Simpson then made a name in Australia's hospitality industry as head chef of Aqua Luna Bar and Restaurant, with critic Terry Durack saying "Darren changed the look and feel of our contemporary Italian menus nearly overnight".
Irish born celebrity chef Darren Simpson has passed away in Australia at the age of 48.
Just two years after landing his first job, he was named the UK's Young Chef of the year at the age of 21 - the youngest-ever victor of the prestigious prize.
Australian chef Adam Moore said: "R.I.P Darren Simpson you will be missed chef loved working with you".
Irish-born Simpson, who featured on the television program Ready, Steady Cook, died near his home in Byron Bay in northern NSW on Thursday afternoon, Seven Network reported on Friday.
Simpson's cause of death has not been confirmed, but a number of media outlets are reporting his death is related to a long battle with alcohol addiction.
Australia's LifeStyle Channel in August planned to broadcast a second series starring Simpson of "The Best in Australia", based on the BBC series "The Best".
The series producer Marian Bartsch, of Margo Films, described Simpson as "a bright spark full of all that life had to offer and a razor sharp wit to match".
In 1999, he was headhunted to become the Head Chef of Aqua Luna Bar and Restaurant at Sydney's East Circular Quay, receiving rave reviews for his "dynamic" and "big-flavoured" menus.
"I had tried to get in touch with him for awhile", he said in the post, adding that the pair had "good times in London Town" when they worked together at Michelin-starred Italian restaurant The River Cafe.
Darren Simpson started his career in Belfast, and was the youngest ever chef to be named Britain's Young Chef of the Year. He had recently worked at restaurants in Queensland state.
Simpson is survived by his sons, 14-year-old Angus and 12-year-old Hamish.