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RICK STEIN BIOGRAPHY

Rick Stein

"Nothing is more joyful or exhilarating than fresh fish simply cooked."

Born in Oxfordhsire in 1947 Rick Stein, a self-taught chef, moved to Padstow in Cornwall in 1965 but he didn't always harbour ambitions to be an award-winning chef. He attended university in Oxford where he graduated with a degree in English. Returning to Padstow after university he opened a quayside nightclub. Fortunately for all concerned the nightclub was a failure and in 1975 he converted it into a harbourside bistro, The Seafood Restaurant, and the rest followed.

Rick Stein is somewhat misleadingly labelled a 'Celebrity Chef'. In fact, with his ex-wife Jill, he owns four restaurants, a delicatessen, a patisserie, a seafood cookery school and thirty-nine hotel bedrooms in the small fishing port of Padstow on the north coast of Cornwall, which have developed over the past thirty-two years. His three sons are all currently working in the business. The main restaurant, The Seafood, will be refurbished in January 2008 and will re-open in February with thirty extra seats and a large seafood bar.

Rick attributes the success of all this to a simple observation "Nothing is more exhilarating than fresh fish simply cooked" It was this enthusiasm for seafood that led him to make his first TV cookery series Taste of the Sea in 1995. Since then he has made nine more. The first five were exclusively about fish and shellfish. In the last of these, The Seafood Lover's Guide, Rick journeyed around the British Isles looking for and finding the best seafood. He spoke to fishmongers and chefs and visited seafood restaurants, fish merchants, oyster beds and kipper smokers. This led him to broaden the search beyond fish to good food generally. He began to look for small producers of excellence who he named his Food Heroes. He made two series in Great Britain and Ireland then set his sights on the food and cooking of France which he discovered on a leisurely voyage down the canals of Southern France on a canal barge. The series, French Odyssey, and the book, which accompanied it, were extremely successful partly because everyone loves rural France from Bordeaux to Marseille and the produce, particularly in the little local country markets, is so good.

Rick SteinRick and his producer David Pritchard enjoyed making the French series so much that they decided to carry on where they had left off, in Marseille, by setting out into the Mediterranean for a series of Mediterranean Escapes. This latest TV series and book has Rick journeying by ferry and Land Rover through Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily, Puglia, Majorca, Catalonia, Corfu, Eastern Turkey and Morocco asking the question 'what is so special about Mediterranean cuisine?' He finds, in the local traditional cuisines of those countries, food of vibrancy and colour. The series and book are proving extremely popular. His next venture will be in South East Asia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam, where, again, he will be celebrating the attraction of local food in a part of the world where the cooking is becoming ever better known for its light, healthy, spicy flavour.

All of this represents his philosophy on food, eating and restaurants, which is that cooking and eating together are generous activities, which should be taken seriously but should also resound with joy. All the books and films show a commitment to the quality of food too and a concern for sustainability in fishing and good husbandry in farming.

In the last few years Rick has also been commissioned by the BBC to make a number of one-off documentaries not all to do with food. They include Betjeman and Me - Rick Stein's Story (2006), celebrating the life and work of the much-loved English poet who knew Cornwall well; Rick Stein and the Japanese Ambassador (2006) a programme where Rick went to Japan to learn about Japanese fish cookery and Rick Stein in du Maurier Country (2007) where Rick paid a personal tribute to the novelist Daphne du Maurier who lived most of her life in his beloved Cornwall.

Rick Stein Rick Stein Rick Stein

In a long career as a chef, Rick has cooked twice for Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street, once for the French President Jacques Chirac and, on another occasion, for the Queen and Prince Philip to celebrate the Golden Jubilee in which all her past prime ministers were invited. He was awarded an OBE in 2003 for services to West Country Tourism.

Rick still lives part of the year in Padstow. He misses the company of his small Jack Russell, Chalky, who died in January 2007 but remembers that he had a very good long life. He was 18 when he died.

Rick now has a house in Sydney with his partner, Sarah Burns and regards Australia as his second home. Part of the new series will be filmed in Northern Queensland.

CHALKY

I have never been quite sure whether it was Rick Stein that made Chalky famous or whether it was Chalky that made Rick Stein so popular and successful. I like to think it was all down to Chalky with Rick having the talent for cooking the fish!

Chalky was a rough-haired Jack Russell with an exceptional good-nature. He was born in 1989 into a family of ratting dogs on a farm between St Columb and St Mawgan near Padstow.

Chalky got his name because when Jill and Rick’s middle son Jack was four, he had an imaginary dog small and white with a patch called Chalky. So when the family went to the farm to buy a puppy, there he was.

Rick Stein and Chalky Rick Stein and Chalky

RICK STEIN FEATURED RECIPES

Pan Fried Gurnard Fillets with Sage and Garlic Butter

Grilled Herring Fillets with a Cider Vinegar and Butter Sauce

Stir-fried Salt and Pepper Squid with Red Chilli and Spring Onion

RICK STEIN PUBLICATIONS

Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes (2007)

Rick Stein's French Odyssey (2005)
Also available in Danish

Rick Stein's: Starters, Main Courses, Puddings, 2004

Rick Stein's Guide to the Food Heroes of Britain, 2003
Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2003 - winner of category: Best Guide
Rick Stein's Food Heroes, Another Helping, 2004

Rick Stein's Food Heroes, 2002
Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2002 - winner of category: Best Local Cookery Book & Best Cookery Book of the Year in Great Britain
Jacob's Creek World Food Media Awards 2003 - Silver for best hard cover recipe book

My Favourite Seafood Recipes, 2002
(Marks and Spencer cookery book)

Die A bis Z Fischkpchschule (German translation of Seafood) - Gold medal - Gastronomische Akademie Deutschland 2003
Rick Stein's Seafood also available in French (Toute la Cuisine de la Mer), Danish (Rick Stein's Fiskeretter) and Dutch
Rick Stein's Complete Seafood (USA translation)
James Beard Foundation Award 2005 Winner of Cook Book of the year

Rick Stein's Seafood, 2001
Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2001 - winner of category: Best Seafood and Fish in English & Best in the World Fish and Seafood

Rick Stein's Seafood Lovers' Guide, 2000

Rick Stein's Seafood Odyssey, 1999

Rick Stein Cooks Seafood, 1998

Rick Stein Cooks Fish, 1997

Fruits of the Sea, 1997

Rick Stein Fish, 10 Recipes 1996
Good Food Award Best Cookery Book 1995/1996
André Simon Cook Book of the Year 1996

Taste of the Sea, 1995
Glenfiddich Cook Book of the Year 1989

English Seafood Cookery, 1988

RICK STEIN TELEVISION

Rick Stein's Mediterranean Escapes - BBC TV (2007)

Rick Stein in Du Maurier Country - BBC TV (2007)
Rick pays a personal tribute to the novelist Daphne du Maurier

Rick Stein and the Japanese Ambassador - BBC TV (2006)

Betjeman and Me - Rick Stein's Story - BBC TV (2006)
Celebrating the life and work of John Betjeman 1906 - 2006

Rick Stein's Food Heroes Christmas Special - BBC TV (2005)

Rick Stein's French Odyssey - BBC TV (2005)

Rick Stein's Food Heroes, Another Helping - BBC TV (2003)

Rick Stein's Food Heroes, Another Helping Series 2 - BBC TV (2004)

Rick Stein's Food Heroes - BBC TV (2002)
Jacob's Creek World Food Media Awards 2003 - Gold for best Television Food Show

Rick Stein on Fishing - Carlton TV (2001)

Friends for Dinner - BBC TV (2000)

Rick Stein's Seafood Lover's Guide - BBC TV (2000)
Glenfiddich TV Programme of the Year Award 2001
Jacob's Creek World Food Media Awards - Silver for best Television Food Show

Food & Drink - BBC TV (1999)
Gold Award for Best Television Food Segment Within a Show - World Food Media Awards Adelaide 1999

Personal Passions - BBC TV (1999)

Fresh Food - BBC TV (1999)

Rick Stein's Seafood Odyssey - BBC TV (1999)
Bronze Medal World Food Media Awards Adelaide 1999

Fruits of the Sea - BBC TV (1997)
Silver Medal World Food Media Awards Adelaide 1997

Taste of the Sea - BBC TV (1995)
Glenfiddich TV Programme of the Year Award
Good Food Award Television Cookery Programme of the Year

RICK STEIN AWARDS

Rick Stein:

2007 Le Cordon Bleu World Media Awards - Honoured for outstanding achievements in the industry and inducted into the Tasting Australia International Hall of Fame

Food & Farming Industry Awards, The House of Commons - Personality of the year 2006

CatererSearch 100 - Named 4th most influential chef in UK in 2005

BBC Radio 4 Food & Farming Award 2004 - Food personality of the year

OBE - New Year's Honour 2003 for services to West Country Tourism

The Cornwall Tourist Award - A special award for outstanding services to Cornwall 2002

The Glenfiddich Trophy - 2001

Waterford Wedgwood Hospitality Award - 1999

AA Guide Chefs' Chef of the Year 1999 - 2000

Caterer & Hotelkeeper 1999 Chef Award - Chef of the Year

The England for Excellence Awards - Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award - 1988

The Good Food Award Television and Radio Personality - 1995/96

Restaurant:

AA Award - English Seafood Restaurant of the Year Award 2002

Hotel & Restaurant Magazine Seafood Restaurant of the Year 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003 & 2004

Egon Ronay's Restaurant of the Year 1996

The Good Hotel Guide Cesar Award 1995

Decanter Magazine Restaurant of the Year 1989

RAC / Sunday Times Taste of Britain Best Restaurant Award 1984

RICK STEIN AND CHARITIES

Rick is Patron of the following charities:

The Marine Stewardship Council

Dyslexia Research Trust

Padstow Youth Project

South West PESCA (Duchy Fish Quota Co)

The National Mission for Deep Sea Fishermen

National Coastwatch Institution

The National Trust

Rick Stein's website - www.rickstein.com

Published 08 April 2007