Image by Katiya Rhode-Singh via FlickrI'm raising a glass (A Fat Expat Martini as you ask) as we speak, in memory of Keith Floyd. His cookery programs inspired many a would-be cook to give it a go, making light of disaster (courting it, in fact, with his ever-present glass in hand) and bringing a casual, light-hearted and generally devil-may-care approach to cookery that was in delightful counterpoint to the stuffy and rule-bound types that preceded him.
Floyd was an early influence for me as a cooker of things - and I loved him all the more for having provided space for a young Hugh Cornwell to play guitar at his restaurant, the reason why Floyd's programs intro'd to The Stranglers' music: he was a fan.
Floyd made food fun, made it an adventure and was eccentric, slapdash and earnest in equal measure. He cared about food, but in a way that made cookery fun to try, accessible and an adventure. I suppose he must be part of the reason why we have Jamie Olivers and Nigel Slaters, presenters and writers who are free to let people just have a go rather than get all Cordon Bleu about food. And I always think of him as being a little bit similar to Rick Stein, a man for whom I have enormous regard as a cookery writer and presenter.
I'm sad he's gone, but raising a glass seemed the right way to say 'bye...