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Chefs remember Keith Floyd
1:53pm Tuesday 15th September 2009 in News
The cooking world has lined up to pay tribute to TV chef Keith Floyd after his death from a heart attack.
Floyd, who lived in Faringdon and East Hagbourne for a time, revealed in July that he was battling against bowel cancer. He died at his partner's home in Dorset, his ghost writer James Steen said.
The 65-year-old's television shows made him a household name and he wrote more than 20 books.
His latest autobiography, Stirred But Not Shaken, in which he describes his battles with the bottle, is due to be published next month. Co-author Mr Steen said: "Writing the book was amazing, it was like a dream come true.
"For an autobiography, you have to be introspective and he found that difficult to start with, but yesterday when I spoke to him he was a really happy man. He was very excited about it. The experience for him was therapeutic."
Floyd was difficult to work with at times but Mr Steen said this was partly due to his illness.
"He had cancer and no one knew it. There were times when it was difficult because he was already in a lot of pain and he was taking painkillers and drinking on top of that.
"But he wasn't like that all the time, he had curbed the drinking. He was a very generous man, he was very kind and extremely sharp and witty. He knew how to eat well and he was able to convey that. He was a genius at what he did."
Born in Somerset, after leaving Wellington School Floyd began his professional life as a journalist in Bristol. He honed his skills as a cook after joining the army, trying out his dishes in his officers' mess, and broke into television while running a restaurant in Bristol.
The result was his first programme, which led to a BBC offer of a seven-part series called Floyd On Fish. From there his career took off, with numerous television series, some of which were screened around the world.
Antony Worrall Thompson said: "I worked with him a lot and I was a good friend of his. I think all of us modern TV chefs owe a living to him. He kind of spawned us all. He turned cookery shows into entertainment.
"He lived life to the full and didn't care what people thought about him. He was a good British gent with a very posh accent but he crossed all parts of society - no one thought he was a prat."
Channel 4 star Jamie Oliver said Floyd was the premier TV chef and a huge influence on other kitchen gurus.
He said: "Keith was not just one of the best, he was the best television chef. An incredible man who lived life to the full and an inspiration to me and to so many others."
Gordon Ramsay said: "Keith Floyd was a true original. A natural performer and a superb cook. He broke new ground with his programmes and his contribution to television cookery was immense."
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