Britain’s most celebrated chefs yesterday paid tribute to Keith Floyd, who died after suffering a heart attack at his partner’s home in Dorset.

Floyd, whose trademark cooking style, often with a large glass of wine in one hand, turned him into a household name, got his break in television while running a restaurant in Bristol. He went on to star in several series and wrote more than 20 books before his death, at the age of 65.

Martin Wishart, whose eponymous restaurant in Edinburgh has one Michelin star, said that watching Floyd’s first TV series, Floyd on Fish, had inspired him to become a chef. “That particular programme really sparked something in me to get into the kitchen,” he said.

“The way that he put his talent across was quite natural. What really hooked me, and probably most of the public watching, was his passion for what he was doing and his carefree attitude to cooking, without any of the modern pomp which goes with it now.”

Gordon Ramsay added: “Keith Floyd was a true original. A natural performer and a superb cook. He broke new ground with his programmes and his contribution to television cookery was immense.”

Floyd, who was born in Somerset, worked as a journalist first and later honed his skills as a cook after joining the army, trying out his dishes in his officers’ mess. After leaving the forces, Floyd worked in London and France as a barman, dish-washer and vegetable peeler as well as undertaking many other kitchen duties.

His first TV series was a seven-part show for the BBC and his shows went on to be broadcast in several countries. He was widely praised for taking cooking out of the TV studio and into communities to showcase local produce and cooking methods.

Rick Stein, whose first television appearance was a walk-on part in Floyd On Fish in 1985, said: “He was the first devil-may-care cook on TV who made cooking something that the boys could do too.

“He was marvellous in front of the camera, sometimes arrogant, sometimes wonderfully enthusiastic and at others a mischievous boy laughing at being scolded for his cavalier treatment of some French housewife’s personal recipe.

“But one thing was certain: he cooked like a dream and loved food and wine with a passion.”

Heston Blumenthal, whose Fat Duck restaurant has three Michelin stars, said Floyd’s love of food “jumped out of the screen”.

He added: “He’ll be sorely missed by everyone. His influence on the way that cooking and food television programmes are made – it changed the path of that forever.”

Nigel Slater said: “He was the first person I remember cooking by instinct rather than following a recipe, and that very much inspired my own approach. His programmes were a joy to watch.”

Channel 4 star Jamie Oliver added: “Keith was not just one of the best, he was the best television chef.”

Floyd, who revealed in July that he was battling bowel cancer, regularly drank in the The Horse Shoe Bar in Glasgow when he visited Scotland, and in interviews he spoke of his love for the pub’s famous meat pies.

His shows took him to Ireland, France, Australia, Italy, Africa and the Far East and as well as his TV programmes, he also played a kitchen assistant on children’s TV programme Balamory.

Floyd’s final TV appearance was broadcast on Channel 4 on Monday in Keith Meets Keith, in which the actor Keith Allen searched for his hero, Floyd, finally meeting him in rural France.

Allen said: “I hope it gave him some comfort in his last days to know that he was loved and respected by so many people.”

Floyd’s autobiography, Stirred But Not Shaken, in which he describes his battles with alcohol, is due to be published next month.

Janice Hadlow, controller of BBC2, said: “Keith Floyd pioneered a new kind of cookery programme driven by his exuberant passion for good food, good wine and a good time. His refreshingly informal approach to presenting brought food into people’s homes in a new way.”