Vale – William (Bill) Granger OAM
The Mentone Grammar community is greatly saddened by the loss of Bill Granger who passed away peacefully on Monday 25 December 2023 in his adopted home of London.
Loving husband of Natalie and loved father of their three daughters Edie, Inès and Bunny. Son of William (Class of 1963) and Patricia, and brother of Steven (Class of 1989).
Bill commenced at Mentone Grammar in preschool in 1973, following in the footsteps of his father William (Bill), and was later joined by his younger brother Steven.
After school, Bill briefly pursued architectural studies at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), but a passion for food saw him soon move to Sydney where he began his career in hospitality. Like many university students, Bill first worked in the food industry to make some extra money. It was during his second year of study at the College of Fine Art at the University of New South Wales (COFA) that he took a job working and waiting tables at a restaurant called La Passion du Fruit. The owner, Chrissie Juillet, liked the way he cooked, and he started renting the space from her to do his own dinner service three times a week, before leaving to set up his own place.
Not many 24-year-olds would have the confidence to start their own restaurant, but Bill said that “the idea of having a shop wasn’t so daunting” because his father and grandfather had always had butcher’s shops (and in the early days, he would send all the accounting home for his dad to do!). He set up his first café with not much more than a four-burner gas hob, a fridge and a coffee machine. The fact that he specialised in creating breakfast menus was a pragmatic decision, because initially he was only allowed to open from 7am to 4pm.
Together with his wife Natalie, they built a highly successful business that has 19 restaurants across Sydney, London, Greater Tokyo, Osaka, Fukuoka and Seoul. Bill authored 14 cookbooks, was a regular food columnist for The Independent on Sunday from 2011 – 2015, and he made numerous appearances on radio and TV series including Bill’s Food, Bill’s Holiday, Bill’s Kitchen: Notting Hill – set in his first London restaurant in Westbourne Grove – and Bill’s Tasty Weekends. In 2023, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to the tourism and hospitality sector.
Bill’s passing marks the end of a culinary era, but his legacy lives on through the flavours he introduced to the world and the countless individuals he inspired as the ‘King of Breakfast’. Bill may have left this world, but his influence on the culinary world will continue to resonate for generations to come.
Labore et Honore
(29 August 1969 – 25 December 2023)