Rick Stein: Why TV chef was ‘too tired’ to continue work in kitchens

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Rick Stein has become something of a mainstay in the homes of countless Britons around the country. The TV chef and broadcasting legend has passed on tips and tricks of the trade from around the world.

His first appearance came on the BBC’s “Floyd on Fish”, 1985, in which Keith Floyd called him “Nick” several times.

Since then Mr Stein has managed to secure a reel of television spin-offs and longer lasting series’.

His TV career has been particularly lucrative, having taken him all around the world.

He’s visited places as far-flung as Japan, as exotic as Mexico – in each country bringing something unique back home to Britain.

Yet, his career in cooking wasn’t always as plain-sailing as it might appear – certainly not taking a traditional route into the culinary world.

Mr Stein flunked school and found himself on a trip to Australia shortly after his father’s death, as a 19-year-old.

Working as a labourer in an abattoir, and later a clerk in a naval dockyard, Mr Stein likely never had a career as a TV chef in mind.

After taking time out to travel in New Zealand, Mr Stein returned to the UK.

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Here, a successful application to Oxford saw him gain a degree in English.

After graduation, he converted a mobile disco into a quayside nightclub.

It was here that the club became famous for its freeze-dried curries.

But after several skirmishes with the police, the club was shut down.

It did, however, keep its food license, and so continued as a restaurant, subsequently becoming Mr Stein’s first established eatery.


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Having gone on to open restaurants around the world, from Cornwall to Australia, Mr Stein revealed during a 2019 interview with You Magazine how working in the fast-paced environment of a kitchen gradually took its toll.

Mr Stein’s now past retirement age but explained how he’s happy to remain in the industry.

However, he admitted: “I suppose I’m lucky.

“I did a lot of time in kitchens, working all hours, but I did get tired in the end, by the time I was 50.

“It was just too busy, too big a kitchen to carry on.”

Establishing such a rich career in a particular field inevitably opens up several paths to relationships and friendships with those you work with.

Through filming around the world, Mr Stein became close friends with the director David Pritchard.

The pair worked together on several of Mr Stein’s food shows, and, earlier on duriing the interview, Mr Stein revealed how despite their close friendship, the two disagreed on the divisive Brexit.

While Mr Stein’s series exploring food in France was in production, David died from cancer.

Mr Stein explained: “We all knew that he was going to die.

“We just wanted to make this series as nostalgia for a country that we both loved.

“I’ve filmed in France with David ever since we began making TV together 30 years ago and I wanted to share it with him.

“Funnily enough David voted to leave the European Union -and, I voted to stay.”

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