Mark Thatcher, the former executive chef of the House of Lords, has died after a short illness.
News of Thatcher’s passing earlier this week was revealed by David Dorricott, Thatcher’s friend and colleague, who worked as executive chef of the House of Commons.
The pair went on to work together for hospitality business network i-Chef, where Thatcher was new business development manager and ambassador.
Paying tribute, Dorricott, founder of i-Chef, said: “When we were working at the House of Commons and the House of Lords we used to swap food products when one ran out and the other needed things.
“We swapped everything from food to glasses (or bottles) of Champagne later in the day.
“He was simply a gentleman and a very good friend.”
Chef also added his tribute to Thatcher, saying: “He was a really good, honest workman and a skilled craftsman who enthused young people into coming into the industry.
“He was a great competition man, very proud of his craft skills but who didn’t go shouting about it all the time.
“He was a good, sensible workman who will be sadly missed.”
Thatcher started his catering career as an apprentice chef for the Grand Metropolitan Hotel Group in May 1973, working at Slatters hotel in Canterbury, Kent.
After finishing his apprenticeship in 1976, he was promoted to chef de partie at Slatters and in January 1977 transferred to the Penta hotel on Cromwell Road in London as senior chef de partie.
Thatcher was promoted to junior sous chef in April of the same year before becoming Grand Met’s youngest head chef when he transferred back to Slatters in August 1977, aged just 22.
He left Grand Met in 1980 and went on to become head chef of the Kings Head hotel, Wateringbury, Maidstone.
In June 1981 he became head chef at Ye Maydes restaurant, Biddenden, Kent, where he won AA rosettes for three consecutive years.
In June 1983, he joined the House of Lords’ refreshment department as sous chef, looking after both the peers’ dining rooms and banqueting.
In March 1986, he was promoted to head chef and in 1987 he opened the Barry Room à la carte restaurant.
Thatcher became executive head chef in 1990 and in 1997 opened the Reid Room, Home Room and Attlee Room, further increasing the facilities available to the peers
From 2004 to 2006, he was involved in the £15m refurbishment of House of Lords’ catering facilities.
After 32 years’ service, Thatcher left the House of Lords in August 2014, describing his time there as “interesting and challenging”, with the highlight being involved in the Queen’s 50th wedding anniversary dinner hosted by the Privy Council in the Royal Gallery in November 1997.
Thatcher was a founder member of the League of Club Chefs, and later went on to become its chairman and vice president.