Keith Floyd, the industry's much loved seafood champion, the man who put passion and fun into cooking on TV and the first chef to make a significant difference to the eating experience of millions in the UK with his enthusiasm and willingness to get involved with fishermen, has died today. With his pioneering 1984 TV series Floyd on Fish, he created a style of cookery television that is still with us today, informed, educated, fun, insouciant, entertaining, occasionally irreverent or even intoxicated, oft copied but never emulated. The original series bore his name and showcased the man's enthusiasm for fish and fishermen where, instead of dryly cooking in a studio TV kitchen, he could be seen battling with the elements to cook fish fresh from the trawl aboard a boat or fending off the unwanted attentions of marauding gulls on the quayside. The programme's innovative delivery style involved an intimate intercourse with the film crew as he beckoned to the cameraman to zoom into a sizzling hot pan interspersed with his customary, 'one for the pan and a quick slurp for the chef' addition of a preferred red or white wine. His unbounded enthusiasm to promote fish from the shores of the UK and beyond saw a change in eating habits - the population at large discovered that breaded scampi were, in fact, small lobster-like creatures and infinitely more enjoyable when cooked whole with some aioli and a squeeze of lemon.Luckily for us, his maverick ways became part and parcel of each successive TV series, and, as a result, the man has seen many celebrity chefs follow in his footsteps, the most notable for Cornwall being being Rick Stein - the Floyd legacy lives on - it will be worth watching Saturday Kitchen on BBC1 this weekend as the chef presenter James Martin is a huge Floyd fan.
With the sort of ironic twist that Floyd would undoubtedly appreciated, you can catch last night's programme with Keith Allen on Channel 4 who admits to being hugely influenced by Floyd's TV style an intimate documentary portrait of the chef. Floyd, the bon viveur, talks easily until the arrival of his daughter, whom he hasn't seen for 10 years.
Here follows one person's recollection of the great man on watching an episode from 'Floyd's Fjiord Adventures':
"I suppose I should rephrase this but this is an email I sent to friends back in the UK (I'm in Singapore and saw him on some strange late night channel) after the topic of food cropped up.....
"On the topic of food...... I've just had the joy of watching Keith Floyd.
And it is joy
Compared to the poe faced Heston Blumenthal or ranting Ramsey watching 'Floyd's Fjord Adventures' is a orgy of pleasures. I caught the end of the episode where he's cooking at a Swedish crayfish festival. A barely coherent Keith has clearly been enjoying himself already so cooks an enormous pot of crayfish so endangered you can only catch them one day a year. The stock - probably similar in composition to Keith's own blood stream - is beer and a litre of aquavit. Each bottle is just chucked away into the darkness off camera as the even drunker Swedes sing songs behind him. Adding the live crayfish to the stock Keith has some words of comfort for those concerns about animal welfare, "For those who don't understand why the crayfish have to be live.... tough. It's just the way it is" At the end the delicious looking crayfish are put on a serving plate with about a pound of butter (James martin would love that) plonked on the top.
Rather superfluously Keith's voice adds at the end "Think I might go off and join them for slurp of something now". And to help your mental image, Keith has done all of this wearing a yellow fez!
A true TV legend"