2020 continue to be a kick-in-the-teeth year with the news that respected food writer and broadcaster Charles Campion has died.
The death of the writer, restaurant critic and MasterChef regular was announced on Christmas Eve by his friend and fellow broadcaster Dan Saladino who said he'd "never forget our adventures in the land of boudin noir and the programmes we made together. Farewell friend."
Many of the restaurants Campion reviewed for the Standard have since closed, but a few remain in business. Of Hammersmith's Indian Zing he declared: "In each and every dish the kitchen gets the spicing just about perfect and this shows in the way that each meal has its own distinct personality." At Vauxhall's Hot Stuff he told readers it was "one place where the 'specials' repay investigation" - and enjoyed eavesdropping on what was surely an MI5/CIA lunch out. While Harrow Road's Behesht was complimented for being "a cheerful place that serves sound food at bargain prices and the decor with its waterfalls is a fabulous bonus."
William Sitwell published a heartfelt post on Instagram in which he described Campion thus; "Of all the critics I have ever known he was surely the definitive, professional eater...But it is not how he ate or the amount he ate that is his legacy. To me it’s the excitement he had in conveying news of brilliant places he discovered and knew of; little restaurants, run with passion by people who really knew what they were doing; be it a family-run curry house by a main road in Droitwich or an established London place that he knew was reliably fabulous."
Many of the folk who'd been lucky enough to work with Campion over the years took to social media to remember him.
Charles Campion was a great and lovely man, with a brilliantly droll sense of humour. And boy he knew his subject. I held my breath when he was at the @MasterChefUK table to find out whether I’d screwed up a point of detail and he was gently going to put me right. A great loss. https://t.co/SvgAtj7Qsb— Jay Rayner (@jayrayner1) December 26, 2020
Sad news about Charles Campion, the most knowledgeable, courtly and clear-eyed of colleagues around the @MasterChefUK critics table. He lived for his family & talked about them often during breaks in filming, when he wasn’t grumbling about dessert parsley. We will miss you CC pic.twitter.com/FrRaUjMOMD— Tracey MacLeod (@Traceyamacleod) December 25, 2020
So sorry we've lost Charles Campion. Since the early 90s we shared many eating and drinking adventures. pic.twitter.com/sxi4Fyy0s8— Iqbal Wahhab (@IqbalWahhab) December 26, 2020
So sad to hear of the death of Charles Campion - my thoughts are with his family. He was one of a kind. Kind, amusing and above all, pragmatic. He worked hard to enjoy his family life, but was always generous with help and knowledge. The world will be a poorer place without him.— Sybil Kapoor (@SybilKapoor) December 26, 2020
You might argue he was only doing his job (& you’d be right). But when Charles Campion was banging on about Tayyab’s etc. BITD, it was pretty rare for a critic of his ilk to be digging for gold outside the usual bling openings & press release circuit. He was a proper enthusiast— Tony Naylor (@naylor_tony) December 26, 2020
Charles Campion 17 October 1951 – 23 December 2020
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