Rick Stein OBE is an English chef, restaurateur, cookery book author and television presenter. He has written over 20 cookery books, an autobiography and made over 30 programmes including 12 cookery series. 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 the fishing port of Padstow on the North Coast of Cornwall which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015. 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, and also increased his business empire.
In April 2016, the BBC aired a Rick Stein’s Long Weekends series where he visited five destinations for a long weekend including Bordeaux, Reykjavik, Berlin, Vienna and Bologna. A further five Rick Stein Long Weekends episodes will be aired on BBC Two this autumn as well as the release of Rick Stein’s Long Weekends book on the 6th October, published by BBC Books. February 2016, BBC aired a one off Rick Stein’s Taste of Shanghai episode, looking at how much Shanghai’s culinary roots have changed over the past 20 years.
2015 saw Rick Stein’s new book, From Venice to Istanbul: A food journey through the Eastern Mediterranean release in July with a BBC TV series that followed in August. He was also involved in the BBC 2 series A Cook Abroad which aired in March. Rick opened a new restaurant on the iconic Fistral beach, one of the best surf beaches in Europe in Easter 2015 and opened a 200 seated restaurant in Sandbanks, Dorset at the end of November.
2014 was a busy year for Rick. He released Fish and Shellfish, an updated and revised edition of his cookery classic Seafood, and filmed From Venice to Istanbul. Alongside this, he opened up his first restaurant outside of Cornwall, Rick Stein in Winchester and shortly after opened a restaurant in the fishing village of Porthleven, Cornwall also called Rick Stein.
Previous television programmes have included Rick Stein’s India: In search of the perfect curry. It’s a gloriously colourful journey through much of India trying dishes in palaces and dhabas, in middle class homes, farmhouses, slums and a shack on a beach on the Coramandel coast. He says in the cookery book which accompanies the series, “when Indians talk of food they talk of their life,” so enthusiastic are they about their home cooking.
Rick Stein’s Spain, released in 2011, also featured a country where people are passionate about their food. “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 on a memorable journey down the canals of South Western France to the Mediterranean Sea. 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 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.” Rick and Sarah also opened a bookshop in Padstow in March 2016 with Ron Johns.
Rick Stein lives in Padstow and London with Sarah and her children Zach and Olivia. He has three sons, Edward, Jack, and Charles, from his previous marriage to business partner, Jill. 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 Ricky Stein.”