The Rick Stein group is synonymous with seafood and its flagship restaurant in Sandbanks, Dorset, is creating waves of success on the south coast…

Rick Stein CBE is known worldwide for his successful career as an English chef, restaurateur, cookery book author and television presenter. Best known for a love of fresh seafood, he made his name in the 90s with his earliest books and television series based on his life as chef and co-owner of The Seafood Restaurant which opened in the fishing port of Padstow in Cornwall in 1975.

Since then this has grown to include 12 restaurants, hotel rooms, self-catering accommodation, foodie shops and a cookery school. The Stein business now employs over 650 and extends beyond Cornwall with restaurants in Winchester, Marlborough, Barnes in London, and Sandbanks, here in Dorset.

The Rick Stein restaurant in Sandbanks opened its doors in 2015. With views overlooking the water, the self-titled ‘Rick Stein’ restaurant seats around 200 and offers classic seafood dishes.

Rick tells us: “Sandbanks was the perfect place for a good fish restaurant. I've had my eye on it ever since I passed through about 15 years ago when I travelled the coast of Britain to make the Seafood Lovers’ Guide for the BBC. Somewhere to drop in for local lemon sole, oysters or crab I thought, and now my dream has come true.”

In charge of the kitchen at Rick Stein, Sandbanks, is head chef Pete Murt, 33. Born and bred in Padstow, Pete grew up in the small fishing village with his mum, dad and sister.

In 2000 at the age of sixteen he began working at St Petroc’s Bistro as a kitchen porter. He worked in the kitchen for two years before travelling across Thailand for six months.

Pete returned to St Petroc’s Bistro and began working as a commis chef. It was here that he realised his passion for cooking and over the next four years he progressed from a commis chef to a chef de partie. Pete’s other passion was travelling, so for six months he explored Central America, Asia and Australia.

When returning to Padstow, in 2007 Pete moved to The Seafood Restaurant, securing the role as chef de partie and soon progressed to sous chef. Here he worked alongside head chef Stephane Delourme for five and a half years.

In 2012 Pete moved to London and worked at two Michelin stared Hibiscus Restaurants as chef de partie for a couple of years before going travelling again.

In 2015 Pete returned to The Seafood Restaurant and was offered the role as head chef at Rick Stein, Sandbanks - where he has led the team since November, 2015.

Pete tells Dorset Living: “I fell into cooking really and got into it from the age of 14 whilst at school. When I finished I went travelling, gaining experience as a kitchen porter and built myself up to chef de parti, sous chef and head chef.

“A lot of my family are fisherman so this was a natural progression for me. I’ve always been very hands on and being part of a big family meant I’m used to seeing them working live crabs and lobsters - it’s a good laugh and part of my family roots.

“My mum always says I get my culinary skills from her - she went to cookery school and my gran was a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef,” continues Pete. “I enjoy the banter of the kitchen - when you’re young especially, it’s good fun in the kitchen.

“We’re not a chain it’s a brand so it’s important to ensure all the restaurants are unique in their own way. Rick Stein Sandbanks has a coastal theme and the menu style is mainly fish and shellfish, including Brownsea Island Oysters, but there’s also meat on the menu.

“The menu is inspired by Rick’s travels, including Tashimi, Mexican dishes, classic British dishes and Indonesian curries,” explains Pete.

“Rick certainly inspires me - just the way he is. He is genuinely a nice guy, what you see on TV is what you get.

Stephane Delourme was also a great person to work for and showed me how you should be a head chef; how to work with other people and organise a kitchen. As a head chef it’s important to talk to people, listen and coach them to help get them into the industry. It’s important to treat people how you want to be treated yourself.

“I love the adrenalin of a busy service and the banter - I have a great team here at Sandbanks. I love it in Dorset. Sandbanks is a great place to walk and we have amazing views here.”

Pete will be at a range of 2018 food festivals this year including; Swanage Fish Festival in June; Wimborne Minster Festival running June 8-10; and Taste of the South, July 21-22, at Chapel Gate in Christchurch.

Any advice for budding chefs?

“It’s not an easy job, especially when you’re at the bottom of the pile. Work in a good kitchen and get as much hands-on experience as possible. Learn all you can from different people and go travelling if you can. Work in different restaurants for a few years so by the time you’re in your 20s you may have worked in several kitchens and you’ll be in a good position to look for a sous chef position. Push on and if you’re dedicated you’ll be a decent rounded chef.”


Classic fish soup with rouille and croûtons

I love fish soup. It’s a deeply satisfying dish. You can use almost any fish for this apart from the oily ones. Fillet all the fish as described on pages 20–28. Use the bones with the water to make a fish stock (see page 310).

Alternative fish: any except for oily fish like herring, kingfish, mackerel or salmon

(Recipe featured in ‘Rick Stein Fish & Shellfish’ cookery book, out now)

Serves 4

1kg mixed fish such as gurnard, conger eel, cod and grey mullet

1.2 litres water

90ml olive oil

75g each onion, celery, leek and fennel, roughly chopped

3 garlic cloves, sliced

Juice of 1/2 orange plus 2 strips of orange zest

200g canned chopped tomatoes

1 red pepper, seeded and sliced

1 bay leaf

1 sprig of thyme

A pinch of saffron strands

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

100g unpeeled prawns

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the croûtons

1 small baguette

Olive oil, for frying

1 garlic clove

1/2 quantity Rouille (See page 311)

25g Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Heat the olive oil in a large pan, add the vegetables and garlic and cook gently for 20 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the orange zest, tomatoes, red pepper, bay leaf, thyme, saffron, chilli flakes and prawns, and the fish fillets. Cook briskly for 2–3 minutes, then add the strained stock and orange juice, bring to the boil and simmer for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the croûtons, thinly slice the baguette on the diagonal and fry the slices in the olive oil until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper and rub one side of each piece with the garlic clove.

Liquidize the soup, then pass it through a sieve into a clean pan, pressing out as much liquid as possible with the back of a ladle. Return the soup to the heat and season to taste.

To serve, ladle the soup into warmed bowls and leave each person to spread rouille on to the croûtons, float them on their soup and sprinkle them with Parmesan cheese


Makes 300ml

25g slice day-old crustless white bread

A little Fish stock (see page 310) or water

2 tbsp Harissa (see page 312)

3 fat garlic cloves, peeled

1 egg yolk

1/4 tsp salt

250ml olive oil

Cover the slice of bread with the stock or water and leave to soften. Squeeze out the excess liquid and put the bread into a food processor with the harissa, garlic, egg yolk and salt. Blend until smooth. With the machine still running, gradually add the oil until you have a smooth, thick, mayonnaise-like mixture. Keeps in the fridge for at least a week.

Credit © Rick Stein Fish & Shellfish, 2014


T: 01202 283000

Rick Stein, 10 -14 Banks Road, Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset