Tributes paid to ‘giant of hospitality' Richard Shepherd

24 November 2022 by
Tributes paid to ‘giant of hospitality' Richard Shepherd

The hospitality industry has been paying tribute to industry "giant" Richard Shepherd, following his death at the age of 77.

Shepherd was one of the first British chefs to achieve a Michelin star and was a former partner in the famous Langan's Brasserie in London.

Chef Brian Turner recalled meeting him when they were both working at Simpsons-in-the-Strand in the capital in the 1960s.

He told The Caterer: "It was my first day in my first job in London and he made me feel so welcome. He was my hero and mentor always being one step ahead of me. I followed him to the Savoy Grill when it was one of the greatest restaurants in the country lead by head chef Louis Virot. Then we both moved separately abroad and then back together again at the Capital hotel, where we gained a then very rare Michelin star.

"Richard was classically trained and loved the ethos of French cuisine, but basically, he was a good honest cook and loved the use of British produce wherever possible.

"Along with Peter Langan he created what was an iconic restaurant in Langan's Brasserie with people queuing at the door and hordes of paparazzi all hoping to see the stars of the day as they entered and left. Shepherd had become a leading restaurateur where others were keen to follow.

"One of my memories is of Paul Bocuse, the legendary three-star chef… gobsmacked seeing the queues of people waiting to get in after midnight to an already full restaurant. I personally think that inspired chef Bocuse to create his four brasseries in Lyon."

Rick Stein said Shepherd was an "enormously important" figure in the hospitality industry and a "great friend".

He added: "I always remember in the early days we took all our staff to Langan's Brasserie on the train from Cornwall and he devoted all the afternoon after lunch to talking about his career and working with Peter Langan and Michael Caine, interspersed with hilarity, as anyone who knew him can imagine…a generous, big-hearted man, I'll miss him."

Shepherd was also a member of the Club 9 group of trailblazing chefs in the 1970s and later co-founded the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA).

The organisation paid tribute to the chef, who was its honorary president, as a "giant of hospitality", adding: "He shaped the world of modern hospitality with his focus on apprenticeships and skills. Richard Shepherd drove the evolution of restaurants and how we eat today as a restaurateur through his iconic restaurant Langan's. A huge loss for hospitality."

Pamela Carvell, president of the Hotel Marketing Association, wrote on Twitter that she had "amazing" memories of seeing actress Elizabeth Taylor dining at Langan's in the 1980s.

"[The restaurant] was ground-breaking in its day and people like Richard deserve huge credit for their contribution to making London the food destination that it now is," she wrote.

Turner added: "Personally, I will remember the many dinners at Langan's and the drinks sessions that focused on the future of the restaurant world…we will never forget Richard Shepherd CBE."

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