COLLEAGUES have been paying tribute to a gifted and popular chef who died in a road accident days after becoming a dad again.
Andy Bruce, of Snettisham, West Norfolk, was head chef at the Victoria Hotel in Holkham and previously worked at the Rose and Crown in Snettisham and the Gin Trap in Ringstead.
Andy had worked at the Victoria Hotel for about six months. Owner Viscount Coke said it was a cruel and tragic loss for Andy`s young family. "We will do all we can to help and support them," he said.
Andy had earned great respect from staff who worked alongside him and in his short time at Holkham had already made his mark.
"With his colleagues, he was kind, fair and a great teacher. By taking time with staff, he inspired them and gave them confidence in their own ability," said Viscount Coke.
He added: "We have lost a highly-valued member of the Holkham family and we will all miss him greatly."
The owner of the Rose and Crown, Anthony Goodrich, said Andy worked there for two years before moving to the Victoria Hotel in May. He and his wife Sarah had held their wedding reception at the Snettisham pub in February.
"We are absolutely devastated because he was such a good guy," said Mr Goodrich.
"We are in a state of shock but that is nothing compared to what Sarah and his family are feeling. It`s just tragic for them," said Mr Goodrich.
He also praised Andy`s cooking skills, saying: "He was a really great chef, very talented."
In 2005, Andy beat chefs from across the country to win the Food from Britain section of the annual PubChef awards. In 2006, he was a finalist in the Chef of the Year category.
He was killed †in a car crash on Friday, November 9. He leaves his wife, Sarah, and three children – Daniel, Lily and Jimmy.