imagine. It's something we can all learn from to make us stronger in darker times. I just loved Jonray and his inquiring nature and I'm really going to miss him. But he lives on in the work Peter and the whole family are doing and will continue to do.

"Sleep tight, chief. Forever in our hearts."
Sat Bains, chef-patron, Restaurant Sat Bains

"In life, we forget how privileged we are. I was very privileged and honoured to have met and known a special man and to call Jonray a friend. He always looked happy and filled the room with his cheeky smile. Jonray was a very talented chef with so much enthusiasm and love for food, and masses of energy.

"Purnell's and Casamia have a great bond, with so much respect and love for each other. When we cooked there in August this year, Jonray was too ill to come down. He was frustrated by that and he couldn't keep away. So he FaceTimed us during the mise en place to keep a keen eye on us!

"He was so upbeat and never seemed to let the illness beat him. Jonray was an amazing man and chef, loving husband, dad, son, brother and to me he was a friend.

"Rest in peace, Jonray; we will never forget you, chief."
Glynn Purnell, chef-patron, Purnell's restaurant

"A lesson we have all been taught this past week is to never take what you have for granted. I met Jonray in 2009 at a photo shoot and was instantly awestruck by the kindness and sincerity of the man. What a gentleman and a breath of fresh air to our industry. Jonray was one of the most generous, kind and caring guys I've ever known. A fantastic chef at my favourite restaurant, a restaurant that we at Purnell's consider to be family. It was a pleasure and privilege to call you my friend. The world has lost one of its brightest stars.

"Sleep tight, friend - love you."
Luke Butcher, sous chef, Purnell's restaurant

"Every now and then you meet a special person that you know is one of the 'good guys' - that has a burning passion, desire and drive to achieve things but does it with a smile on their face and a huge amount of self belief. Jonray will be forever remembered as one of these extraordinary people. It was a huge honour and privilege to know him and he will be greatly missed."
Tom Kerridge, chef-patron, the Hand & Flowers and the Coach

"We went through everything together, the whole restaurant trade, running our own restaurants at a young age. We were struggling to make ends meet at the same time, talking about it all on the phone every night. We just had so much in common. He was exceptionally talented, he was amazing for people to work with. His attention to detail was immaculate. Jonray believed in everyone and was one of my best friends.

"I think his career highlight was creating a beautiful restaurant and winning his Michelin star. That's all he ever wanted to do. He was working until the very end, sending me text messages with colour palettes for the new place. The new opening will be part of Jonray's legacy."
Josh Eggleton, chef-patron, the Pony & Trap

Jonray's family have set up a Just Giving page to raise money for Cancer Research UK. You can donate here.

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