Birthday: 07 July 1948
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Ruth Rogers is famous for owning and running the much-lauded River Café, an Italian Michelin starred restaurant in Hammersmith, London and is a Member of the Order of the British Empire.
Ruth was born in New York and was raised in a politically active household by parents who were staunchly left wing. The family moved to Woodstock in the early 1960s and following school, Ruth – then known as Ruthie Elias – studied at Bennington College in Vermont before travelling to England to pursue Design Studies at London College of Printing.
Shortly after her studies, in 1969, Rogers met her husband to-be, architect Richard Rogers (who, most-notably, is famed for his work on the Pompidou Centre in Paris and now sits in the House of Lords). Richard was 15 years older than Ruth and married with three children at the time. Following his divorce four years later from his first wife, Richard and Ruth were married and now live in two converted townhouses in Chelsea which they converted into one home. The couple have two sons together – Roo born in 1975 and Bo, who was born in 1983 and sadly died suddenly at 27.
Having fallen in love with Italian food during a stay with her in-laws who moved to Florence, Ruth was keen to bring a taste of her trip home with her. Initially she set up the River Café with friend and business partner Rose Gray as a canteen of sorts to feed the staff of Richard’s architect firm. Richard helped design the space into a minimalist setting in an old wharf building. Renowned for its simple ingredient-led menu, the offering at River Café soon began attracting a well-heeled crowd and has since become one of the world’s most revered restaurants. Having trained top chefs such as April Bloomfield, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jamie Oliver and Theo Randall, Ruth’s generosity of spirit and love of teaching has become well known throughout the industry.
As well as continuing to run her restaurant, Ruth has also written cookbooks and presented food programmes on TV.