Patricia Llewellyn, the influential producer who discovered Britain’s Jamie Oliver and transformed him into The Naked Chef, while also kick-starting the TV career of Gordon Ramsay, has died. The former chief of Optomen stepped down in 2016 and had been battling a long illness. She passed away over the weekend at age 55.
Llewellyn joined UK indie Optomen in 1994 and in 1996 introduced the now classic cooking show Two Fat Ladies presented by Clarissa Dickson Wright and Jennifer Paterson. In 1999, she made Oliver a star with The Naked Chef, and in 2004 Optomen produced Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares for Channel 4. Llewellyn won BAFTAs for both the UK version of Kitchen Nightmares and for The Naked Chef. She also co-founded Ramsay’s production company One Potato Two Potato in 2008.
Llewellyn took over as Managing Director at Optomen in 2005 and in 2010, both Optomen and One Potato Two Potato were acquired by All3Media in a £40M deal.
Her other credits include Ramsay’s The F Word and Hotel Hell. She was also an exec producer on the U.S. versions of Masterchef and Masterchef Junior.
Jamie Oliver remembered Llewellyn on Instagram:
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Rest in peace wonderful Patricia llewellyn…..sadly today I found out my dear friend and the Producer that discovered me 20 years ago as the Naked Chef passed away loosing her battle to Cancer….people often said in the Naked Chef who is the voice that asks you all those questions and that was dear Pat ❤️ what a loss, she was an Amazing, Kind , fun & truly wonderful woman, she had a huge impact on me and my early TV career. Without question one of the most gifted matriarchs of the TV industry. Her ability to spot talent and her timing together with oodles of creativity and sheer drive made her a real force. She will be sorely missed. Love you Pat xxxx
On its website, Optomen wrote of her passing:
Optomen’s driving force Pat Llewellyn sadly passed away this weekend.
She was an incredible human being and creatively brilliant, discovering and developing amazing talent who went on to become some of the most loved names on television.
It’s thanks to Pat that Optomen is the special place that it’s always been. Her legacy lives on within these walls, and we will continue to honour and cherish the values that she embodied. She was a pioneer, incredibly funny and kind, and knew how to live, as well as making outstanding television.
All our love and thoughts are with Ben and their family and friends.