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Latvia mourns loss of Celebrity Chef & Cultural icon Martins Ritins to COVID 

Written by Aksel Ritenis

Latvia mourns loss of Celebrity Chef & Cultural icon Mārtiņš Rītiņš to COVID 


In Memoriam

(19 October 1949 – 11 February 2022)

By Axel Ritenis  

Publisher of  Connoisseur Magazine “For the Finer Things in Life” and  Editor of The Sydney Times-News, Lifestyle & Hyperlocal Community News 


Chef,businessman and unofficial cultural ambassador Mārtiņš Rītiņš died at the age of 72, (19 October 1949 – 11 February 2022)  losing a fight against Covid-19 .Rītiņš was admitted to  the ICU of Stradiņš Hospital before Christmas last year after being diagnosed with Covid-19. Whilst his  health improved in the middle of January giving some hope to relatives,. His  condition deteriorated a few days later. And he was in an induced coma for several weeks and  passed away on the 11 February.  Interestingly the chef had been vaccinated and received a Booster but it is believed that he had some underlying medical conditions.  

Ironically on December 1 last year, he organized a presentation for his  autobiographical  book  – “De Profundis” which was written by a close family friend Linda Apse, which revealed hitherto unknown details about the life and personality of the legendary chef and communicator including, about the tragic loss of a male partner in earlier years and revelation of a past history of alcoholism. 

Rītiņš had been running the legendary restaurant “Vincents” since 1994, and was the initiator of the “slow food” movement in Latvia.  Rītiņš was born on October 19, 1949 in Cheshire, England. From 1984 to 1992, he lived and worked in Toronto, Canada, but in 1993 he came to the homeland of his ancestors, where in addition to working for Vincents, he also starred in TV culinary shows, gaining the affection of the populace.  Mārtiņš Rītiņš was a British-born Latvian who grew up in the industrial town of Corby, before moving to London to become a chef. 

In 1971, he graduated from the Westminster Technical University in London. From the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, he worked at various catering establishments including  the Grand Metropolitan Hotels. From 1984 to 1992, he was the owner of Toronto’s Martins Catering Ltd. before  moving  to Latvia. In 1994 M. Rītiņš became the director and chef of the restaurant “Vincents” and starred in  the Latvian Food television program (Kas var but labaks par to?)“What Could  Be Better Than This?.

In 2007, he was awarded the Latvian Order of the Three Stars for his “services to Gastronomy and Culinary education in Latvia”

Mārtiņš attending an Italian Trade event in Riga with the Italian Trade Commissioner

When Mārtiņš Rītiņš , the director of  Restaurant Vincents, unexpectedly retired from the restaurant, on 1 July 2017, the restaurant’s management was  taken over by the European champion sommelier Raimonds Tomsons, with whom Rītiņš has been working since 2000.

At the time he stated:  

About the author

Aksel Ritenis

Axel is the Editor and Publisher of Connoisseur Magazine "for the Finer Things in Life" and has been the custodian of the magazine for over 10 years and leader of a team of freelance Journalists and Community Members who continue to make it all happen!-Join the Team at Connoisseur Magazine!

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