Jeremy Strode, executive chef of Sydney's Bistrode CBD, dies

Jeremy Strode in 2013.
Jeremy Strode in 2013. Photo: Edwina Pickles

Executive chef of Bistrode CBD, Jeremy Strode, has died.

The news that Strode, 53, is believed to have ended his life on Monday was confirmed by a representative of Merivale.

Strode, a chef's chef, spent 27 years working at the pass and inspired generations of young cooks.

Jeremy Strode, the renowned hatted chef at Bistrode CBD in Sydney, ended his own life.
Jeremy Strode, the renowned hatted chef at Bistrode CBD in Sydney, ended his own life.  Photo: Louise Kennerley

Strode, who started his career at 14 washing dishes in rural England, worked for some of the world's greatest chefs, including Michel Roux at the Waterside Inn and Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire, before moving to Melbourne in 1992. 

He was head chef at the George Hotel in St Kilda with the visionary Donlevy Fitzpatrick, and at the Adelphi before opening his own restaurant, Pomme, in South Yarra, with Christopher Young in 1998. When Pomme closed, he took over the kitchen at Langton's in 2000.

After moving to Sydney in 2002 to work at MG Garage, Strode then opened Bistrode in 2005 in a century-old butcher's shop in Surry Hills with his pastry chef wife Jane Strode in 2005, winning a chef's hat award in The Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide 2007 – and has received a chef's hat in every Good Food Guide since.

Strode in 2002, during his MG Garage days.
Strode in 2002, during his MG Garage days. Photo: Quentin Jones

During that time, the couple also contributed recipes to Good Food and published two cookbooks together, Two's Cooking and Bistrode: Great Food from Sydney's Iconic Restaurant.

"Jeremy leaves an enormous hole in the dining cultures of both Melbourne and Sydney," says The Sydney Morning Herald's chief restaurant critic, Terry Durack.

"His approach was so uncompromising, his influence went deeper and lasted longer than most chefs of his generation. He really knew how to cook, and what things should taste like – he could get flavour out of a single stalk of parsley. It was a very pure, simple approach that came from both his British background, his high-level French training and his love of living in Australia. Too soon, too sad, but a life and work to be greatly celebrated."

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After seven years of hats and awards, the Strodes shut up shop in Surry Hills and moved into the CBD, opening Bistrode CBD with the Merivale hospitality group, along with his second Merivale venture, the Fish Shop.

In 2015 he was involved with a dinner to raise money and awareness for R U OK?, a charity targeting depression and suicide. 

​Justin Hemmes, chief executive of Merivale, said Strode was a kind and quietly thoughtful man. "He was a friend and mentor to many at Merivale, always so generous in sharing his exceptional talent. We have been very lucky to have been part of Jeremy's life for many years and we are all going to feel his loss enormously. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are of course with Jane, his wife and partner, and their boys. Jeremy was my friend. I wish I had the words to express the loss. I am heartbroken". 

Jeremy Strode is survived by his wife and fellow chef Jane Strode, their two children, and son Max, from a previous marriage. The Strode family have asked that their privacy be respected at this time. Instead of flowers, the family asks for donations to be made to R U OK?.

Support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800; beyondblue 1300 224 636.