Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 55, Tuesday February 17, 2009




Relishing Rick

For those in love with food and everything and everyone to do with it, getting acquainted with a celebrity chef is as close to having a dream come true! On the morning of Wednesday, 11 Feb 2009, Rick Stein, the famous chef from Cornwall, arrived in Dhaka, along with a crew of six, including himself, on a mission to film a series of cookery shows in parts of Bangladesh.

Born in Oxfordshire, Stein moved to Padstow, Cornwall where he had spent many childhood holidays. Stein opened his first business in Padstow in 1974, and now specialises in fish cookery, his favourite being all kinds of seafood. His business operates four restaurants, The Seafood Restaurant, St Petroc's Bistro, Rick Stein's Café and Stein's Fish & Chips, each a walloping success on its own. Alongside these, he also owns a bistro, a cafe, a seafood delicatessen, patisserie shop, a gift shop and a cookery school. His impact on the local economy of Padstow is such that it has been nicknamed "Padstein" despite the phrase being openly disputed by Rick himself.

He has cooked for many famous people including the Queen and Prince Philip, Tony Blair and French President Jacques Chirac. And one of his many famous books, 'English Seafood Cookery', won the Glenfiddich Award for Food Book of the Year in 1989.

As well as running his business, Stein has become a popular television presenter on food, and among his many passions is his desire to travel to remote areas in search of new, exotic foods and ingredients, and to explore and showcase them for the rest of the world.

Stein has written and presented a number of cookery series on BBC television including Rick Stein's Taste of the Sea, Fruits of the Sea, Seafood Odyssey, Fresh Food, Seafood Lovers' Guide, Food Heroes, and in 2005 French Odyssey in which he undertakes a gastronomic tour across France by barge from Bordeaux to Marseille. His coming to Bangladesh is part of his excursion to film episodes that is to part of his most recent series, named 'Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey'.

On an exclusive interview with Star Lifestyle, the extremely amiable celebrity chef admitted that this was his very first time in Bangladesh, and he expressed an instant liking to the country and the extremely friendly people. He also acknowledged that one of the main reasons for his choosing to come to Bangladesh, was to trace the history of the 'curry', which so many people abroad mistake as being part of the Indian cuisine, but which is actually very much a part of the Bangladeshi palette; so much so, that it is now part of our culture. He says, “The spicy flavour of the different varieties of curry, that is so popular in the UK today, is so overwhelming, that we feel we owe something to Bangladesh, and we want to showcase that to the rest of the world.”

In his exploration of the Far East, Stein has also included countries like Cambodia and Sri Lanka, as well a few others, and on asking why he hasn't covered India and China, he says, “India and China have already had such a huge media coverage before, and also has an extremely strong impact on the food and culture of their surrounding countries, and it is these surrounding countries that we would like to uphold and put special emphasis on since they have long been overshadowed.”

Rick Stein and his team will be staying in Bangladesh for nine days, in which they will visit and showcase parts of Dhaka and Sylhet. When asked, he has expressed an immense desire to come back soon and explore more of the country because, “there is simply so much to see; its a place of some many hidden treasures!”

Bangladesh will be the last of the places to cover for his Far Eastern Odyssey, and the series is due to on air on BBC, sometime in April this year.

By Farina Noireet

Through different eyes

Hyang Sook Choy came recently to Dhaka to give master classes in piano to the students of Ecole de Musique. Choy, a Korean, was inspired to learn music when she was five, when she saw another neighbouring girl learn it in her hometown Posan, Korea. "First I got private lessons at home. I then moved on to vocal and majored in vocal from a music high school. Later I changed my major to Music Composition and studied at the university. I wanted to take a break from my musical career and applied to an NGO to serve in some third world country. Strangely enough I got the job of teaching piano in Dhaka."

On her first day in Dhaka, Choy felt overwhelmed with her new situation but later she realised that she would love to stay on and work here. "What fascinated me most was that the people here loved their country. Everyday the children here accosted me with "Eta to Shonar Bangla. Bangladesh bhalo lagey?" As for the food, it took her a year to adjust to it. She managed to handle the sari quick enough. Choy taught both basic and advanced students and from the outset there were over a hundred of them. Along with the practical she taught music theory, music history and sight singing. She also taught them harmony and composition.

Choy, who left Bangladesh ten years back, worked here for two years, and this time she stayed a few weeks. She hopes to come back for a longer time and stay with friends here, and work as before. "When I went back, I missed Bangladesh everyday. When I taught, there was no time to be bored. Compared to Dhaka, there was not the same challenge with the students in Korea, and the students there had not the same passion."

Choy says that her favourite composers are Brahms, Chopin and Beethoven. "Although Brahms lived in a romantic period, his music is very substantial. He delivered a strong message through his music. Chopin too is moving," says Choy. Apart from teaching, she says, "I learnt to wear the sari and enjoy the Bangladeshi curry. I seeped myself in the local way of living. I went to the countryside to places like Cox's Bazar, Rangamati, Kurrigram, Cheelmari, Khulna and Faridpur. The trees, hills and rivers of these places fascinated me. What I liked best about these places was that they were not polluted."

"I'm very proud of my students, who today are teachers themselves. These include people like Mehjabeen Rehman and Chistopher Gomes. I feel my students have more rapport with the young learners as they can speak Bangla. I believe that in ten more years Bangladesh will be like other promising developing countries in the east, like Korea and Japan. The people here are warm, understanding and eager to reach out to you, and that is important.

"When I started out, there were eight pianos and books from overseas. These helped a long way."

Right now Choy is doing her masters in Chicago in Intercultural Studies.

She keeps in touch with her students in Bangladesh through the e-mail, and fortunately they are good correspondents. Her students in Bangladesh, says Choy, are like a tree that has developed from a small seed. Christopher, for instance, has more students today than she did.

By Fayza Haq

pop up

Water stains on your brand-new, personal favourite, wooden tea table is surely very unpleasant. But they are almost inevitable with extensive use of the table. Watermarks on wood stains can be removed in a very simple way. Just rub mayonnaise onto the stain, allow it to sit overnight, and then wipe off with a dry towel. For a quicker cleaning, mix equal parts of baking soda and regular white, non-gel toothpaste. Lightly dampen a corner of a clean, soft white cloth with water and dip into the paste. With circular motion gently rub the marks for a few minutes. Wipe area clean, and buff to a shine in minutes!


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