I’VE followed Rick Stein everywhere. We’ve travelled the waterways of France, trawled countless stall and family restaurants in Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Bangladesh and Bali, all in search of the authentic food of the area.
We started our travels back in the Nineties, roaming the coasts of island Britain.
Our superstar chef was trawling our coastal villages and waters for fish dishes.
I was more interested in the characters and the cultural traditions he hauled in from a net teaming with riches from this at times eccentric island of ours. And of course, Stein scenery is always stunning.
When Rick decided to spend time gliding down the French waterways in a barge, I was there.
It was after all, pure theatre and if you live in Huddersfield and know the actors of Mikron you know how dramatic life on board, in their case a narrowboat, can be.
So when Rick once again packed his satchel – have you seen the size of the shoulder bag he totes round and worried, as I do about the effect on his back – I realised that I’d have to find an hour on Thursdays to travel.
Rick wanted us to return with him to Spain. Firmly in his mind were memories of his first trip there as a child of eight.
With the help of a VW camper van, a few contacts and a determination to root out some classic rural Spanish dishes, he was off.
He, or his researchers, winkled out some great characters including the man who ran a village bar which never closes and where if there’s no-one around you help yourself and leave the money.
Where I confess to faltering on my travels with Rick Stein was when he sat down to eat a plate which he said represented every part of a pig, except the squeak.
Now that is one trough I just wouldn’t want to put my snout into thank you very much.
I’ll stick to the views and the people and leave the rural gastronomy to you thanks, Rick.