A FOOD writer and author who ran a successful Oxfordshire bread company has died aged 60.

William Black wrote the books Al Dente and The Land That Thyme Forgot, and also co-wrote Fish, Organic and Travels à la Carte with his former wife Sophie Grigson.

He was also featured in the award-winning television series Matters of Taste and ran a successful business in London for many years, sourcing ingredients for some of the capital’s finest restaurants.

More recently, Mr Black helped to found the Fish! restaurant chain and in 2006 started the Natural Bread Company with his wife, Claire Véry.

The couple started the enterprise with a stall at Appleton Farmers’ Market, but it has since grown to have bakery shops in Woodstock and Eynsham, as well as a cafe and shop in Little Clarendon Street, Oxford.

In particular, the business has specialised in the supply of sourdough breads to restaurants and cafes in the county.

Mr Black was born in Wimbledon on May 10, 1954, to Brian and Sue.

He grew up in Chichester, West Sussex, and boarded at Cranleigh School, an independent school in Surrey, from 1964 to 1972. At the University of Brighton he sudied anthropology and graduated in 1976.

In 1979 he started his own fish selling business, delivering fish and top-end food products from France to Michelin-starred restaurants in London.

This saw him spend much time in France and he gained a reputation as a respected fish importer, at one point acting as a fish sustainability consultant for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Brazil and the Galapagos Islands.

Mr Black met Sophie Grigson, daughter of food columnist Jane Grigson, in 1992 and they married that same year.

They lived in Hellidon, near Daventry, and had two children, Florrie in 1994 and Sid in 1995. The couple separated in 1999.

From 2000, Mr Black wrote a series of books which explored reviving lesser-known recipes.

Mr Black met his future wife Claire Véry in 2002 in Appleton.

They had their daughter, Lola, in 2004 and married in St Laurence Church, Appleton, on July 15, 2006.

Ms Véry also had two children from a previous marriage, Charlotte and Georgia. Ms Véry said: “He was a brilliant father, husband and friend and the love of my life.”

William Black died on December 7 due to a brain tumour, that was first diagnosed in October 2013.

He is survived by his three children, Florrie, Sid and Lola, as well as his wife, Claire, and his mother Sue, 82.

His funeral was held at St Laurence Church in Appleton on December 19.