JOHN Boorman has told mourners at a Humanist commemoration ceremony for Paolo Tullio that the great restaurant critic will always be in his heart.
The warm and intimate ceremony is underway in the beautiful surrounds of the Examinations Hall in Trinity College Dublin.
Mourners were led by Mr Tullio's wife Susan, children Rocco and Isabella, his baby grandson Balthazar and his mother Elena.
Many from the culinary world were there, including chef Derry Clarke and his wife Sallyann from L'Ecrivain.
Also there was fellow food critic Tom Doorley from the TV programme, The Restaurant, on which Mr Tullio had worked for many years.
Mr Tullio's beloved wife Susan spoke about how they met there at Trinity, introduced by Paul McGuinness.
Soon after they moved in together and while her father did not approve, they always did what they wanted to do.
They married with "minimum fuss" in 1975.
"We were a very tight knit little family," she said, saying that while they never had much money they had enough.
He liked to give the impression of Bonhomie and light-heartedness but was a deep person, she revealed.
He loved his children and was very proud of their intelligence.
The couple separated amicably when Susan needed to pursue her work as an artist in a solitary way, in Kerry.
Paolo was always himself and always saw the bigger picture.
In the end the couple were reunited, said Susan.
"He was the best man I've ever known," she said.
Afterwards Chris De Burgh, who sang a song, The Journey in tribute to his good friend, commended Susan on her bravery.
He met Paolo at the age of 18 at Trinity and loved his zest for life, he said.
He spoke of his last meeting with his friend, saying how they had sat around his bed and sang songs. He held his hand and frequently squeezed it, he said.
John Boorman said he had lived next to Paolo for 30 years, quipping: "He was a great wife to me."
Paolo would never eat the pasta he had cooked for him but Mr Boorman said he forgave him as it was the only thing approaching a negative that Paolo would ever do.
Food & Drink
Following the death of Ireland’s most loved food writer Paolo Tullio, producers of The Restaurant, in which he played a leading role, have released an emotional video montage of the critic’s best moments on the show.
I first met Paolo Tullio in October 1968, my first term at Trinity College Dublin. My best friend from school, Donnell Deeny, said to me one day: "There's a very unusual guy in my Legal Science class, I think you'd like him..." Donnell introduced us. The first time I saw the then-snake-hipped Paolo, he was wearing a gold lamé cape and carrying a silver-topped cane. He had a Fu Manchu beard and moustache - quite unusual garb, even for the year after the Summer of Love.