With over 20 cookery books and 30 television programs under his belt, it’s fair to say that British chef and television personality Rick Stein OBE has one of the most well versed palates the United Kingdom has to offer. On a cold Tuesday evening, Editorial Coordinator Daniel James Parry travelled to Manchester to meet Rick for an exclusive interview to celebrate and promote the release of his latest book, “Long Weekends.”
THE FOXLEY DOCKET (TFD): You’re a passionate believer in using local produce, particularly from farms and seafood – why is this so important to you?
RICK STEIN (RS): It’s just something I’ve done all my working life, really. When I opened in the mid-seventies, there wasn’t much in Cornwall that you could get that wasn’t local, simply because the transport of food has got so much more sophisticated in the past 40 years. It was normal to buy vegetables from local farmers, to use the local butchers and obviously you’d get all the fish locally. It’s not an intensely held belief, it’s just what I’m used to. I was born and brought up on a farm in Oxfordshire, so it was normal for us to use farm-grew produce to cook with, and that’s my background. My parents cooked really simple British food using top quality produce, and that’s what’s kept me going. I’m not a great proselytiser about local produce, it’s just what I do, particularly with the fish of course.
TFD: Let’s talk ‘Long Weekends’, which is new recipes taken from your travels around Europe. Which of these particularly stood out to you? Is there anything you considered unconventional which you enjoyed?
RS: There were one or two things in the book that I certainly wasn’t sure would work. I’m thinking particularly in Iceland, there’s two recipes – one is for Liquorice Meringues – they use a lot of liquorice in Iceland.
TFD: Are you a liquorice fan?
RS: I am! But it’s always been sweeties to me. But then you use the powder and it works really, really well. In the book, there’s a recipe a bit like an Eaton Mess, but instead of having whipped cream, it has chocolate cream. It’s got meringues with liquorice in it and lots of fruit to go with it, so that’s one thing.
Another of the dishes in Iceland, not that we were ever going to cook it, but we filmed me trying, was a thing called ‘stinky skate’, which is very, very rotten skate, stinking of ammonia.