Tributes paid to River Cafe founder Gray

<p>Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have paid tribute to &quot;one of the most important chefs of our times&quot;, River Cafe founder and author Rose Gray, who has died at the age of 71.</p><p>Both men worked at the restaurant during the formative stages of their careers. According to the <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ukpress/article/ALeqM5g7HZpLdHidcn4VQjy... target="_blank">Press Association</a>, Oliver described Gray as a &quot;pioneer&quot; and a &quot;really great boss&quot;.</p><p>Oliver said: &quot;I&#39;m so saddened by the death of Rose. She really was one of life&#39;s very, very special, natural, genius chefs - a true pioneer of delicious simple cooking. It was my honour to have worked with her - a really great boss, a wonderful person who gave me some of my fondest cooking memories and great funny times.</p><p>&quot;The quality of food and chefs that have left the River Cafe over the last 20 years speaks for itself and is all credit to the partnership, love and values of Rose Gray and Ruthie Rogers. Without question the world has lost one of the most important chefs of our times, she will be sorely missed.&quot;</p><p>Fearnley-Whittingstall said during his time at the River Cafe he had &quot;learned more from Rose than from anyone I have ever cooked with.&quot;</p><p>Gray, a chef and cookery writer, set up the River Cafe in Hammersmith, west London with Lady Ruth Rogers in 1987. Her first title, <em>The River Cafe Cookbook</em>, was published by Ebury in 1995.<br />In an <em><a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/feb/28/rose-gray-obituary" target="_blank">obituary in The Guardian,</a></em> Ronan Bennett said Gray and her co-founder Ruth Rogers were at first &quot;reluctant to write a book, insisting they were chefs not writers&quot;.</p><p>However, he writes that it is &quot;impossible to overstate the influence these books have had in shaping our eating habits and our expectations of what we are served in restaurants&quot;. </p>