Not least, a very, very good cook
There are lots of things I loved about Jay and there are lots of things that both Jay and I shared a love of, not least food, cooking and books.
House dinners were to come something of a Broomwood Road institution. Each week myself, Olivia or Jay would cook for the house and an invited guest. It was a time each week where we would all sit down together, get to chat with each other and our friends and, most importantly, eat very good food. Whilst we started with humble dishes the house dinner was soon to morph into a three-course haute cuisine affair driven in no small part by our amicable rivalry. Jay was soon treating us to such delights as squid salad, roasted pork belly, and duck with sour cherry sauce. We always used to tease Jay that his dishes were a case of style over substance, as they were always beautifully presented. The truth however was, that like the man himself, Jay had style and substance.
Jay was a gentle, kind and considerate friend. Typical of Jay’s thoughtfulness, whilst reading one of his (and mine) favourite novel’s ‘Americanah’, he noticed a drink that was described in it, which he bookmarked. Knowing that I wasn’t drinking at the time, he went to the trouble of preparing the drink for me the next time it was his turn to cook house dinner. It was a small but appreciated kindness and was characteristic of Jay and his generosity of spirit.
Jay is greatly missed in Broomwood Road, as elsewhere. To say that he was special and unique does not seem to do him justice, but he was both those things and much, much more. Not least, a very, very good cook.