September 15, 2009 / 11:27 AM / 9 years ago

Celebrity chef Keith Floyd dies aged 65

LONDON (Reuters) - Keith Floyd, one of the first and most flamboyant of Britain’s celebrity TV chefs, has died aged 65 after a heart attack.

He died at his partner’s Dorset home Monday, the BBC reported, citing the ghost-writer of his autobiography James Steen.

Floyd was diagnosed with bowel cancer in the Summer.

He shot to fame in the 1980s with his unconventional cookery shows and passion for food that endeared him to millions of viewers around the world.

With his trademark bow-tie, gravelly voice and often shambolic style he cooked on camera from bizarre locations with a ubiquitous glass of wine in hand.

Tributes flowed from Britain’s most well-known chefs many of whom credit him with having transformed the face of television cookery and paved the way for their own fame.

Marco Pierre White said Floyd “had inspired a nation to want to cook” and contemporary chefs like himself.

“He had an ability to speak to the common man without patronizing them. He spoke in a way which they understood — he inspired them,” he told Sky News.

“He had great confidence at the stove, which very few people have in an occupational kitchen today.”

Celebrity TV chef Phil Vickery told BBC television Floyd was a “breath of fresh air” and “the master” at what he did.

“He came to cooking slightly later than the rest of us, but looked at cooking with a fresh pair of eyes from the home cook’s point of view rather than the fully trained chef,” he said.

“And what he did know was about depth of flavor, about originality, about using good ingredients.”

Floyd had a chequered career. According to his website he had been an army officer, a journalist, a dishwasher, a bartender and a cook. He ran restaurants in France, Spain, Britain and Thailand.

He wrote at least 25 books, presented about 20 television series and had most recently been touring the UK with his award winning one man show “Floyd Uncorked.”

Floyd was divorced four times, which he blamed on the strain of running restaurants.

“It’s remarkable how often my marriages and my restaurants seem to go down the pan at approximately the same time,” he wrote in his autobiography.

Reporting by Stefano Ambrogi; Editing by Steve Addison

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