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Tributes to Northern Ireland chef Darren Simpson who died in Australia


Darren Simpson (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)

Darren Simpson (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Darren Simpson (Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images)

Tributes have been paid following the death of celebrity chef Darren Simpson from Northern Ireland.

Mr Simpson was named the UK’s Young Chef of the Year at the age 21 —the youngest ever winner of the prestigious prize open to young talent under 25.

Mr Simpson, who leaves a wife and two sons, is reported to have suffered a heart attack in hospital on Thursday night.

The Daily Telegraph reported that it followed a recent bid at rehabilitation in a clinic for a long battle with alcohol addiction near his Byron Bay home in Australia.

Mr Simpson’s illustrious career saw him train and work with some of the greatest chefs.

From 1992 to 1999 he worked in restaurants such as Paul Rankin’s Michelin-starred Roscoff, Belfast; Albert Roux’s Michelin-starred Le Gavroche, London; Sally Clarke’s, London; and Simon Hopkinson’s Bibendum, London.

He was joint head chef of the acclaimed River Cafe, London; and head chef at Sir Terence Conran’s Sartoria in Savile Row, London.

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In 1999, he moved to Australia to be head chef of Aqua Luna Bar and Restaurant at Sydney’s East Circular Quay. Having received fantastic reviews, Darren’s food was described as “dynamic” and “big-flavoured”.

He then opened award-winning La Sala (The Room), a modern Italian restaurant in 2005.

He became a well known face on the television food scene, with regular appearances on Lifestyle Food Channel and on programmes such as Ready Steady Cook.

He also presided as a judge on hit reality show My Restaurant Rules.

Tributes were flooding into the chef last night.

Fellow chef and presenter Andrew Ballard tweeted: “Such sad news to hear of my former colleague Darren Simpson passing away today. RIP Dazza.”

Australian chef Adam Moore said: “R.I.P Darren Simpson you will be missed chef loved working with you.”

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