As presenters of TV food shows go, Rick Stein is a rarity. His style is thoughtful, reflective, never over the top, and never all about him. It’s the cuisine and the culture he wants us to focus on.
HIs latest TV series sees him journeying from California to Mexico. The last time he had been in Mexico was nearly 50 years ago. I’ve see three episodes so far and they have been wonderful.
You always feel you are there with Stein as he make this way through a crowded food market or tastes a dish in a restaurant. You can tell that some of the dishes he tastes leave him underwhelmed, but he’s too polite to say that to the chef or restaurant owner. Instead he’ll say, “Yes, it’s very good”, or just nod.
There’s a humility and an almost child-like quality in Stein as he goes on his travels. He maybe a famous TV chef and personality, but he comes to discover and learn something new from the people he meets. He treats someone cooking hearty comfort food in a tiny kitchen in a back street somewhere or in their home with the same respect as a Michelin star chef at a fancy restaurant.
In episode three he journeyed to a trendy restaurant called in Taqueria Criollo in the coastal city of Ensenada on Mexico’s Baja Peninsula, where he met Tania Ganja and Memo Barrett and tried crispy tacos filled with mashed potatoes and crowned with shrimp aguachile and watermelon escabeche. “Seafood tacos for the social media generation,” he remarked in typical Stein fashion.