104. Loyd Grossman CBE; 1960s New York, Ecclesiastical Sock Makers and How Food Completes Travel - The Big Travel Podcast

Episode 104
August 31 , 2020

104. Loyd Grossman CBE; 1960s New York, Ecclesiastical Sock Makers and How Food Completes Travel

Loyd Grossman, entrepreneur, author and broadcaster is well-known for presenting MasterChef, Through the Keyhole and much more. His lifelong passion for history and the arts has led to leading roles in cultural institutions from English Heritage, to The Arts Society, the Royal Parks and the Royal Historical Society and several impeccably researched books. Loyd and Lisa talk food – as you’d expect from the man behind one of the UK’s most successful celebrity sauces, growing up in a US seaside haven, hippy days in late 60s New York, playing with Jethro Tull and how an elephant in Rome led to his new book about one of Europe’s greatest artists.


On this episode we cover:


The curious elephant statue in Rome that piqued his interest

His new book An Elephant in Rome: Bernini, The Pope and The Making of the Eternal City

Bernini a contemporary of Rembrandt, Reubens, Velazquez

The most famous artist in Europe in his lifetime

Usually concentrating on 18th century historical research

So finding going back to the 17h century quite challenging

Always wanting to be learning something

Nuns on motorbikes eating ice creams

‘Ecclesiastical socks’ made by the Pope’s tailor

Growing up in Boston and we would visit New York at least twice a year

Rome being a ‘tossed salad’ of history

Being hooked on Roman ice cream

The rather confusing Italian breastfeeding wolves statues

(about the infants Romulus and Remus)

His commercial TV work being what he is well known for

Feeling lucky he has had a portfolio career

Growing up with a strong public service ethos

Arriving in the UK in 1974

Growing up in the sailing town of Marblehead ‘one of the most beautiful towns in America

Having a very typical seaside New England upbringing

Boston and its amazing culture 

Being involved in a big music scene

Playing at Glastonbury (8 times, no less)

Teaming up with Jethro Tull to raise money for British cathedrals

His low-key, understate, musical parents

Taking his first plane trip at 3 months old

Regular trips on the Yankee Clipper train to New York as a child

The excitement of arriving at Grand Central Station

Difference; travel, interacting with different people and backgrounds, being really important for him

Catching amazing bands like the Velvet Underground

Longhaired and covered in tie-dye

Finding the UK an exceptional and exciting place

Feeling London is the greatest city in the world

But that it also can overshadow other cities

Liverpool’s cultural, musical and sporting history

Food and travel and culture going hand in hand

Catch 22 author Joseph Heller ‘perpetually hungry from the neck up’

‘The most intense experience of another country is eating their food they eat’

Always wanting to arrive in a country in time for lunch

Loving the rustic food and quality of produce in Spain

The best Swedish food in Stockholm

London’s Royal Parks being the greatest collection of parks in the world

Greenwich Park being established in 1433

Originally hunting grounds for the Royal Family

Travelling to experience the different thing

Cuban refugee musicians on 1950s Miami Beach