Celebrity Australian chef Bill Granger – the “godfather” of avocado toast – has died.
A self-taught cook from Melbourne, Granger has become a celebrated restaurateur and global food writer.
He died in a London hospital on Christmas Day, aged 54, with his wife and three daughters by his side.
“He will be remembered as the ‘King of Breakfast,’ for transforming unpretentious dishes into something special filled with sunshine,” they said on Instagram.
“He will be greatly missed by all.”
The cause of his death has not been made public by his family.
Over the course of his 30-year career, Granger has published 14 cookbooks, produced several television cooking shows, opened more than a dozen restaurants around the world, and gained legions of fans, including many of his own peers.
Celebrities including Australian actor Hugh Jackman, former Masterchef Australia judge Matt Preston and culinary legend Jamie Oliver were among those who paid tribute to the star as a kind, vivacious and charming man.
“He was the most charming man, and the joy he gave us – whether through his food, his books, the spaces he set up for us or in person – came from kindness, from generosity and pure, brilliant exuberance of himself,” said Food. author and TV chef Nigella Lawson wrote on Instagram.
“So devastated for his family. This is so cruel.”
Granger began his career in 1993, after dropping out of art studies to open his first restaurant in Sydney when he was just 23 years old.
Bills – a sunny corner cafe – has become known for simple dishes like avocado toast, ricotta pancakes with honeycomb butter and premium coffee.
His popularity exploded and from there he opened other cafes in Japan, Korea and London, where he also created a spin-off chain called Granger & Co.
Australian chef Darren Robertson said Granger “changed the whole game of breakfast”, while Masterchef Australia alumnus Adam Liaw described him as “arguably (the) most influential pioneer in the kitchen modern Australian.
“His ‘sunny’ codification of Australian cafe culture at Bills is the model on which all Australian cafes around the world are now built. Great guy too,” Liaw wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Such was his impact that in January Granger was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia – one of the country’s highest honors – for his contribution to tourism and hospitality.
Speaking to the BBC in 2019, the chef reflected on the humble foundations of his breakfast empire.
“I did all these amazing things, just because I loved cooking pancakes and scrambled eggs, which is pretty amazing.”
Granger is survived by his wife and business partner, Natalie Elliott, and three daughters, Edie, Ines and Bunny.
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