Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Top chef in death crash

Tributes pour in for Robbie Millar

CELEBRITY chef Robbie Millar was killed today in a horror car crash near his Michelin Star restaurant in Co Down.

CELEBRITY chef Robbie Millar was killed today in a horror car crash near his Michelin Star restaurant in Co Down.

Mr Millar (38), from Croft Road in Holywood, who owned and ran the critically acclaimed Shanks Restaurant alongside his wife, Shirley, died when his Maserati car was involved in an accident on the Ballysallagh Road outside Bangor early this morning.

Robin Millar, who was known as Robbie, is survived by his wife and three children, Theo, Sasha and Tara Rose.

No other vehicle was involved in the accident, which occurred at about 2.50am. The road remained closed throughout the morning at Craigantlet Road crossroads and Ballybarnes Road.

The tragedy comes just six months after the husband and wife team celebrated their restaurant receiving its 10th consecutive Michelin Star - making it the only eating establishment in Northern Ireland to have achieved such a level of success.

A member of staff from the restaurant this morning said the premises will remain closed for at least seven days.

Fionnuala Jay-O'Boyle, who worked alongside Mr Millar in the Taste of Ulster initiative, which promoted the best of Northern Ireland food and countryside, spoke of her shock at the news.

"This is awful news, quite dreadful. Robbie was quite simply a star," she said.

"He was a singular chef with a passion for local produce and an understanding of how to cook food. He will be sorely missed."

At the restaurant Rain City this morning, run by fellow celebrity chef Paul Rankin, Mr Rankin was said to be too upset to speak about the tragedy.

Extending her sympathies to the family circle, UUP councillor for Holywood Diana Peacocke said she was greatly saddened by "the loss of such tremendous talent".

She said: "Robbie was such a nice person, he was always friendly, bubbly and approachable - he had time for everybody.

"Although Robbie had achieved so much he was still very young and had so much to live for which makes this terrible news even worse."

Shanks was opened 11-years ago in October 1994 and soon the accolades were flowing, beginning in April 1995 when it was named the Egon Ronay Newcomer of the Year for Ireland.

In January 1996, international recognition was achieved when Shanks was awarded a highly coveted Michelin Star by the prestigious Michelin Red Guide to Great Britain & Ireland - there are only four restaurants in all of Ireland holding a star.

The 10th Michelin Star was awarded this year.

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