Egon Ronay, the world famous food critic who has died aged 94, was remembered on Saturday as the man who revolutionised British cooking
Leading chefs paid tribute to the Hungarian gastronome, describing him as a "visionary" with unparalleled influence on the restaurant industry.
Ronay died on Saturday morning at his Berkshire home, near the village of Yattendon, after a short illness. His wife Barbara and his daughters, Edina and Esther, were by his side.
He is regarded as one of the most important figures in transforming British eating habits, whose guides launched the era of restaurant reviews.
The first Egon Ronay guide was published in 1957 and in the following decades it came to be viewed as a "restaurant-goers Bible" with the potential to define whether an establishment failed or succeeded.
While his face may not have been instantly recognisable, the Egon Ronay plaque was displayed in restaurant windows across the country.
Raymond Blanc, the Michelin-starred French chef, said that Ronay had launched his career after giving him an award, which he proudly put up at Les Quat'Saisons, his first restaurant.
"He was the most powerful man in food. To receive an accolade from him was a huge deal," he said.
Mr Blanc said he had "a tremendous amount of respect" for the critic, who he last saw only a few weeks ago.
"He was a visionary. He was the very first critic.
"Great Britain had been described as the worst possible country to eat in and he challenged people's food consciousness. He's part of the revolution we're seeing today in this country with great chefs reconnecting with tradition and producing great food".
Ronay was born in Budapest to the son of a prominent restaurateur, but emigrated alone from communist Hungary after World War II and opened a French restaurant in Knightsbridge, London, called the Marquee.
He was persuaded to write a food column for the Daily Telegraph by Fanny Cradock, the television chef, who became a fan after visiting his restaurant.