The Death Of Alastair Little Has The Food World Shaken

Legendary British Chef Alastair Little died at the age of 72, leaving behind a legacy of influential cooking based on simplicity (per Eater). The chef, cookbook author, and restaurateur was known and beloved for his culture-changing contributions to the British food industry. He will be greatly missed by fellow chefs and industry professionals touched by his trend-setting cooking style and charming personality.

After working his way up from waiter to chef at London's fine dining restaurants L'Escargot and 192 in the early 1980s, Little went on to open his own eatery in Soho in 1985. Aptly named after himself, it was at this restaurant that Little would make his name known in the culinary community. His restaurant philosophy flew in the face of the pretentious fine dining establishments that were the norm at that time by focusing on simple dishes that highlighted the true flavors of quality ingredients. According to a 2003 profile of the chef in the Independent, the restaurant served simple and delicious fare (from a menu that changed twice a day, according to Little's shopping trips) in a dining room sans tablecloths or cloth napkins, but with bare floorboards, and a view into the open kitchen. A paired-back aesthetic, focus on ingredients, and changing menu may be common in today's restaurants but were far from standard 35 years ago.  

The menu options at Alastair Little were solely focused on featuring the pure essence of the food itself without needing fancy gimmicks to muck up the natural flavor. After opening a second restaurant in 1995, Little went on to share his influential cooking style by authoring five cookbooks in the 1990s (via Eater). 

Industry professionals grieve over the loss of an icon

Chefs, food critics, and industry professionals inspired by the life of Alastair Little are mourning a great loss after the chef dubbed the "godfather of modern British cooking" passed away (via Evening Standard). Although his popularity was at its height in the 1980s and 90s, Chef Little's focus on simple cooking dictated by the changing seasons continues to influence today's food industry.

Alastair Little didn't need to attain the celebrity chef status that many well-known chefs of today have achieved to be considered a forceful influencer of modern cuisine. Evening Standard food critic Fay Maschler noted that Little's contributions to the industry 40 years ago "still inspire and reverberate–perhaps at even a higher volume" today.

Food journalist Dan Saladino tweeted about the loss of a chef he called a "champion of simple, authentic, and generous food." Nigella Lawson joined an ever-increasing number of industry professionals tweeting their condolences to the family and remembering the legacy left behind by acclaimed Chef Alastair Little.