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How To Make Keith Floyd’s Last Supper

by | 16th, September 2009

55678562KEITH Floyd, TV chef and bon vivant, has died and the tributes pour in to man being shaped by media.

The Independent leads with “KEITH FLOYD’S LAST LUNCH”. The Express also has news of this “amazing last lunch”. And the Mail gives the game away with a front-page menu of oysters, porridge and champagne.

The impression is of Floyd embracing life to the last, facing death not with an oxygen mask and tube but a massive blow out. The Times even creates legendary last words:

Keith Floyd’s last words (after champagne and oysters): ‘I’ve not felt this well for ages’

The Sun picks up on the theme and the Floyd vernacular by announcing:

“Hell-raising chef drops dead.”

And Floyd’s death was not without a wry humour, as the story goes in the Telegraph:

Keith Floyd died hours after lunch to celebrate cancer all-clear

After the lunch he returned to his partner’s Dorset home and excitedly told friends on the telephone that he had not felt so well for years. Floyd, a forerunner of television chefs Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, had settled down on the sofa to watch a Channel 4 documentary about his 25 years in the public eye when he suffered the heart attack and lost consciousness.

The worthy Oliver and vain Ramsay make us miss Floyd all the more. But the dying man slumped on the sofa is not in keeping with the legend being created or of the man, a modern Confessions of a Flesh-Eater. So we get this:

Floyd, in his trademark bow tie, and Mrs Martin had gone to Hix Oyster and Fish House in Lyme Regis run by fellow celebrity chef Mark Hix. The £120 lunch was to be his last meal. Lunch included Champagne with a cherry soaked in apple eau de vie, £11.50, a glass of Pouilly Vinzelles 2006 Burgundy, £49 a bottle, Oysters with potted shrimp and toast, £12.70, two glasses Fils Cotes de Rhône 2007, £21.50 a bottle, Red Legged partridge with bread sauce, £21.50, pear cider made into jelly, £6.50. The lunch included a number of cigarettes. The lunch went on the menu yesterday as “Floyd’s Last Supper”.

Tasteful. And what he would have wanted:

Mr Hix said: “He ordered the grouse but my chef served partridge. He saw the funny side of it. He told my manager to slow down on the booze. He wouldn’t have been the same without a glass of wine in his hand.”

Which is why the Express and Telegraph both lead with picture of Floyd raising a class of vino du moment.

But not everyone is on message. Brian Viner watches:

One well-known roisterer, Keith Allen, went in search of another, the former TV chef Keith Floyd, finding him in a village near Avignon looking terrible, at least one decade and possibly two older than his 65 years.

There is already plenty of evidence to suggest that Floyd is not a particularly nice man, and plenty more emerged here, but his unflagging capacity to drink, smoke and swear to excess – including a liberal sprinkling of the c-word, which has officially lost its status as the last TV taboo – was seemingly enough to convince Allen that he was “one of the most honest and genuine people I’ve ever met”. Now, I don’t mean to sound pious. I’ve even been known to enjoy a spot of carousing myself. But there was nothing honest or genuine in the gruesome spectacle of Floyd getting steadily more hammered, more melancholy and more abusive at a lunch with his daughter Poppy, from whom he had been estranged for 10 years. It was car-crash television.

How do we remember the dead celebrity – as his TV image or as the man?

Keith Floyd RIP, A Career In Pictures



Posted: 16th, September 2009 | In: Celebrities Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink