'90s ABC TV Host Dead at 79: Friends Confirm Death of Ian Parmenter

The chef joined ABC Perth in 1974, going on to host 'Consuming Passions' from 1992 until 2001.

Beloved Australian chef and TV personality Ian Parmenter has died. Close friends of the culinary star, best known for hosting Consuming Passions on Australia's ABC TV, confirmed to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Monday that Parmenter passed away over the weekend at the age of 79. A cause of death was not disclosed.

Born in London in 1945, Parmenter worked as a journalist in Fleet Street, London before moving to Australia in 1971. After working in advertising, he joined ABC Perth in 1974, initially working in a number of behind-the-scenes roles and rising through the ranks as a television producer and director before ultimately landing the role that he would be most remembered for: the host of the ABC TV's Consuming Passions.

Celebrity chef Ian Parmenter, 22 June 1996. THE AGE Picture by ROBERT BANKS
(Photo: Fairfax Media via Getty Images/Fairfax Media via Getty Images via Getty Images)

Originally filmed at Parmenter's home in Fremantle before Parmenter purchased a small cottage near Margaret River, where he said he developed most of the recipes for the show, the series saw Parmenter bringing delicious recipes directly into homes via the screen. He ultimately hosted 450 five-minute episodes of the show between 1992 and 2001. A massive hit, the show was broadcast to 19 other countries around the world.

After the series' conclusion, Parmenter continued his relationship with ABC, writing several successful cookbooks and attending numerous food events. Verity James, a former ABC journalist and broadcaster, told Michael Tetlow on ABC Perth that while Parmenter was born for the camera, "he could also be incredibly introspective. [He was] so thoughtful and so compassionate."

Despite becoming known as one of Australia's best known celebrity chefs, Parmenter was not a trained chef, instead learning to cook by experimenting in the kitchen at home, per 7 News. In 2011, he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to the food and tourism industries as an event director, author, journalist, and broadcaster.

Paying tribute to Parmenter, one person wrote on X (formerly Twitter), "saddened by the passing of Ian Parmenter. Loved his zest for life, food and epic recipes. Much love to his friends and family." Margaret River local Susie Ormonde said, "I think he had many sides to him... He love connection people, an ambassador for the region... an incredible bloke." Meanwhile, Toujours France French Travel Specialists remembered Parmenter in a Facebook tribute as "a larger-than-life character" who "was a great raconteur and host who lived his life to the fullest.... I don't have a memory of him that isn't filled with fun and laughter."