The wry, perceptive and brilliantly evocative memoir of one of Britain’s best-loved cooks.
Stein’s formative years in the 50s were shaped by the Oxfordshire farm he was brought up on and his family’s much loved holiday home in Cornwall. But ever-present were the black moods of his bi-polar father who saw too much of himself in the young boy. His father’s suicide when Stein was 18 precipitated his escape for two years to Australia. Working in an abattoir and on the railways, he stuggled to find his place in the world.
But life began to change when, following his graduation from Oxford, he set up first a mobile disco called the Purple Tiger and then a nightclub in Padstow. Catering largely for tanked-up, aggressive fishermen, Stein had to acknowledge that the gap between his vision and reality was huge. After one fight too many, the police closed him down but a clerical error meant that their licence to serve food still stood. Success followed hopelessness, and his hugely impressive career as a restaurateur and entrepreneur was followed by those of broadcaster, food champion and writer.
Rick Stein’s passion for using good-quality local produce and his talent for creating delicious flavour combinations in his books and restaurants have won him a host of awards, accolades and fans. As well as presenting a number of television series, he has published many best-selling cookery books, including French Odyssey, Coast to Coast, Far Eastern Odyssey and Rick Stein’s Spain. Rick is a firm supporter of sustainable farming and fishing techniques, which he strives to maintain in Padstow, Cornwall, where he runs four acclaimed restaurants and a seafood cookery school, as well as a delicatessen and patisserie. In 2003 Rick was awarded an OBE for services to West Country tourism. He divides his time between Padstow and Australia, where he opened a restaurant, Rick Stein at Bannister’s, in 2009.