Openly Out “Ready Steady Cook” star Ross Burden has died after losing his battle with cancer at the age of 45 years old. Ross Kelvin Burden, born at 16 December 1968 in Napier, New Zealand was a celebrity chef from New Zealand. His early career was as a model and he became a chef later in life inspired by the time spent cooking with his grandmother. Burden’s television career began after reaching the final of the BBC series MasterChef 1993. He was also a regular on the program Ready Steady Cook for at least eight years, filmed a healthy-eating video with Joan Collins, and made at least five series for Taste.
He published at least two books and wrote columns for two magazines. In May 2006, he appeared on The X Factor: Battle of the Stars along with fellow chefs Jean-Christophe Novelli, Aldo Zilli and Paul Rankin. In 2010, Burden judged the first season of MasterChef New Zealand with Simon Gault and Ray McVinnie.
The MasterChef finalist died in a hospital in Auckland in July 2014. His sister Kirsten Hughes told the New Zealand Herald that Burden caught an infection during a bone marrow transplant operation. Hughes said: “He’s just a friendly, compassionate guy – nothing was too much trouble. He was my big, fantastic incredible, larger-than-life brother. Right up until probably a week-and-a-half ago, he was making his next lot of plans. He had the world map out.”
Burden became a hit with audiences in the UK thanks to his good looks, likeable personality and talent in the kitchen. An amateur chef, he made it through to the finals of MasterChef in 1993, although he didn’t win. It didn’t seem to matter though, as the New Zealander’s profile quickly rose and he began landing many gigs including appearances on Ready Steady Cook, a show he was involved with for a decade. In 2010 he left the UK to return to New Zealand where he became a judge on the local version of MasterChef.
Masterchef NZ Masterclass Riceandeasy with Ross Burden:
After returning to his home country he also worked as a waiter at Auckland restaurant Sails, telling the New Zealand Herald at the time that he wanted to research the food scene after living abroad for almost two decades. He was an early champion of the importance of using seasonal produce in recipes and his love of nature led him to become a passionate supporter of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature.