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Caterersearch.com 100: Rick Stein

01 July 2010
Caterersearch.com 100: Rick Stein

Overall ranking: 41

Chef ranking: 11

Rick Stein - Snapshot

Rick Stein is the self-taught celebrity chef and restaurateur whose Seafood Restaurant put Padstow and north Cornwall firmly on the map. Stein's passion for seafood helped spark a similar appetite in the public, which has lapped up the 11 books he has written since 1988 and numerous television series that began in 1995. He runs four restaurants, a pub, a cookery school and three shops in Padstow as well as a seafood eaterie in nearby Falmouth. Last year Stein opened his first overseas venture, in Australia.

Rick Stein - Career guide

Stein, who was born in Oxfordshire in 1947, moved to Padstow in north Cornwall in 1965. He partially completed a hotel management traineeship with British Transport Hotels at its Great Western hotel in Paddington, London, before taking an English degree at Oxford.

It was joined by a café in 1995, St Petroc's Bistro and Hotel in 1997 and a deli in the late 1990s. Stein then added the Padstow Seafood School and Stein's Gift Shop in 2000, St Edmund's House in 2001, a pÁ¢tisserie in 2003 and a fish and chip shop in 2004.

2009 proved busy for the chef. In February he took over the lease of a local pub in St Merryn just two miles from Padstow. Stein, together with business partner and ex-wife, Jill, signed a 15-year lease with the St Austell Brewery for the Cornish Arms pub. Then in October, Stein opened, with his fiancée, publicist Sarah Burns, Rick Stein at Bannisters in Mollymook, on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. In November he revealed details of his first UK venture outside Padstow - a fish and chip shop in Falmouth, which opened in April 2010.

Rick Stein - What we think

Seafood and Rick Stein go together like cod and chips. The chef, whose cuisine is marked by simply-cooked top-notch ingredients, much of them sourced daily from local fishermen, has an infectious passion for fish. As he says: "Nothing is more exhilarating than fresh fish simply cooked."

For 20 years Stein remained something of an industry secret until his friendship with the late Keith Floyd catapulted him into the national consciousness with his first TV series, Taste of the Sea, in 1995.

While his television career went from strength to strength, starring in programmes such as Fruits of the Sea, Seafood Odyssey, Fresh Food, Seafood Lovers' Guide, Food Heroes and, in 2005 French Odyssey, Stein continued to win plaudits for his cooking at the Seafood Restaurant.

It has retained three AA-rosettes as well as scooping the Good Hotel Guide's Cesar Award in 1995, the Egon Ronay Restaurant of the Year accolade in 1996, and the AA's English Seafood Restaurant of the Year award in 2002.

When Stein won the 1999 Chef Award Catey, the judges described him as "a true chef's chef" and he was voted the Chef's Chef the following year by the AA. His passion for the industry at large is reflected in his efforts to raise cooking standards. He opened his seafood cookery school in 2000 and, in 2004, launched an interactive training programme to improve health and safety practices in catering.

Stein, who was appointed OBE in 2003 for services to West Country tourism, is also involved in local and national campaigns to raise standards among fishmongers and to conserve endangered fish stocks.

Stein's imprint can also be found on the highly successful London neighbourhood restaurants run by one of his protégés, Sam Harrison. Stein has given financial backing to Sam's Brasserie in Chiswick and Harrison's in Balham and is on hand for support whenever Harrison needs it.

In November 2009 Stein opened his first overseas venture, at Bannisters luxury lodge on Australia's New South Wales coast. The restaurant's menu is centred on seasonal Australian produce and local seafood. In April 2010 Stein and business partner Jill Stein opened a new seafood restaurant and oyster bar in Falmouth, marking his first Cornish venture outside Padstow.

Rick Stein - Further information

Rick Stein's Fish & Chips, Falmouth >>

Interview with Rick Stein and Sam Harrison on the opening of Harrison's >>

Rick Stein takes over lease on local Cornish pub >>

Read more about the Caterersearch.com 100, the list of the most influential people here >>

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