‘All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why’. Rick Stein's childhood in 1950s rural Oxfordshire and North Cornwall was idyllic. His parents were charming and gregarious, their five children much-loved and given freedom typical of the time. As he grew older, the holidays were filled with loud and lively parties in his parents' Cornish barn. But ever-present was the unpredicatible mood of his bipolar father, with Rick frequently the focus of his anger and sadness.
When Rick was 18 his father killed himself. Emotionally adrift, Rick left for Australia, carrying a suitcase stamped with his father's initials. Manual labour in the outback followed by adventures in America and Mexico toughened up the naive public schoolboy, but at heart he was still lost and unsure what to do with his life. Eventually, Cornwall called him home.
From the entrepreneurial days of his mobile disco, the Purple Tiger, to his first, unlikely unlikely nightclub where much of the time was spent breaking up drink-fuelled fights, Rick charts his personal journey in a way that is both wry and perceptive; engaging and witty. Narrated by Rick Stein himself.
©2013 Rick Stein (P)2013 Random House Audiobooks
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"His life in his voice - what a treat!"
Yes - I always enjoy his soothing voice
Rick - he is honest about his own shortcomings and misdeeds
I have the Food heroes of Britain and Seafood Odyssey on DVD, but listening to his life story on audio, as I drove to work was a special treat.
Laughed at some bits, was made very hungry at some of the scrumptious descriptions of food! I was also taken aback at some things, like his father's death, and other unexpected events that were quite shocking!
Fascinating man and fascinating life.
"Honest, but tedious and unreflective"
I found him very honest especially in his discussion of his family and his relationship with his father and also his sexuality. But he displays so little maturity or self awareness, especially in relation to his relationships with women, and the events which comprised his travels. I would have preferred not to have heard this unflattering autobiography.
"Pleased Rick Stein is a chef and not a writer!"
Like most people who bought this book, I quite like Rick Stein. However being a successful chef and a competent author are rarely achievable and I regret Rick Stein is no writer and his narration is mind-blowingly boring and monotone!Like a football match this is a book of 2 halves. The 1st half before Rick Stein starts opening restaurants is a good read and enjoyable. The 2nd half however when Rick Stein starts his restaurants is, I regret pretentious twaddle. How anybody believes that listing names of wines and foods is interesting to the reader I have no idea. Furthermore I note the early in the biography Rick Stein states he wanted to be a journalist. Luckily nothing ever materialised and I'm pleased he did not succeed as the writing here is very poor. I could not see him even succeeding at a local newspaper.One thing that really annoys me about books nowadays is when the author takes quotes from other books. I never find that interesting and often I wonder why they do it unless it for ego.It's like look at me I'm well educated! It adds nothing to the book in this case.Talking about ego, Rick Stein repeats several times that people and journalists now refer to Padstow as Padstein. I read and have read quite a lot of newspapers and have been to Padstow on a number of occasions but I've never heard of this and wonder again if this is ego massaging.The last few chapters deal with the breakup of his marriage and the way it is written Rick Stein seems rather proud that he dropped Jill, his wife of 20 odd years who had stood by him through thick and thin and married Sass whom he met on a restaurant reviewing panel whilst in Australia. Rick Stein tries to make you sympathise with his position but to be honest, even from his the death of his father, I feel absolutely nothing.I put this down to poor writing.Funnily enough the stories I did enjoy in the book I'd heard before or seen on TV i.e. the situation where Keith Floyd calls him Nick and the mandolin cutting episode and in my opinion they are the funniest parts.Just to conclude, I still like Rick Stein I find him interesting though I do get irritated with the way he throws down his knife and fork on his plate after eating a meal. Also he always has a downer on what we British eat or decide not to eat. However he is entertaining but regretfully this book does nothing to promote him.One final point, I note that reviews which only give one or 2 stars are usually neg'ed by fans and as such I can't see many fans of Rick Stein getting this far in the review and I expect to receive the abuse of many Rick Stein lovers. I've tried to write when I believe to be a true reflection of my view of the book.
No, his narration is awful.
Please see long review.
"Warts and all."
Yes I have no problem recommending this book, It's well written very interesting and Rick is not afraid of highlighting some of his own personal, as he sees them "weaknesses".
However surprisingly Rick is not a great narrator considering how good he is in front of the TV cameras, but don't let that put you off he get's better as the book progresses.
"Who knew Rick was so rampant!"
Good read, lovely stories and a must read for any Rick Stein foodies out there
He read his life with real emotion, and you felt like you got to know this enigmatic chef even better
"Bought back happy memories of Cornwall & Australia"
On whole I enjoyed listening to this book but Rick Stain's voice is monotone so you couldn't pick up on emotions of the words he had written or was reading. The only time you heard some emotion was near the very end when he was telling us about his 2nd Wife and the love he has for her is very clear.
Yes but for the locations only
"Real eye opener into the life of Rick Stein"
I've watched many of Rick Stein's programmes and I have to say, I couldn't have been more wrong about the man I thought he was. I won't ruin the book by writing too much, just listen to it and make your own opinion.
Well read and on the whole, interesting to listen to, even if you end up with a very different view of the man in the end.
Take home message for me: Anyone can do anything if you've got the bottle to have a go.
"Biography or list of sexual conquests?"
No I don't think so.
His narration is quite flat.
I don't really know. It is usually best if the writer also narrates but sadly Rick Stein is not that good at the latter.
All the boring descriptions of his many sexual conquests and the details of the clothes the girls wore and the music they listened to.
"Reminds of my childhood"
Can't do this in three so...This is a really good listen although i was a little unsure in the beginning as Rick is not the best narrator in the world but then who is? His life is full of ups and downs and he pulls no punches ,is honest and to the point. All in all a good listen and if you and a childhood of dens and secret escapes then this is for you.
the travel stories and adventure and the troubles of opening a resturant and meeting my long time hero Keith Floyd .
I don't have time to read as i have other hobbies and like to stay active so i listen on the go the read is probably as good but i will never know!
Yes I did laugh but with Rick not at him
well worth getting if you biographies .
"Know the man behind the food."
Rick Stein has a very gentle and pleasing voice making Under a Mackerel Sky an easy listen.
He bares open his life which makes him far more 'human' than many celebrities. Rick begins with his early life in the family, his ups and downs his teenager, his relationships, his young adult life with his band and how he fell into becoming a cook and how ultimately food and its complex flavours and preparation made him the chef and businessman the country is so proud of.
He touches on some of the wines and countries that have influenced him, hours he's readily given to the business and his utter love for life and it's conservation.
His description of favours of individual foods and how simple ingredients put together can make a masterpiece. How decor can enhance the experience.
Chalky! what a large part the love of a small dog can enhance our characters as humans.
The death of his father.
I would have like to hear more about the food and less about the band.
"Always liked Rick Stein, like him even more now!"
It's the only autobiography I've read/listened to, and so it has to be the best :)
Rick has a real go get it attitude and that's how he's built up his business just by seizing opportunities and not letting his failures curb his enthusiasm
I have always thought that his French Odyssey adventure was one of his best and getting an insight into this and realising that most of what we saw was actually how it happened was really good, and him admitting to really enjoying it himself too.
After his ' bad choice' that led to a car crash, don't want to spoil it , but it is good to learn from our mistakes and feel humbled by them.
Never been tempted to read/listen to any biographies, but after this I Will definitely be trying another one :)
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