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"Talented and passionate" Lancaster chef and restaurant owner dies aged 44

Gavin Riley

A Lancaster chef and restaurant owner described as "one of the hospitality industry's finest" has died aged 44.

Gavin Riley passed away on Wednesday after a short battle with cancer.

Gavin was the owner and head chef of The Secret Bistro restaurant on Sun Street in Lancaster.

Originally from Yorkshire, Gavin was very well-known as a chef in the local area and renowned for the quality of his food.

He opened The Secret Bistro at the Palatine pub in Morecambe in 2020 before moving to the Lancaster location in 2021.

During his career he also worked at other local venues including the Crown Hotel and the Lothersdale Hotel in Morecambe, and the Wagon and Horses and the Water Witch in Lancaster.

The Secret Bistro Facebook page posted a tribute to Gavin.

"It is with a sad and heavy heart that we unfortunately have to share, that our head chef and owner, Gavin Riley has tragically passed away on the 9th November.

"We all at the Secret Bistro are truly saddened by his passing and are dealing with it in the best way we know how.

"We will remain open, honouring his legacy and doing the best to keep his dream, his restaurant alive.

"We wish all we can and have to his family, as we say an incredibly hard, sad and unexpected farewell to a boss, a head chef, mentor and a dear friend.

"He will be forever and severely missed for his work, his banter (his personality in general) and his very distinct way of describing things.

"We ask that everyone could please be respectful to his family at this incredibly difficult time.

"Rest well Chief, we've got this."

The team at the George and Dragon pub in Lancaster also paid tribute to Gavin, calling him "one of the hospitality industry's finest".

In a statement on the pub's Facebook page, they said he was "an extremely talented and passionate chef, who achieved his goal of owning his own restaurant in Lancaster, the Secret Bistro".

"The hospitality industry will miss your talents.

"Team G&D's thoughts go out to the friends and family of Gavin."

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