Following the shock news that top banana chef (and tv cook) Keith Floyd has left us to join the great fishing boat in the sky, the tributes to Keith Floyd make fascinating reading – clearly a strong influence on many who were priviledged to see his performances on TV cookery shows.

The driving riffs of the Stranglers’ Peaches or the baroquesque Waltz in black would summon a new breed of food fans to the TV – pish Fanny Craddock (great name shame about the hairdo) and the previous generation of nasty, cheap tv cooks offering suggestions such as poaching eggs in tomato soup.

What sad news. After last night’s excellent and poignant Chanel 4 documentary, Keith meets Keith, you got the sense that the end was never going to be far away, but how fitting that his demise came after such a revealing glimpse of his last days. Dying as he lived, breaking TV conventions. The world seems a poorer and less colourful place today.

Keith Floyd

Keith Floyd (28 December 1943 – 14 September 2009)

One of the glorious moments from the show illuminated the way Keith Floyd could quickly dispense with tv guff.  Tongue razor sharp when asked syupid questions  – when passing a substantial barbecue built on Floyd’s terrace Keith Allen asked if he still occasionally cooked outside.  His reply – “Oh no  – that’s just for show” . . . . . . waiting a full five seconds he turned and continued….”you prick”

I learned to cook the Floyd way: buy what looks best on the day (reduced for quick sale) and cook it simply. It’s still the way I cook now, sans recipe book, no agenda when I shop, learn from your mistakes and admit it when it doesn’t work, then move on.

Home cooks owe a vast debt to this man.

Mr Floyd is – quite simply – a god.

I still fondly remember one of his early Floyd on Fish programmes where he cooked something on a boat, tasted it with the owner of the boat, and then announced that the food was terrible and chucked the whole plate over his shoulder into the sea …

Also, the classic programme when an elderly soap dodging French woman told him that his omelette was awful – clearly annoyed, he challenged her to do better, and when she did, he completely agreed that his was rubbish and hers was the superior dish.

I can’t think of another cook who would show such honesty and enthusiasm.

And of course, his splendid words as he drove a snazzly sports car up a steep country track on a remote Spanish hillside:  “the car you can take anywhere – a hire car …”