TV chef Keith Floyd, who shot to fame in the 1980s after he began fronting a number of TV shows with his iconic glass of red wine in hand, has died aged 65.
TV chef Keith Floyd, whose booze-fuelled shows made him a household name, has died, his ghost-writer James Steen said. Floyd, 65, who revealed in July that he was battling bowel cancer, died of a heart attack at his partner’s home in Dorset, Mr Steen said. He honed his skills as a cook after joining the army, trying out his dishes in his officers’ mess. After leaving the forces, Floyd worked in London and France as a barman, dish-washer and vegetable peeler as well as undertaking many other kitchen duties. He also owned three restaurants in Bristol, in one of which he had his big break after meeting a TV producer.
The result was his first programme, which led to a BBC offer of a seven-part series called Floyd On Fish. He shot to fame in the 1980s, after he began fronting a number of TV shows with his iconic glass of red wine in hand. From there his career took off, with numerous television series, some of which were screened around the world.
He also wrote more than 20 books, many of which went straight into the best-seller lists. His latest autobiography Stirred But Not Shaken, in which he described his battles with the bottle, is due to be published next month. Floyd was the original “bad-boy” cook and one of the first ever TV celebrity chefs – a forerunner to the likes of Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver.
Jamie Oliver said Floyd was the premier TV chef and a huge influence on other kitchen gurus. “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.”
Nigel Slater said Floyd’s broadcasts were a “joy to watch”. But Floyd had a rocky personal life. He was married and divorced four times and in 1996 was declared bankrupt. He also battled with alcoholism through his life. In December 2007, Floyd looked back at his life and said: “There is Keith, who is just a cook and doesn’t want to be famous.
“Then there is this other person, ‘Floyd’ or ‘Floydie’. He is universally popular. People are so obsessed with Floydie that Keith can never lead a quiet life.”