Celebrity chef dies in car crash in North


One of Northern Ireland most celebrated chefs, Robbie Millar died in a road accident at the weekend.

The owner of Michelin-starred Shanks restaurant in Bangor, Co Down, was killed when the Maserati sports car he was driving left the road, not far from the restaurant at about 2.50am on Saturday.

The PSNI said yesterday they were hoping to make contact with the driver of a silver Mercedes coupe car which was seen on the road at the time. They stressed the driver of this car was not thought to be involved in the accident.

A native of Hollywood, Co Down, Mr Millar opened the critically acclaimed Shanks restaurant in 1994, which he ran with his wife, Shirley.

A spokeswoman for the business said yesterday that Mrs Millar and her staff would not be making any comment on the tragedy. She said the restaurant would remain closed for at least a week.

Mr Millar is survived by his wife and three children, Theo, Sasha and Tara Rose.

Fellow Northern Irish chef Michael Deane, owner of the famous Deane's restaurant in central Belfast, said he was stunned by the death.

"I don't know what to say, such a talent, not just a cook but a restaurateur, a good father and a good husband - a guy with loads of charisma."

"I remember when Robbie came back to Northern Ireland trying to get a job - I was at Belfast Castle - and I spent a lot of time with him and talking with him."

After leaving catering college in Northern Ireland, Millar won a one-year scholarship to a Swiss hotel. Following a later stint in Greece, he took jobs at a number of London hotels.

In the early 1990s Millar returned to Belfast to work for Paul Rankin at his new Roscoff restaurant. He was subsequently invited by Lady Dufferin of the Clandeboye Estate to open his first restaurant in the grounds of the Blackwood golf club.

It was named 'Egon Ronay Newcomer restaurant of the year' in 1995 and it won its Michelin star in 1996.

Shanks is known for its modern European cuisine using local produce, including fresh venison from the surrounding estate's deer herd. Mick Jagger, Jerry Hall and Brian Kennedy have all frequented the premises, which were designed by Terence Conran.