The “godfather” of avocado toast, Bill Granger, an acclaimed Australian chef, passed away.
Granger, a self-taught chef from Melbourne, rose to prominence as a well-known international restaurateur and food writer.
On Christmas Day, at the age of 54, he passed away in a London hospital with his wife and three daughters by his side.
“He will be remembered as the ‘King of Breakfast’, for making unpretentious food into something special filled with sunshine,” they said on Instagram.
“He will be deeply missed by all.”
His cause of death has not been made public by his family.
Granger gained a devoted following, including many of his colleagues, over the course of his 30-year career. He also published 14 cookbooks, hosted several cooking shows on television, and launched over a dozen restaurants worldwide.
A number of celebrities, including Australian actor Hugh Jackman, former Masterchef Australia judge Matt Preston, and culinary icon Jamie Oliver, paid their respects to the star, describing him as a generous, gregarious, and endearing man.
“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 and generosity and sheer, shining exuberance of his very self,” food author and TV chef Nigella Lawson wrote on Instagram.
“So devastated for his family. It’s too cruel.”
Granger began his career in 1993, after he dropped out of art school to open his first restaurant in Sydney when he was just 23 years old.
Bills – a sunny corner cafe – became renowned for simple dishes like avocado toast, ricotta pancakes with honeycomb butter, and top-quality coffee.
Its popularity exploded, and from there he opened more cafes in Japan, Korea and London with offshoot chain Granger & Co.
Australian chef Darren Robertson said Granger had “changed the entire breakfast game”, while Masterchef Australia alumnus Adam Liaw described him as “arguably [the] most influential pioneer of modern Australian food”.
“His ‘sunny’… codification of Australian cafe culture at Bills is the model on which every Australian cafe around the world is now built. Great guy, too,” Liaw wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Such was his impact that in January, Granger was recognised with the Medal of the Order of Australia – one of the country’s top honours – for his contribution to tourism and hospitality.
Speaking to the BBC in 2019, the chef reflected on the humble foundations of his breakfast empire.
“I’ve done all these extraordinary things, just from liking to cook pancakes and scrambled eggs, which is pretty amazing.”
Granger is one of the people credited with the popularity of avocado and toast.
He recommended using an avocado that had been left to ripen for two to three days, before scooping it out its skin with a tablespoon in one smooth movement. It should then be chopped into egg-shaped chunks, he said.
“Just crush it on the sourdough toast yourself, and always serve with citrus – lemon or lime – and good sea salt, and coriander for freshness,” he told the Australian Financial Review.
Granger is survived by his wife and business partner, Natalie Elliott, and his three daughters, Edie, Inès and Bunny.