Bill Granger, Beloved Australian Celebrity Chef, Dies At 54

Nigella Lawson, Hugh Jackman and Jamie Oliver were among those paying tribute to the restaurateur known as the King of Breakfast.
Rune Hellestad - Corbis via Getty Images

Bill Granger, an Australian chef, restaurateur and food writer known for his elevated takes on breakfast fare, died on Christmas Day, his family announced Tuesday. He was 54.

Granger died peacefully at a London hospital “with his wife Natalie Elliott and three daughters, Edie, Inès and Bunny, at his bedside,” according to a statement posted on Granger’s Instagram page. A cause of death was not provided.

“He will be remembered as the ‘King of Breakfast’, for making unpretentious food into something special filled with sunshine and for spurring the growth of Australian informal and communal eating around the world,” the post said.

“He will be deeply missed by all, with his loss most profoundly felt by his adored family, who are grateful for all the love and support that has been given.”

Granger, born in Melbourne, Australia, was a self-taught cook who started a global business with 19 restaurants spread across Sydney and London, as well as cities in Japan and Korea.

He opened his first restaurant, Bills, in Darlinghurst, Sydney, in 1993. Now a chain, the cafe is a breakfast institution known for its creative and fresh flavors.

He was also the author of more than a dozen cookbooks and created five TV series, including “Bill’s Tasty Weekends” and “Bill’s Kitchen: Notting Hill.”

He was remembered online as a beloved and talented chef who helped develop Australia’s distinctive brunch culture and share it with the world, with some calling him the “godfather” of avocado toast.

Bill Granger and his family lived in London, which is home to a handful of his restaurants.
Bill Granger and his family lived in London, which is home to a handful of his restaurants.
Rune Hellestad - Corbis via Getty Images

Tributes flowed on social media.

“He was the loveliest man, and the joy he gave us – whether through his food, his books, the spaces he made for us, or in person – came from the kindness, generosity and sheer shining exuberance of his very self,” British celebrity cook Nigella Lawson wrote in an Instagram post. “So devastated for his family. It’s too cruel. May his memory be a blessing.”

Jamie Oliver, another British food icon, said that it was “devastating news.”

“What a guy he was …. a wonderful human, kind calm soul,” Oliver wrote of Granger, saying that he “admired everything he represented in food.”

“I remember the first time I met him many moons ago he couldn’t have been nicer and his food so good,” Oliver added.

“Rest in peace, Bill, he will be sorely missed.”

“Oh my goodness, this is so heartbreaking!” wrote American actor Gwyneth Paltrow. “Love to you all.”

In a joint statement with former partner Deborra-Lee Furness, Australian actor Hugh Jackman said: “We are devastated to hear the news of Bill’s passing. His talent, his joie de vivre, the way he brought people together, and his commitment to family were inspiring. We will miss his friendship most of all.”

In January, Granger was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia, a top honor, for his contributions to tourism and hospitality.

“I’ve done all these extraordinary things, just from liking to cook pancakes and scrambled eggs, which is pretty amazing,” he told the BBC of his breakfast empire in 2019.

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