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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rick Stein Odyssey
I have always been a fan of Rick Stein and had to read this book as soon as it dropped through my letter box. 4 days later I have finished it and enjoyed every page. We all tend to form a view of a person in the hot light of celebrity but he manages to show a lot of his inner man. I was as curious about his divorce, remarriage, early life and his life with Chalky as any,...
Published 15 months ago by Paul Comerford

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Love Rick Stein programmes so thought the book would be ...
Love Rick Stein programmes so thought the book would be good. It was not as interesting as I thought it would be, rather patronising in fact. His privileged upbringing shines through in the way that things just fall into place for him because of the people he or his family know. Even on his trip to Australia whilst very young he did not suffer from lack of contacts or...
Published 2 months ago by MRS C E VINCE


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rick Stein Odyssey, 27 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Under a Mackerel Sky (Hardcover)
I have always been a fan of Rick Stein and had to read this book as soon as it dropped through my letter box. 4 days later I have finished it and enjoyed every page. We all tend to form a view of a person in the hot light of celebrity but he manages to show a lot of his inner man. I was as curious about his divorce, remarriage, early life and his life with Chalky as any, but he has produced a work which rings a bell in my own mind.

Under a Mackerel Sky (a sign of bad weather) gives a strong account of his life, priveleged to a point, but this is never a divisive issue. He is not the hero of the book - his family and friends are. And the late, great Chalky, of course. Because of this we are able to see the young man trying to get over his father's suicide, his own insecurity, and his need to 'tough it out'. His mother must have been a very strong woman and comes across as such. She is worth his praise which is heartfelt.

He tends to be the lummox in his stories and he deals with self-doubt as do I - meet it head on and nut it: not terribly wise but very much the essence of a stubborn man. He treats his first wife, and business partner, with respect and levels no criticism at her. He sets himself up as the target for frowns if required, but he seems to me to be pretty honest. His slow rise to fame, by hard work and bloody mindedness shows grit. His success should show him he is a liked man, and the book shows he just may have reached a point where he can relax a little.

He is very proud of his children, extended family and friends and gives them all great value in this autobiography. There is enough about cooking, travel and culinary exploration to satisfy foodies, and enough about Padstow to bolster the local economy for years to come. Overall this is a very good read and he is a far better writer than he may realise. My only hope is he writes another with Chalky as the hero.

I highly recomment this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into a complex and talented man, 23 Jan 2014
By 
Mr. N. Cresswell "Nick Cresswell" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Under a Mackerel Sky (Kindle Edition)
Under a Mackeral Sky was bought for me as a Christmas gift, along with a few other books. Whilst deciding which to read first, I picked this up and it remained the firm favourite until I finished it.

Rick Stein's TV appearances have - for me - always portayed a talented man but with a hint of vulnerability and insecurity that makes him somehow very endearing. Whilst some of his shows are more compelling than others, I often wondered what had shaped the man. In his shows he'd drop in anecdotes about an early career at the Great Western Hotel and his travels in Australia, but I always wondered what inspired him to cook.

The book reveals how a lot of his motivation came from memories of his mother and father and their Oxfordshire farm in the 1950s and 1960s. He paints a picture of a different sort of England and one that you can see him striving to recreate with his style of cooking and his interest in the people he calls 'food heroes'.

His journey through late adolescence, losing his father and his 'escape' to Australia further cement the story of a man desperately looking for his purpose, but sort of taking his time in doing so. The success that was to follow is fascinating, not for it's own sake, but for how he and his wife worked so hard for nearly 20 years in Padstow before anyone beyond their own circle knew who they were.

There are anecdotes aplenty about the restaurant business, rising to fame and becoming the success we know his as today. However, the last few chapters of the book descend into a list of of each of his TV series and what happened during their making - these all seem to blend after the first two or three.

Finally in his acknowledgements, he thanks his new wife Sas, his boys and his hard working staff, but makes no mention of Jill Newstead, his first wife and busines partner during those difficult early days. This left me with a tinge of sadness and maybe slightly less sympathy for the hero of our story.

Still, a good read and I feel richer having seen a glimpse of life through the eyes of one of my food heroes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Under a mackerel sky, 26 Nov 2013
This review is from: Under a Mackerel Sky (Kindle Edition)
This book is a breath of fresh air! Rick stein describes his life in so much depth, which keeps you intrigued until the very end. It's so interesting you struggle to put the book down. I think it's splendid.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 26 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Under a Mackerel Sky (Kindle Edition)
I so enjoyed this book.

As I read it I could hear Rick Stein dictating it. There was a wonderful mixture of nostalgia, food and real life.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A poignant and very human read, 4 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Under a Mackerel Sky (Kindle Edition)
This book is beautifully written. I have enjoyed Rick's programmes ever since I first saw him on a Keith Floyd programme. This autobiography really brought home to me the trials, tribulations and joys of everyone's lives even some one well known like Rick. Also, and very importantly, I became quite emotional when he wrote about Chalkie getting old - apparently, I was the first person to ask him for Chalkie's autograph rather than his!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth the wait, a truely memorable read, 27 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Under a Mackerel Sky (Kindle Edition)
A slowish start,but I suppose most early life stories are the same.The true character of Rick Stein comes into being, a hard working,trying everything man who eventually reaps just rewards. The book also reflects his weaknesses and fears, not always the man you have seen so confidently on the tv screen.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Overall an interesting read, 4 Nov 2014
By 
Mrs Ferret (Wirral, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under a Mackerel Sky (Kindle Edition)
There's no doubt about it, Rick Stein is an intelligent, interesting man. He does come from a privileged background which has enabled him to do things many others can only dream of but he's also had sadness in his life notably the death of his father which still seems to haunt him. But there's no denying his passion for food & that comes across very well in this book.
On the downside, I found the vast number of people in the book overwhelming. Everybody he's ever met seemed to have a mention which was probably exciting for them but boring for me. I wasn't keen on all the quotes nor on the long descriptions of the food - I'd have bought a recipe book if that was what I wanted.
But I did feel by the end of the book that I'd got an insight into his life through his eyes & while he's a better chef than he is a writer, it was a good read. His love of Cornwall shone through in his descriptions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Under a Mackerel Sky, 2 Dec 2013
This review is from: Under a Mackerel Sky (Kindle Edition)
Really well written ! I now see Rick Stein in a totally different light!!! Would definitely recommend it. Gives a real insight into the man.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a lovely autobiography which I can strongly recommend, 1 Dec 2013
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This review is from: Under a Mackerel Sky (Kindle Edition)
This is a lovely autobiography - I simply cannot think of a better adjective to describe this charming story of Rick Stein's life, which describes his failures and successes, both culinary and personal. Beautifully and simply written, the reader quickly becomes involved in Rick's day-to-day life, from the 1950s when he was a small boy right up to the present time. One realizes - not surprisingly - that there is a great deal more to his personality than is visible in his television persona.

I particularly enjoyed this book because I was able to empathize with so many of his experiences: from the places he knows, through school, the swinging 1960s, parties and girlfriends, to his love of Australia. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read, which I can recommend to anybody.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A truly delightful book, 9 Dec 2014
This review is from: Under a Mackerel Sky (Paperback)
I’m a huge Rick Stein fan, and have a number of his books.

Under a Mackerel Sky (a sign of bad weather) is touchingly honest, and delightfully written - you can really hear his voice coming through in the words. His TV personality comes across with him being confident, so it was touching to read his account of self-doubt and insecurity.

I was also pleasantly surprised to find the book focuses on his early years, when he’s struggling to work out what he wants to do with his life, and trying to come to terms with the death of his father.

His high-profile divorce, and of course chalky are mentioned, but only really in passing, which was totally appropriate for the book. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.
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