Loyd Daniel Gilman Grossman is an American-British author, broadcaster, and cultural campaigner. He has mainly worked in the United Kingdom and well known for presenting the BBC programme MasterChef from 1990 to 2000.
Loyd Grossman, entrepreneur, author and broadcaster is well-known for presenting MasterChef, Through the Keyhole and much more. His lifelong passion for history and the arts has led to leading roles in cultural institutions from English Heritage, to The Arts Society, the Royal Parks and the Royal Historical Society and several impeccably researched books. Loyd and Lisa talk food – as you’d expect from the man behind one of the UK’s most successful celebrity sauces, growing up in a US seaside haven, hippy days in late 60s New York, playing with Jethro Tull and how an elephant in Rome led to his new book about one of Europe’s greatest artists. On this episode we cover: The curious elephant statue in Rome that piqued his interest His new book An Elephant in Rome: Bernini, The Pope and The Making of the Eternal City Bernini a contemporary of Rembrandt, Reubens, Velazquez The most famous artist in Europe in his lifetime Usually concentrating on 18th century historical research So finding going back to the 17h century quite challenging Always wanting to be learning something Nuns on motorbikes eating ice creams ‘Ecclesiastical socks’ made by the Pope’s tailor Growing up in Boston and we would visit New York at least twice a year Rome being a ‘tossed salad’ of history Being hooked on Roman ice cream The rather confusing Italian breastfeeding wolves statues (about the infants Romulus and Remus) His commercial TV work being what he is well known for Feeling lucky he has had a portfolio career Growing up with a strong public service ethos Arriving in the UK in 1974 Growing up in the sailing town of Marblehead ‘one of the most beautiful towns in America Having a very typical seaside New England upbringing Boston and its amazing culture Being involved in a big music scene Playing at Glastonbury (8 times, no less) Teaming up with Jethro Tull to raise money for British cathedrals His low-key, understate, musical parents Taking his first plane trip at 3 months old Regular trips on the Yankee Clipper train to New York as a child The excitement of arriving at Grand Central Station Difference; travel, interacting with different people and backgrounds, being really important for him Catching amazing bands like the Velvet Underground Longhaired and covered in tie-dye Finding the UK an exceptional and exciting place Feeling London is the greatest city in the world But that it also can overshadow other cities Liverpool’s cultural, musical and sporting history Food and travel and culture going hand in hand Catch 22 author Joseph Heller ‘perpetually hungry from the neck up’ ‘The most intense experience of another country is eating their food they eat’ Always wanting to arrive in a country in time for lunch Loving the rustic food and quality of produce in Spain The best Swedish food in Stockholm London’s Royal Parks being the greatest collection of parks in the world Greenwich Park being established in 1433 Originally hunting grounds for the Royal Family Travelling to experience the different thing Cuban refugee musicians on 1950s Miami Beach
Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the television presenter Loyd Grossman. His career has allowed him to peer through the keyholes of the rich and famous and comment on their homes. He once described Tony Blackburn's house as like that of a maiden aunt in Eastbourne. It's a formula which has lasted 14 years. Although he was well into his 20s before he learnt to cook, some 20 million viewers watch him as he deliberates, cogitates and digests the culinary efforts of his would-be masterchefs. As a boy his dream was to be a rock star or a historian. In the end, he gave up both, forsaking his study of the gin-drinking experiences of 18th-century Londoners and forgoing his evenings spent dodging beer cans thrown on stage. He turned instead to journalism and Harpers & Queen. It was by accident that he was picked out to present for the new fledgling television station, TVAM, but by the time they realised their mistake his TV career was launched.
[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]
Favourite track: Girls Just Wanna Have Fun by Cyndi Lauper
Book: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Luxury: Fishing rod
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