Scott Price, 38, who runs eatery Folly in Dubai with fellow chef Nick Alvis, says he chatted with the 59-year-old chef about football and they all ate together after filming.
Price told Sky News: “He was on a busy schedule, he ate some of our food and chatted about the football because he’s a United fan, the same as me, then he left and everything was happy and good.
“He was just looking forward to seeing the TV show when it was coming out.”
Rhodes died suddenly on Tuesday night after falling ill during a break in filming on a new cookery series he was working on in Dubai.
His family say he passed away in hospital from a bleed from the brain after collapsing at his home.
Price first met Rhodes around 10 years ago during the food festival Taste of Dubai, when both he and cooking partner Alvis were working for fellow-celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.
Price explains: “Gary came down to the stall and introduced himself. We had something to eat together. I got to know him and we just kept in touch.
“He was always such a nice guy, and I’d grown up watching him on TV and reading his books. He was a hero of British cuisine and British food.”
Price says it was his ambition to work with the chef, a dream that became reality when Rhodes came to film in his restaurant for the new ITV series he was working on.
“It was so great to work with him… but then yesterday we saw the news, and it was so shocking.”
Calling him “a proper legend of the industry”, Price says it was a privilege to finally get to work with him.
Running into him at events and awards together, and sometimes eating in each other’s restaurants he says he was always “very affable, down to earth and likeable”.
Describing Rhodes as “a humble man” who put “his heart and soul into everything he did”, he credits the Michelin starred chef with putting British cuisine back on the map.
As well-known in the UAE as in the UK, Price credits him with boosting the Dubai food scene, explaining: “It’s great to see someone with his massive clout out in Dubai, because he could make things happen.
“He was such a good guy, and he’s inspired a lot of chefs over here. He’s worked with lots of my friends and many have gone on to do their own things through his support.
“He was a proper chef, if wasn’t an act. He loved what he was doing. You could tell when you were sitting and talking to him that he just loved food, and loved doing his job.”
Price, who was back in London when news of Rhodes’ death hit, describes the outpouring of love for Rhodes on social media as “surreal”.
“He was a British icon, a legend of British cuisine.
“We’ve lost an amazing chef, but the family have lost a father and a husband. It’s just really sad, and such a shock. It’s affected me a lot.”
Rhodes leaves behind his wife Jennie, and two sons George and Samuel.