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Russell Norman: Restaurateur, author and Saturday Kitchen chef dies aged 57 | Ents & Arts News

Tributes have been paid to restaurateur, chef and author Russell Norman following his death at the age of 57.

Mr Norman’s fame grew over the past decade, as he featured in a TV series advising new restaurant hopefuls, and he had several cookbooks published.

He also appeared on the hit weekend cooking show Saturday Kitchen.

Mr Norman was the founder of the award-winning Italian restaurant Brutto in London and co-founder of Polpo and Spuntino.

Richard Beatty, who set up Polpo with Mr Norman, said his “best friend” died after a “short battle in hospital”.

“He died surrounded by family and friends,” he said, as reported by Restaurant Online.

Mr Norman’s first book, called Polpo: A Venetian Cookbook (of Sorts), was named Waterstones’ book of the year for 2012.

He followed it up with Spuntino – Comfort Food (New York Style), which won the 2016 Guild of Food Writers Awards for best food and travel book.

His fourth book, called Brutto: A (Simple) Florentine Cookbook, was published at the start of this month.

Mr Norman became a regular feature on TV, starring in The Restaurant Man on the BBC, which was a six-part series following wannabe restaurant owners seeking guidance and advice from the chef.

‘A true creative force’

Ebury Publishing, the company behind the Brutto book, paid tribute to a “true creative force”.

“We are all devastated to hear about the death of Russell Norman, our brilliant and much-loved author and restauranteur,” the group said in a statement.

“A true creative force, food genius and trailblazer.”

Tom Parker Bowles, the Queen’s son, who is a published food writer and critic, described Mr Norman as a “great writer, enthusiast, eater and restaurateur”.

“A wonderful and generous friend to so many of us,” he added.

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‘Gifted restaurateur’

Jay Rayner, a prominent food writer, said Mr Norman was “one of the most gifted of restaurateurs, a terrific writer and an awful lot of fun to be around”.

The book shop chain Waterstones wrote on X: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of Russell Norman, creator of Polpo and Brutto, and winner of the very first Waterstones #BookOfTheYear in 2012.

“Not only an incredibly gifted restaurateur, but also a brilliant writer.”

Mark Lewis, the chief executive of Hospitality Action – a support group for those in the industry – said Mr Norman was a “huge talent” and a “huge loss”.

“Such sad and shocking news about Russell Norman, RIP,” he said, adding he “bumped into him” enjoying a glass of wine “only a week or two ago”.

Mr Norman is survived by his wife and three children.

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