Industry figures have paid tribute to Keith Floyd, the legendary restaurateur, TV chef and bon viveur, who has died aged 65.
Floyd died at his partner’s home in Dorset following a heart attack last night, according to the BBC. He had been diagnosed with bowel cancer in June.
The celebrity chef shot to fame in the 1980s with his flamboyant presenting style and his love of red wine and gutsy food. He began his media career as a radio chef on Radio West, an independent commercial radio station in Bristol, before being offered a role as a presenter on the BBC.
Floyd went on to author 32 cookery books and present 18 television series, endearing him to audiences across the world. The latest, Keith meets Keith, where actor and documentary-maker Keith Allen tracked down Floyd for a one-to-one interview, was televised last night on Channel 4.
He was married four times, all of which ended in divorce, and leaves a daughter Poppy and a son Patrick.
Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White told Caterersearch that a little piece of Britain has died with Floyd that can never be replaced.
“Keith was one of the best loved and most influential chefs in Britain and no one could express themselves on television as articulately as he could,” he said.
“Originality is only original if you are the first – and Keith was the first to do what he did. He paved the way for TV chefs like Jamie Oliver, Gary Rhodes and James Martin. He was an exceptional human being, and will be greatly missed. I’d like to think every hotel with a flagpole will fly its flag at half mast today to show respect for the great man.”
Heston Blumenthal, chef patron of the three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, added: “I don’t know how he got away with what he did. I remember him cooking ostrich in an ostrich farm and then feeding ostrich stew to the other ostriches.
“Another time he cooked fish in a salt crust, and admitted ‘I mullahed that fish!’. He redefined cooking programmes, and he was great fun to watch.”
TV chef and the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen presenter James Martin said he first met Floyd when he was 16 and grew up watching his programmes. “We still play his programes on Saturday Kitchen and although they’re 20 years old, they’re still as exciting and cutting edge as ever,” he said.
“He was one of the first TV chefs who took cooking from behind the counter and to the masses and made it exciting. He was just a legend, he’ll be sorely missed.”
By Kerstin Kühn
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Published by: The Caterer