EGON RONAY d2010. Hungarian-born food critic who wrote and published a famous series of guides to British & Irish restaurants and hotels during the 1950s and 1960s. These guidebooks are credited with raising the quality of British cuisine offered in public eating places. He also championed foreign cuisine for British diners. He emigrated to London alone on 10th October 1946. His father's contacts arranged for him to manage Princes restaurant in Piccadilly and then the Carousel Club in St James's. He then borrowed £4,000 and took over the 39-seat Marquee (a former tea-room near Harrods) putting classic French dishes on the menu which was unusual for post-war UK. The renowned TV chef Fanny Craddock visited with her husband (Johnny) and subsequently Egon Ronay built up useful contacts with the press. After much cajoling, he began to write a food column for The Daily Telegraph. In 1957, he completed the first edition of the Egon Ronay Guide selling 30,000 copies. The guides gained in popularity and it became a mark of distinction to be mentioned in the books. Many restaurants proudly displayed blue roundels in their window saying "EGON RONAY'S GUIDES" for each year they were listed. The guides made a point of not accepting advertising or hospitality from hotels and restaurants to ensure their impartiality. He sold the rights to his books to the AA in 1985. However, after subsequent owner Leading Guides International went into bankruptsy in 1997, he went to court to claim back the guides which bore his name. He died aged 94 in Berkshire on 12th June 2010.
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