Rick Stein in Chef Uniforms
By Alice Lane
Rick Stein is one of the most notable celebrities in chef jackets in Great Britain with numerous books and television series to his credit, as well as four restaurants, a patisserie, a delicatessen, a school of seafood cookery, as well as a hotel in Padstow, a fishing port on Cornwall’s north coast. Rick has cooked for Prime Minister Tony Blair at Number 10 Downing St; for French President Jacques Chirac; as well as cooking for Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee, which was attended by all of her past prime ministers. Rick was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2003 for his services in promoting West Country Tourism.
Rick attributes his success to his philosophy that there is nothing more exhilarating than a fresh fish, simply cooked. It is his enthusiasm for seafood which led him to launch his first television cookery show, Taste of the Sea, in 1995. Since that time, he has made eight more shows – the first four exclusively about seafood. Then he made two television series entitled Food Heroes about small food producers who are passionate about the quality and taste of what they grow and make. After taking a leisurely cruise in white aprons on a canal barge through the canals of southern France, Rick wrote a book and started a television series entitled French Odyssey, about the produce and recipes of rural France. This project was so enjoyable and satisfying that it led Rick to further Mediterranean Escapes adventures by Land Rover and ferry through Sardinia, Corsica, Sicily, Majorca, Puglia, Catalonia, Turkey, Corfu, and Morocco which were recorded in a book and television series. Rick’s quest sought to answer the question of what makes Mediterranean cuisine so special by highlighting the vibrancy and color of the local dishes he encountered. Rick’s latest adventure, in 2009, was a Far Eastern Odyssey through Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Bali, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, where Rick celebrated the light, spicy, healthy flavors of the local cuisines. Rick’s current project is a book and television series dedicated to Spanish cuisine, which is due to come out in 2011.
In the past few years the BBC has commissioned Rick to make several documentaries not related to food. These include Betjeman and Me, which celebrates the life and work of the popular English poet who loved Cornwall; Rick Stein & the Japanese Ambassador, in which Rick traveled to Japan in chef uniforms to learn about Japanese seafood cookery; and Rick Stein in du Maurier Country, which was a tribute to Cornwall novelist Daphne de Maurier. Rick also starred in the BBC special Memoirs of a Seafood Chef and last month he starred in Rick Stein — Food of the Italian Opera about Italian cuisine and opera. Rick’s philosophy about food and eating is that cooking and eating are generous activities, which ought to be taken seriously yet at the same time should resound with joy. All of his books and television shows emphasize the quality of food, and are committed to sustainable fishing and good farm husbandry.
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