From shucking oysters to making fish stock with Dad Rick, these are Jack Stein's cooking memories

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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.

We grabbed him to chat 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."

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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. You think it's
just a piece of food on your plate, but the whole kitchen runs on
efficiency and making sure you use up everything."

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 God, 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 is published by Absolute Press, priced
£26. Photography Paul Winch-Furness. Available Now.

Catherine Devane