Egon Ronay 1915~2010

It is great sadness that The Chef Hermes blog has learned that the trail blazing food critic and guide book author Egon Ronay has passed away.

Mr Ronay came to England in October 1946, from his native Hungary and through his fathers contacts he managed and ran several restaurants in central London, culminating in a meeting with Fanny Craddock & husband Johnny. Over the subsequent years Mr Ronay cultivated useful contacts with the press and after much persuading he became a food columnist for the Daily Telegraph.

In 1957 he produced the first of his famous guides and restaurants proudly bore the Egon Ronay plaque with their listing in his guides. Unlike many of his counterparts at the time, Mr Ronay’s guides didn’t accept advertising from those within the industry so to remain impartial and even handed. He sold the rights to his guides in 1985 to the AA, but after a lengthy legal dispute and the bankruptcy of Leading Guides International who subsequently bought the title from the AA, he published his guides again in 2005 in conjunction with the RAC.

Back in 1993 Mr Ronay famously insured his palate for £250,000 with Lloyds of London, claiming;

…that without this asset he would be like a sculptor shorn of his hands

Egon Ronay didn’t just rate restaurants, he also rated & review motorway services and airports. He said

..his goal was to raise standards for everybody, not just the elite

Mr Ronay was still working into his 90’s for a cause he passionately believed in saying;

It is not for me to say whether I have had any influence. Other people must judge. However, I think the guides certainly have had the effect, particularly in mass catering, of telling people that they could no longer get away with murder – because I would expose them.

Mr Ronay died after a short illness at his home inYattenden, Berkshire. He leaves behind his wife, two daughters and a son, to which we send our condolences.

Mr Egon Ronay, a pioneer of his time and will be sorely missed by all in the catering industry.

1915 ~ 2010

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