A name from my misspent youth in London as a student emerged today.
Thierry Cabanne was the owner of one of the largest brokerage and importers of French Wines. He died yesterday, aged 62.
I knew Thierry 40 years ago. Then he ran a restaurant called The Gasworks.
It sat beside what is now Chelsea Harbour, but then was a gasworks.
By day it was an amazing antiques shop. By night, Thierry and his partner transformed it into a super restaurant. I think the average bill was about £2 per head including wine. I had some amazingly wonderful evenings there, usually staying on to help clear up and cadge a last glass before Thierry closed up.
My fondest memory was of one night when - for reasons I can no longer remember - I had invited Ed " Stewpot" Stewart, the DJ, for dinner, along with his staggeringly beautiful girlfriend.
Ed was telling a story and shook his head to emphasis a point. We all fell about laughing at what we thought was the punchline ..." I've lost my contact lens!"
In fact, Ed had shaken it out into his girlfriend's cleavage. Naturally, we all offered to retrieve it.
But Thierry stepped up. " Non non. Zis is a problem for tact, diplomacy and warm 'ands ...." and promptly dropped an ice cube into the gap.