TRIBUTES have been paid to Northern Irish celebrity chef Darren Simpson following his death in Australia.
Mr Simpson was a prolific chef, rising quickly through the ranks after he was the youngest chef to be named as Britain's Young Chef of the Year at the age of 21.
From there, he trained at some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world.
These included Paul Rankin's Roscoff in Belfast and London restaurants Le Gavroche, the River Café and Sir Terence Conran's Sartoria on Saville Row.
In 1999, he was headhunted to become the Head Chef of Aqua Luna Bar and Restaurant at Sydney’s East Circular Quay, receiving rave reviews for his “dynamic” and “big-flavoured” menus.
Mr Simpson became a regular on Australian television, featuring on cooking segments on Seven's Sunrise.
He also featured on Ready Steady Cook.
Most recently he featured on Lifestyle FOOD channel’s The Best where he competed against fellow chef, Ben O’Donoghue and cook Anna Gare.
He opened the award-winning La Sala (The Room), a modern Italian restaurant, in Woollahra in 2005.
Celebrity friends and fellow chefs have paid tribute to the Northern Irishman who they described as a 'generous soul.'
So sad the hear the news the chef Darren Simpson has died.. too young and one of the best chefs.Thinking of his family xx
— Matt Moran (@chefmattmoran) June 22, 2017
R.I.P Darren Simpson you will be missed chef loved working with you.
— Adam Moore (@Chef_AdamMoore) June 22, 2017
Such sad news to hear of my former colleague Darren Simpson passing away today. RIP Dazza.
— Andrew Ballard (@andreweballard) June 22, 2017
Saddened to hear the news of Darren Simpson’s passing – he was a generous soul who will be sorely missed.
— Maggie Beer (@maggie_beer) June 23, 2017