Here's why Rick Stein has changed the way I eat forever
Rick Stein may be just a chef to you, but to me he is an inspiring man who has revolutionised my outlook on food
Where did this all start?
It all started two years ago. When I was given homework by my German teacher to learn about the various influences German culture has had on their food. My teacher gave me two videos to watch which were both by a man called Rick Stein.
Before I found out about Stein, I already had a huge interest in food and cooking. I would regularly help my parents prepare meals in the kitchen. Among which included: curried lentils, a multitude of curries, seafood, cakes, biscuits along with other kitchen essentials such as omelettes and beans on toast.
Who is Rick Stein and why is he important to me?
Rick Stein is a famous British chef who is known for his seafood TV programmes. As, er, my homework, I watched both episodes Steins "Long Weekends" and straight away I was addicted. But how could one man change the way I perceive food?
As I watched Stein sample currywurst from Berlin and veal schnitzel from Vienna, not only did I learn about the history of many countries, I also observed the way Stein enjoyed life simply through the world of food.
Some of the best fish I ever ate. This photo was taken at my first ever visit to Barnes – Rick Stein's restaurant in Richmond
I'd like to think of it as a healthy obsession
I was besotted with this man. Over the next few weeks, I binge watched all the episodes of "Long Weekends" as well as watching shows such as Road to Mexico and his Far Eastern Odyssey series. I have eaten at several of his restaurants, my favourite of which is the Barnes restaurant, which gives you a wonderful view of the River Thames.
It was not only this that changed my life, it was also the fact that Stein introduced me to my favourite cuisine, seafood. Rick Stein has had huge success with seafood. Go into one of his restaurants and his menu is completely flooded with fancy seafood options, including the traditional choice of fish and chips.
Stein's heyday may have been long before I was born but he still manages to inspire me to this very day. Rick Stein taught me that the joy is not in simply what you eat, it's how you eat it, where you eat it and also how it's prepared.
His various trips to Lisbon, Copenhagen and Thessaloniki showed me how food is more than a calorie boost. He taught me cafe etiquette in Vienna, how the wine from Bordeaux must be put in a room with minimal noise and how Greek cooking is a family affair. This type of knowledge goes beyond anything that a classroom could ever teach me.
Another snapshot of my visit to Rick Stein Barnes. Pictured here is a chocolate brownie with clotted cream. H
How else has he changed my life?
Stein has not only altered the way I see food, he also kick started my love for travel – I have since been obsessed with the cultures of other countries. Even though it may seem boring, I enjoy watching Stein prepare seafood dishes in his Cornwall cottage. I may not have liked every single thing that he cooked but I admired what he did.
It also helps that I am obsessed with the German culture because Stein, as his surname hints, is of German descent. From the moment I watched his Berlin episode, I started becoming somewhat fixated on German food culture and two years later, I have an A in my German GCSE and a passion bigger than ever to live and pursue a career in Germany.
What am I really trying to say?
I am definitely not saying that Stein is the greatest chef to have walked this earth. I am simply trying to demonstrate that he taught me that cooking is more than just a pass time; it can be anything you want it to be. If you are going to eat food, take in the surroundings, embrace the culture and lose yourself in that very first bite.
I may not be the typical Stein fan – most of them are much older than I am and they remember Stein as a seafood chef who has simply has lost his edge in recent years. But if there is one thing that I have learnt from the chef, it's that someones accomplishments should not be held to a specific era but they should be constantly updated as the person evolves with time.
Rick Stein may not be one of the most popular chefs, but he is important to me. He has shown me a completely different perspective on the world of food, and that is something I am forever grateful for.