Superstar chef Heston Blumenthal has pulled out of a scheduled headline appearance at a gourmet food festival in Western Australia after two of his chefs died in a Hong Kong car crash.
The chefs from Blumenthal's acclaimed Fat Duck restaurant in England were killed when a bus ploughed into their taxi, crushing it against another bus.
Blumenthal was set to be the star attraction at the four-day Margaret River Gourmet Escape festival, which commences today.
But organisers confirmed late on Wednesday that the acclaimed chef would now not be attending.
"Due to the horrific news that two of Heston Blumenthal's culinary team were tragically killed in a car accident in Hong Kong two days ago, we regret to inform you that Heston will not be attending Margaret River Gourmet Escape," they said in a statement.
"Event organisers, Brand Events, support Heston Blumenthal at this very sensitive time, our thoughts are with him and his staff.
"We send our deepest condolences to the families and colleagues of those affected."
More than 5000 people-a-day are expected to attend the festival's various events in the state's south west, with culinary superstars including Rene Redzepi, David Chang, Peter Kelly, Neil Perry and Kylie Kwong all attending.
Organisers said all planned events - including a sold-out $500-a-head dinner at Voyager Estate in honour of Mr Blumenthal - would take place as scheduled.