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Matt Tebbutt leads tributes after BBC Saturday Kitchen star Russell Norman dies aged 57

Jay Rayner is among those to have paid tribute

Russell Norman, restaurant owner, TV star, chef and founder of the Polpo and Brutto restaurants, has passed away aged 57
Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
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TV chef and restauranteur Russell Norman has very sadly passed away aged 57 following a short illness in hospital. The chef, who was a regular guest on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen, was the author of several cookbooks and opened several restaurants throughout his career - and tributes have poured in from his friends and colleagues following the sad news. 

Russell’s business partner announced his death in a statement which read: "It is with the greatest sadness I announce the loss of my best friend Russell Norman. After a short battle in hospital, he died surrounded by family and friends. Russell is survived by his wife and three children, and I ask that you respect the privacy of his family, friends and colleagues at this time." 

Russell Norman attends Hakkasan's 20th anniversary event in 2021© Dave Benett
Russell Norman attends Hakkasan's 20th anniversary event in 2021

Saturday Kitchen host Matt Tebbutt shared a photo of Russell on Instagram following the sad news, writing: "Very shocked to hear of the sudden death of Russell Norman. An enormous talent as a chef, hugely successful restaurateur and just an all round nice guy. He will be sorely missed. Cheers for the Negronis, Russell!"

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Jay Rayner was among those to pay writing, posting on X: "So sorry to hear of the death, far too young, of Russell Norman. He was one of the most gifted of restaurateurs, a terrific writer and an awful lot of fun to be around. He very much lived life his own way. My thoughts are with his family and friends." 

Russell Norman at the The Good Food Guide Awards in October 2023© Dave Benett
Russell Norman at the The Good Food Guide Awards in October 2023

Podcaster and food writer Gilly Smith added: "What shocking news about Russell Norman. He’s my guest on this week’s Cooking the Books recorded just 2 weeks ago. I’m so glad I asked him the question about drama. You can hear his smile. RIP lovely man." 

His publishing house Bloomsbury posted on X: "Everyone at Bloomsbury is shocked and saddened at the death of Russell Norman. A visionary restauranteur, his first book, Polpo, was an iconic publication from its Venetian small plates through to its unique spine binding. 

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"Our every sympathy goes out to his family and friends." Another fan added: "How horrendously, horrendously sad. I only met him twice but he was such a warm and delightful man. Not to mention his joyful restaurants. 57 is no age to die." 

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