The culinary world is in mourning today for Keith Floyd. "Keith who?," you may ask. Floyd was a legend across the pond, a true "bon viveur", and an inspiration to many of today's chefs.
The TV presenter and food personality (in the true sense of the word) died of a heart attack yesterday aged 65, a couple of months after being diagnosed with colon cancer.
His last TV appearance--a documentary in which he meets one of his heroes, actor Keith Allen--only aired last night. (Curiously, Floyd was also a huge fan of The Stranglers and indie band Carter USM).
His TV shows were haphazard and hilarious: Barely five minutes in, he'd be uncorking a bottle of the finest red (regardless of the dish he was cooking) and would then commence to knock it back, shamelessly. Viewers were hooked.
And there was controversy, too: Floyd was famously sacked from the BBC in after making a program in which ostriches were shown eating their own eggs.
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Floyd was a bona fide restaurateur, if, by his own admission, a bad business person. When one of his restaurants went under (one of many financial woes he suffered), he was quick to blame chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, claiming he "stuffed too much foie gras in the pigs' trotters."
CLICK HERE for one of many articles on the great man, including some fabulous clips (check out the haughty French woman! Methinks there's another role in the offing for Meryl Streep).
And CLICK HERE for some hearfelt tributes from Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White et al. As Antony Worrall Thompson sums it up: "I think all of us modern TV chefs owe a living to him. He kind of spawned us all."
Keith: They broke the mold when they made you. You will be sorely missed!