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We live in a world in which it is hard to throw a vine-ripened tomato without hitting a celebrity chef. And yet the death of Keith Floyd will still be keenly felt. For one thing, Floyd was one of the pioneers. He took cooking out of the confines of the wipe-clean studio and into the messy, invigorating outdoors. For another, Floyd's flamboyant personality was just as central to his appeal as the dishes he cooked.

His programmes were often rather shambolic, featuring the presenter stumbling around a sizzling pan with a wine glass glued to his right hand. But through the chaos, Floyd never failed to communicate a love of food and an unquenchable zest for life. A few years ago he grumbled that: "We don't cook anymore, we just watch TV programmes about cookery. It's just cheap entertainment. I'm totally to blame". There might be some truth in that. But many will raise a generous glass to his memory all the same.

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