By David Cochrane, Chief Executive, Hospitality Industry Trust (Scotland)
The rightful tributes for Andrew Fairlie have been pouring in from around the world since the sad news of his passing this week.
This in itself marks the incredible respect and esteem that so many people held for one of our national heroes. It’s not the grand statements and huge plaudits that strike me. It’s the small comments from genuine friends and colleagues that have all taken time to express their gratitude, friendship and sadness at this time. The stories of how he mentored young people, the charity work that he quietly got on with, the humble person and immense professional culinary skills that he possessed.
In addition to this are the traits that mattered most to him: his family, loyalty, integrity and honesty at all times, coupled with a steely desire for perfection and a great sense of fun!
I was fortunate enough to spend many adventures with Andrew. Whether it be in a tent for many days on the way up Kilimanjaro on our charity trek, in a van on the way to cook in someone’s house as an auction prize (Andrew did the cooking, I did the washing up!) or at meetings when he would have a clear sense of what was right and make sure that the industry was front and centre of every decision.
Andrew had charisma that went beyond the kitchen. He seemed to have the capacity to make everyone feel special and every interaction was focused solely on the person he was speaking with. People liked being with Andrew. His legacy will be a lasting one. The team that he has proudly nurtured at his restaurant are a group of special people and the high standards will continue because of their drive and belief in looking after guests.
There are many adjectives that could describe one of the most inspirational chefs of our time. I believe he will be remembered by so many people for so many positive and different reasons and his legacy will live on through many mediums. Collectively, we are proud to have known such an inspiring person, and honoured to have been able to call him our friend.