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Rose Gray, MBE (28 January 1939 – 28 February 2010[1]) was a British chef and cookery writer, who set up (with Ruth Rogers) The River Café in 1987. She won a Michelin star for this in 1998. It was here that the talents of Jamie Oliver were first spotted. She had a profound influence on a generation of celebrity chefs, including Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, the latter stating that she had had more influence on him than any other person he had worked with. She wrote a series of cookery books and presented a twelve-part television programme for Channel Four, "The Italian Kitchen", in 1998.

Born as Clemency Anne Rose Swann in Bedford, just before her birth, her father, Clement Nelson Swann, and a sibling were killed in a domestic fire. She was brought up in Scotland and Surrey. Her mother, Elizabeth Anne Lawrence, settled in Guildford, and Rose studied at the Guildford College of Art, where she gained a BA in Fine Art. Her career as a professional chef began at Nell's restaurant in New York, after which time she returned to London.

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Last years

She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2001. In 2004 she became a "Breast Cancer Ambassador" and was also co-founder of the Cooks in Schools charity. After being given the all-clear, she was later diagnosed with a brain tumour in late 2009 or early 2010. She died in London, aged 71, on February 28, 2010. She had been working on what was to be her last book (with Ruth Rogers), the River Café Classic Italian Cookery Book. Her other works (many of which were co-authored with Ruth Rogers) include the River Café Cookbook, the River Café Cookbook Green and River Café Pocket Books: Salads and Vegetables.

Marriages

In 1961, she married Michael Selby Gray. They had one son and two daughters, but the marriage ended in divorce. In 2004, she married David Robin MacIlwaine, a sculptor (they adopted a son). They lived part of their life in Tuscany, where Rose first developed her interest in Italian food.

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See also

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