"It's not much but it's ours"

Sunday, February 25, 2007


For 90% of the people who read this board, this name will mean nothing. But, for those who love life and food, there are few better examples of a life well lived.

I first met Tony Finch about 7 years ago when we both spent far too much time posting on a food website called Chowhound.

Inevitably, we decided that it would be good to organise a meal for the UK crowd at St John. I had no idea what he may look like. But, the moment, I walked into the restaurant bar to see a large ruddy faced man drinking a glass of wine, I knew that was Tony and I knew, instinctively, that he was going to be my friend. This is a man who drew good humour to him like a magnet and I immediately loved him. Everybody who met him did.

On the various food boards we populated over the next few years, he had one persona. Ornery, argumentative and challenging. Off the boards he was entirely different, genuine, passionate and the single most honest person I can ever recall meeting. We spent many, many evenings together.

My favourite thought of Tony is from a food board Christmas meal at The Sutton Arms. I was sitting next to him as I always chose to do, for there was no better company. The main course was belly pork. His portion arrived and he smiled at how sizeable it was. Then, mine arrived. A slab the size of Wales with a slice of crackling the size of a football pitch. Much, much bigger than his. His face fell like a child who came down on Christmas morning to find that, instead of the Chopper bike he had wriiten to Santa for, he got a single Satsuma.

Sensing his pain,I hacked a bit off my portion and put it on his plate. His smile reappeared and he put his arm around me and said in his overly exaggerated East London Jewish accent “ you’re like a bruvver to me” I have seldom felt more honoured.

A year or so later, I fell out with him for reasons far too stupid to mention here and I stopped seeing him. He extended an olive branch to me a couple of times but I petulantly brushed them aside more through embarrassment than anger.

I regret it now, which is easy with hindsight, but I am comforted by the thought that, if I had ever got over my own stupidity and contacted him, he would have assumed that same East End Jewish accent and said “ no bovver, let’s go and have dinner” and that would have been it. That’s the kind of man he was. Although, I did not always think he was my friend, I am pretty sure he always thought I was his.

It will always be to my shame that I did not take more opportunity to sit across the dinner table from this remarkable person. But, I am grateful that I, at least, had chance to spend the time I did with man who truly knew how to live life to its most full.

My thoughts now go out to his family and his wife, Fahro

If any of us reading this enjoy life 1/10th the amount Tony Finch did. We will do well.

God rest, Tony my “bruvver”
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Blogger Cathy said...


Rest in peace, Tony.

Sunday, February 25, 2007 4:33:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nicely witten Simon.

That photo I took of him in the armcahir in Bray is exactly how I will remember him.

Rest well Tony.

Sunday, February 25, 2007 5:12:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

bugger meant to sign it Bapi. Can you oblige please? Cheers

Sunday, February 25, 2007 5:13:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm shocked beyond belief.

The top photo of maccers, Ton and gav brought memories crashing in.

Every trip to London always brought one or two dinners with Tony.

I'm so upset. he was among the best.

Bless him, bless Fahro and the family.

Sunday, February 25, 2007 5:57:00 pm  
Blogger Gavin said...

I count myself very honoured to have known Big Tone over the last few years. That top picture was taken at Tayyab's, where we went today to break the news to Wasim. He's devastated. My thoughts are with Tony's family. RIP.

Sunday, February 25, 2007 6:36:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very sad news indeed :-(

Tony is one of those people who I often think of and expect is having a really good time eating some really good food somewhere. One of those larger than life characters that becomes part of the fabric of life itself and I just imagine will always be there.

As Bapi said, one of the images I will always have of him is of him in that big armchair. On seeing the picture, it took me a minute or so to remember where it had been, but I got there in the end.

Monday, February 26, 2007 9:24:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a generous, humorous, knowledgeable, warm, convivial, gadfly and pal we have lost.

I am so sorry.

Wilfrid (Kim)

Monday, February 26, 2007 3:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the last things I said to Tony way back in 2003 it must have been was that I didn't want whatever complicated and messy things that were occuring in the online food world (this was when eGullet was about to implode for the first of many times and give birth to Mouthfuls and Opinionated About) to affect our "real" lives. Well, the stupid online stuff did get in the way and I never saw him or corresponded with him again. I felt sad about that then and I feel sadder now.

Monday, February 26, 2007 3:48:00 pm  
Blogger Hermano 1 said...

Every few months Tony and I would meet up, have a few bottles of wine, a bit of food and put the world to rights. The last time was at Pearl restaurant just before Christmas. Tony bought a Red Bordeaux, I bought a White Bordeaux. As aways we had a great evening together and parted company at St Paul's. I can't believe I'm never going to have the pleasure of his company again.

RIP Mate

Monday, February 26, 2007 8:05:00 pm  
Blogger Unknown said...

Tony & Fahro & Harry are our friends and neighbours. People who live within a stone's throw of us whom we wouldn't have met (along with many others) except for the internet.
We shared many fun times and meals.
Tony & I argued about anything & everything online. In person we laughed about winding each other up and the fun that arguing was.
We will miss him so much. He was taken too soon. RIP Big Tone.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007 9:47:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony's been in our thoughts since we learned the sad news. He and Fahro held a raan fest at New Tayyab during our 2003 trip to London and during that same trip, at dinner with Simon and Robin, he and Fahro and Alan and I decided on the spot to exchange apartments for a week in the spring. So, in a sense, we've lived in Tony's shoes. He was a larger than life presence both on-line and in person and we will miss him.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 5:57:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony became part of my world when foor boards took much of my time. We fought tooth and nail over political issues and he have no quarter and expected none. Yet beneath it all was a caring, intelligent mensch. He lived with passion and not by half measures.

He told me that I had literally saved his life on the day of the London tube bombings, because he took five minutes before leaving to answer a particularly annoying post I had made about the Iraq war. The detention put him at the station five minutes after the explosion.

Oh how I wish I could have detained him this time. There will be a big hole in the world without him.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007 8:25:00 am  

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