Jack Stein’s Foodie Loves & Hates

The chef and author tells us what he loves and hates in the kitchen 


It’s one of the most versatile ingredients because you can use it in almost anything. It’s guaranteed to add a wonderful depth of umami flavour to gravies, sauces and even Asian dishes, such as chilli crab.

I’ve always loved spicy food as I’ve been going to Asia and India for as long as I can remember. I especially like spice in the
morning as it helps to wake me up. During the evenings, spice is also a good match for fruity, hoppy India Pale Ales like St Austell Brewery’s Proper Job. I am not one for eating the hottest thing on a menu, I just love the sensation of spicy food with a cool refreshing beer.

I could probably eat raw fish every single day of the week. Any way you want to serve it to me I will eat it – from sashimi to carpaccio to ceviche. I also love fruits de mer – oysters, winkles and scallops served cold on a platter. I find raw fish and
shellfish so moreish and easy to prepare. It all comes down to finding the freshest, best quality ingredients.

A roast dinner is a thing of beauty when done well. Sourcing the best quality meat is essential, so for me it’s always beef from Philip Warren Butchers in Launceston, near my home in Cornwall. I treat my roast potatoes like a science, gravy is a work of art and the vegetables should come together like a symphony. It tests the skills of any chef and for me it’s so important to get just right.


I don’t like quiche or any cold egg product in fact. I can’t get behind it – it’s too stodgy, the texture is weird and I’m afraid it’s just not for me.

There’s just no need for it. In Steins restaurants, we encourage communication and education in the kitchen. You can’t teach
somebody, or help them progress further in their career, by shouting at them. I hate macho chefs. We want to create a culture that breeds positivity and encourages young chefs to stay working in the industry.

People not phoning a restaurant to cancel a reservation, is just rude. A table can be rebooked if the restaurant knows that there’s been a change of plan. These things happen but, out of courtesy, people should phone the restaurant if they can no longer make it.

I like watermelon, but regular melon is a complete no go for me. I lived in Australia when I was 19 years old and once picked honeydew melons in 40-degree heat, which might have something to do with my dislike for them. I just can’t get on board with the flavour or texture of melons either. Even adding goats cheese doesn’t help, so I know they’re not for me!