Rick Stein OBE is an English chef, restaurateur, cookery book author and television presenter. He has written 16 cookery books and made ten cookery programmes. He has also cooked for The Queen and Prince Philip, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher and French President, Jacques Chirac.
Rick is best known for a love of fresh seafood and made his name in the 90’s with his earliest books and television series based on his life as chef and owner of The Seafood Restaurant in fishing port of Padstow on the North Coast of Cornwall in the United Kingdom. As he said at the time “nothing is more exhilarating than fresh fish simply cooked.”
Since then he has expanded his horizons to cover numerous journeys over the world in search of great dishes, many of which he’s brought back to his restaurants in Padstow. His current television programme is about the cooking of Spain, off the beaten track. As he says: “It’s a memory of happy times in Spain tied in with thoughts of old cathedrals, vast horizons and fishing boats, somewhere in the Mediterranean unloading wooden boxes of dark red prawns.” Prior to that was a very successful programme on the cookery of South East Asia called Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey. He found in the countries of Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia & Indonesia “bowls of steaming soft white noodles fragrant with star anise.. a glorious assault on the senses.”
Rick also made a series about Mediterranean cooking called Mediterranean Escapes and another about memorable journey down the canals of South Western France to the Mediterranean. Called French Odyssey, it’s the programme which many people say is their favourite, he thinks because it celebrates a sunny way of life which we would all like to live. Other people, though, remember his films travelling the length and breadth of Great Britain and Ireland looking for Food Heroes who’s way of life is to produce the best food whether caught, grown, reared or created in small bakeries, dairies or kitchens.
Rick and his wife Sarah Stein are also the guiding lights of “Rick Stein at Bannisters” at Mollymook on the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Rick said at the time of opening: “Ever since a memorable weekend eating Pambula oysters and flathead in Merimbula in the sixties, I’ve had the image of the clean blue sea and sweet seafood of the South Coast fixed in my head so when I was introduced to Mollymook about six years ago I knew that one day I would open up a restaurant celebrating local fish and shellfish but keeping it really simple.”
Stein lives in Padstow for part of the year but also has a house in Sydney with Sarah and her children. He has three sons from his marriage to his business partner, Jill, which ended in 2002. Edward, Jack, and Charles. Stein is the uncle of Radio 1 and nightclub DJ Judge Jules and artist Lucy Stein. Rick Stein’s brother is the famous neurophysiologist Professor John Stein.
Rick’s impact on the local economy of Padstow is such that it has been nicknamed “Padstein” despite the phrase being openly disputed by Rick himself.
There’s no dispute though that Rick’s dog Chalky, who appeared in many of his programmes but who sadly died in 2007, was in the words of a Padstow fisherman “more famous than Rick Stein.”