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Rick Stein is one of my food heroes. His TV series, part cookery shows/part travelogues, were one of the first food-related shows that I got into as a kid. I must have been around 13 or 14 when I started watching him on BBC2. He is always so passionate about cooking, and his passion and enthusiasm is contagious when you watch him. His journeys around the world, discovering other peoples’ way of cooking and eating, make me want to pack my bags and sail off somewhere too!

Rick Stein, From Venice To Istanbul, Cookbook,

So when he came to Dublin last weekend, I decided to go to the book signing and meet the man himself. I don’t really go to many book signings – the last one was in 2012 when I went to meet Nigella, another childhood food hero of mine.

Rick Stein, Dubray Books, From Venice To Istanbul, Book Signing

Rick Stein’s new cookbook is called From Venice To Istanbul, and it accompanies the BBC series of the same name. It’s actually the first book of his that I’ve bought myself (although his recipe for Hake and Chorizo is one of my favourite fish recipes). When I got to the top of the queue I introduced myself and told him that he was one of the TV chefs that inspired to me to start cooking – which seemed to please him! He was a genuinely lovely person to meet. I’m always wary of meeting famous people that I admire, in case they’re not actually as they appear on TV, but he was. Like Nigella, who was warm and friendly, he seemed happy to meet his fans. I told him that I now write about food too and that I have my own blog. It was one of those brilliant fan moments – where you imagine how your younger self would be thrilled to bits to be here.

Right, I’m off to catch up on the BBC series now (I missed some of the episodes), and to choose which recipe I’m going to make first! And to dream of sailing around the world on a foodie adventure…

You can buy From Venice To Istanbul online here

You can watch parts of the BBC series here