Today we heard about the sad demise of the wonderful Rose Gray, who with her partner Ruth Rogers, founded The River Cafe restaurant in west London. Rose has a special place in our hearts here at TWR as Amanda and her family have been going to the restaurant ever since it opened in 1987 and more often than not, when we went, Rose was cooking (she and Ruth took it in turns to cook lunch/supper shifts as both had big families to look after).
We saw it turn from a canteen-like place to grab a late supper when we were younger to a great place to eat 'special treat' dinner's with teenagesons, in its new swankier format now we are all grown up. All of our grubby-thro-overuse River Cafe cook books have been bought and autographed from the restaurant and when cooking-crazy youngesteenageson and middleagedad were there after a late 'well done on passing your exam' lunch, Rose took them around the kitchen and showed them them the cooking up close. Youngesteenageson has been a devoted disciple since he could hold a fork.
It's worth noting too that Rose didn't start the River Cafe until she was nearly 50.
Rose cooked there regularly until recently, clearly very happy to be working at something she loved. The joy of the River Cafe is that it is still just the one restaurant, not a chain. No thinly spread, celeb-chef building his giant over-puffed empire here. Rose and Ruth did venture into TV in 1998 but prefered performing in the restaurant than in front of a digital audience so concentrated on writing lots of very useful books. And we love them for that. At 71, Rose has gone too soon, we will miss her.