Under a Mackerel Sky,
by Rick Stein (Random House, RRP$40):
He is revered around the world for his love of food and those who produce it, for his passion for seafood and, of course, his late dog Chalkie.
But Rick Stein was not always such a much-loved celebrity chef.
As he admits, he is a bit bolshie and even a bit of a ratbag who has had a few run-ins with the law.
Stein is seafood in the United Kingdom, and his love of food and fish is a strong theme throughout his memoir. That and being willing to take big changes in life.
He almost stumbled into his life in food – the police closed him down but neglected to take away a licence to serve food. He then gradually turned into a broadcaster, food champion and writer. He runs four acclaimed restaurants in Padstow, Cornwall, as well as a seafood cookery school, and he explains how, despite having to deal with his father’s suicide, he has become the success he is today.3
Like most memoirs, there are bits that are not that interesting, but given he is a character who has led an unorthodox and diverse life, there is plenty of interesting and quirky material to keep you turning the pages.
If you have ever seen and liked him on television, it is worth reading about how he got there.