Belfast Telegraph

Jack Stein: I once left fish in the oven for two days

Chef Jack Stein talks about memories and his career

By Ella Walker

Jack Stein, son of Rick, is chef director of the Stein enterprise - and is a new first-time dad to boot, both to his debut cookbook, Jack Stein's World On A Plate, and his baby son, Milo. Here he chats about the highs and lows of his food career.

Stein's earliest food memory...

"Oysters in Brittany, aged 4. Dad said, 'These taste of the sea,' and he's like, 'That's a good thing, because it's a very pure, natural flavour', and when you're that young, you are pretty experimental. People eat slugs and snails, it's a bit of the gross-out factor, bit of the older brother goading me to do it, and the fact of the matter is, he told me what it was going to taste of, so I was prepared."

His earliest memory of being in the kitchen...

"I guess just helping dad, making fish stock. We were always putting stock on, fish or chicken, chopping up bits of leek, learning that everything that's green and white can go in - mushrooms, onions, celery - and all the bits in the fridge going off. That's important, because cooking is a very frugal pastime -everything gets used."

His ultimate kitchen disaster...

"I've had a few nightmares. I've had loads! I left a dover sole in the oven for two days once and forgot about it, and came back to it - it'd gone from about half a foot to the size of your finger, it was so shrivelled and weird-looking. Typical humour in the kitchen, everyone was like, 'Your dover's ready', I was like, 'Oh...a dehydrated dover sole'."

His culinary high moment...

"I did a course for the Food & Travel Awards and I got to do the first course. I did one of my own dishes. It was at the Mandarin Oriental, we did the starter and Paul Ainsworth from Padstow did the main course, so we all worked together in the kitchen. It was great fun."

Jack Stein's World On A Plate, published by Absolute Press, £26

Jack Stein's World On A Plate, published by Absolute Press, £26

Belfast Telegraph


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