I discovered Rick Stein in the mid-eighties just after I had opened Krimo's at Seaton Carew. I
immediately became a fan of his. The reason might have been because I had felt some sort of kindred spirit when I found out that he, too was a self-taught chef.
A few of the locations he visits are off the beaten track and never previously advertised or thought of as popular holiday destinations.
A couple of weeks ago, as I was flicking between television channels, I stumbled upon his visit to Thessaloniki, in Northern Greece. As I happen to have visited that port during my sailing days back in the late Seventies, I enjoyed watching the entire programme.
When I realised that it was part of series of episodes, I decided to click on the automatic record button to watch them in my spare time.
What a joy it has been to discover the various cities he has visited! From Copenhagen to Bordeaux, Reykjavik to Lisbon, etc...
I would go from city to town, village to hamlet, from North to South, East to West, sampling local foods cooked by chefs, housewives, amateur cooks, and stall holders. Anyone who would let me break bread with them while sipping some tea, coffee, wine or beer.
I would share my table with anyone who would dine with me and regale me with tales of their faraway life and traditions.
A click of the fingers and I am in a Madrid food market, hopping from stall to stall, tasting morsels of freshly baked breads, marinated meats, pickled vegetables, colourful olives and sipping full-bodied Rioja.
The next minute, I will be wolfing down the lightest pizza Marguerita in the World, to the sound of Tarantella, in a noisy Naples backstreet.