In his evening at China Exchange, Loyd Grossman credited his extraordinarily varied career, first as a rock musician, then a food critic, a TV presenter, and Art Historian, to his love of learning. Loyd said than on arriving in London in 1974, he had dreamed of becoming a professional musician, but ultimately didn’t make it as a rock star in his youth. He has retained his passion for music however, and will be playing Glastonbury this year with his current band.
Loyd described how he fell into his career as a gastronome by chance whilst working at the magazine Harpers and Queen (now Harper’s Bazaar), and that his work as a food critic had lead him into TV. He said that he finally left the TV series Masterchef after ten years of presenting the show, joking that “it’s always better to get tired of it before they get tired of you”.
When asked about restaurant recommendations, Loyd revealed that one of his personal favourites is a Polish restaurant in London. Loyd cautioned that “you should never get porridge in a restaurant, you should always make it at home”, and that the best restaurant is the one that thinks you are the best customer.
Loyd talked about how his love of Art History has lead him into various different roles. On being Chair of the Blue Plaques, he reflected on how “the Blue Plaques show London is a global city, with blue plaques for people from all over the world”. In his new position as Chair of London’s Royal Parks, Loyd said that he was drawn to the position because “the Royal Parks are one of the things that most define London and make London the greatest city in the world”. When asked what’s next, he said that he doesn’t know and that he has always just let things happen.
Watch the video to see Loyd’s views on litter, LSE, why there were no hoodies in 1974 and why some plaques are aubergine and not blue.