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Tate Modern chef died 'after working 27 days on the trot'

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: March 25, 2010

<P>Parents Kevin and Tracey Laity mourn the death of their son Nathan at their home in Penryn. He died on Mother's Day after suffering from tonsillitis.  1003TW04102Nathan</P>

Parents Kevin and Tracey Laity mourn the death of their son Nathan at their home in Penryn. He died on Mother's Day after suffering from tonsillitis. 1003TW04102Nathan

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A DEVASTATED family is struggling to come to terms with the death of a promising 23-year-old chef who died in his sleep on Mother's Day after suffering from tonsillitis.

Nathan Laity was a seemingly healthy young man, living his dream in London.

Struck down by tonsillitis, Nathan had continued to work long hours and eventually succumbed to the infection. He died on Mother's Day.

"He had just done 27 days on the trot, working 14 hour days," claimed his mum Tracey, who is warning other young people not to ignore their health.

"He got so run down that his immune system could not cope. He may not have had the tonsillitis for a long time, it was a recurring thing from childhood.

"His body just switched off. He just went to sleep and never woke up. It is very hard to accept. I had only spoken to him on the Saturday afternoon and I had flowers for Mother's Day.

"But, I knew. I had tried ringing him and I just knew when he didn't answer that something was wrong. It was awful. I just urge all young people to keep on top of health checks."

The family, including dad Kevin and sisters Rachael and Emily, are still coming to terms with Nathan's death.

Mrs Laity, a catering manager and cook at Penryn Infants' School, said: "He had crammed so much into his life, which is the one thing I am hanging on to. He was a talented chef, there are no two ways about it."

Nathan had been working as a sous chef at the Tate Modern in London since January 2008.

A former pupil at Flushing School and Penryn College, he had started his career at a young age helping in the kitchens of the Royal Standard in Flushing.

He also used to help his mother at the Quay Restaurant.

She added: "You could tell then that he had a flair and a potential for food, even at that young age," she said.

Nathan's funeral service is to be held at Penryn Methodist Chapel at 2pm today.

It will be followed by private interment at Mylor Cemetery, but friends are invited to a wake at Castaways at Mylor Yacht Harbour following the service.

The retiring collection will be split between the Children's Hospice South West and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

● See Page 7 for more tributes to Nathan.

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    Veritee, Cornwall, UK  |  March 27 2010, 9:36AM

    These sorts of jobs seem to employ young people from abroad or from places like Cornwall where young chefs can often only get seasonal work knowing they can push them to hard and they will take it as i is so iportant to them. But with all the will in the world and even a young person who is a hard worker sometimes/often they push too hard. They think that being young they can stand this punishment to their bodies, but in fact young peoples immunity in their early 20s is not as yet as developed as it will eventually be and nor is their stamina. But anyway no one should be worked this hard and kitchens are hot and hard - I know I worked s a chef myself in London when I was in my 20s but thankfully my employees then were not trying to get blood from me as restaurants seem to want now, just a reasonable days work. Again I am so sorry

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    Veritee Reed Hall, Cornwall, UK  |  March 27 2010, 9:32AM

    I wanted to offer my condolences to Nathans family, They work young chefs far too hard and too long hours. I have reason myself to knwo that. My own daughter trained as a chef at Cornwall College and last year at 20 was so pleased to get a job in a large London hotel, Claridge's, as a commie chef. She was so pleased as it was such a chance for someone of 20 and on a reasonable wage for one so young. But they wanted too much for it. She is very hard working but a small woman and she was working 15 + hours a day often until 3 in the morning without even a taxi back to her digs - she had to take the night bus - or starting at 6.30 in the morning and she had to leave her digs before 5 to get there - and often 10 or more days on the trot. She is a hard worker but this broke down her health, but despite being unwell she only had 1 day off for sickness as it was just not acceptable and she wanted the job so badly. She was also in addition never praised and shouted at endlessly. She is a good chef and dispute her age had worked in kitchens in Cornwall since 14 at first part tme and then full time - she only trained part time on a fast track course while working - so knew that you are often shouted at and the hours were long but this was over the top. She managed a full year which ended just before last Christmas. One day she collapsed due to exhaustion and rang us and we got her home. It took her months for her health to recover. So I honestly believe this could have been my daughter too and I am just so sorry. I know this comment seems more about my child than your but it is not meant this way , I just wanted to explain why I am s sad to hear of this

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