My Life In Travel: Gary Rhodes, chef and broadcaster

'I found fresh gherkins in a market; it blew me away'

First holiday memory?

When I was about five or six, my mother, brother, baby sister and I would go to Winchelsea in Sussex and stay in a caravan. We were a one-parent family so that's all we could afford, but there was something very special about it. We had some family friends who would come with us and who we have kept in touch with ever since.

Best holiday?

I was asked to do a few trips doing cookery demonstrations aboard the QE2 to New York. After my first trip I decided I wanted to take my parents and then travel onwards to Grenada. The QE2 was such an elegant ship with excellent food and service and when we got to New York, we went up the Twin Towers and ate in fantastic restaurants. Then we flew to Grenada and stayed at The Calabash for 10 days. I love Grenada because it doesn't feel commercial and you can have phenomenal experiences like pulling nutmeg and bananas fresh off the trees.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

I adore Broadstairs in Kent, for its seaside village feel. There are little alleyways full of architectural beauty. I also love Cornwall to bits.

What have you learnt from your travels?

I was on the QM2 once and we got off to visit Lisbon. I remember walking up a street and saw some cured iberico ham in a shop window. It was about 9.30am and there were a few tables and chairs outside so I sat down and ordered fresh orange juice and coffee and asked for a plate of the ham. As I was eating I saw a huge crate of sardines, so I ordered some. They came grilled, with just a trickle of oil on. It was a culinary sensation. Those moments are what travel is all about for me. You have to take the opportunities to taste great things – a lot of the time you don't have to pay a fortune for them.

Ideal travelling companion?

Marilyn Monroe! Otherwise it'd be my family. We have also got some friends, Alan and Diane, who we often go away with and always have great fun. I also go with my chef friend Wayne and his wife, Kelly – it usually becomes a trip of culinary discovery. We don't like eating in top restaurants; we prefer to find local cafés like a pizzeria called Da Michele in Naples where they only make marinara and margherita pizzas.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

We often go for family holidays to the Côte d'Azur just outside Cannes and what I love doing is getting up in the morning and going on a two-mile walk to the local food market with my boys. I'll buy a slice of terrine and some cured meats and a bit of fish and salad, then take it back to make lunch, via the patisserie where I pick up some pissaladière. I once found fresh gherkins in the market, which blew me away.

Holiday reading?

The last book I read on holiday was Cornucopia: a Gastronomic Tour of Britain by Paul Richardson. It's about an English chap who was living in France and heard about the great revival of British cuisine. He comes back to the UK and goes on a culinary tour of the country. I was reading it in a villa by the pool and came to a section where he slated me, along with a lot of other chefs. It really aggravated me!

Where has seduced you?

South Africa. I went before Christmas for the first time in about seven years and I was seduced by the culinary scene and how it had changed. We went to Cape Town and Franschhoek and ate some sensational food. I found that the young population really didn't want to be associated with the South Africa of old; it was so warm and welcoming.

Better to travel or arrive?

If I could take my wife, I'd love to jump into a Ferrari and go on a three-Michelin-starred restaurant tour of France and northern Italy.

Worst holiday?

A trip to Mauritius. We checked into our penthouse suite which had a swimming pool – however, when we saw it I realised I have a bigger bath at home. It was also the winter season and the wind was unbelievable. It was one of the most expensive and disappointing holidays I've had.

Best hotel?

One&Only Le Saint Géran in the north of Mauritius is incredible. When we arrived, we were told the swimming pool was being refurbished so they upgraded us to an exclusive villa with its own pool. We had about nine members of staff dedicated to us, including two chefs. We went for a walk and when we came back, all our clothes had been ironed. That evening, the chefs set up a table on the beach and grilled fresh lobster for us. It was the most palatial place I've ever been.

Worst hotel?

The Hilton in Cannes. I stayed during the peak season so it wasn't cheap and it wasn't to my taste at all – the room was decorated in shades of pink and orange. I had to wait about two hours for it to be ready too, while drinking stale, burnt coffee.

Best meal abroad?

I was recommended a tiny, backstreet café in Barcelona that looked pretty grim and did nothing except roast chicken and potatoes cooked in the juices of the chicken. My sons refused to eat it, so I tucked into it and it was utterly delicious. We got down to the last piece and as I picked it up, a cockroach ran out from underneath. However, it was the most sensational meal.

Favourite city?

Moscow was a surprise to me. During the day, it is a boring, grey city. In the evening it transforms into one of the most fashionable, trendy, lively and exciting places that you can imagine.

Where next?

I spent a month in northern India and another in China for work and I'd love to go back to both with my wife.

'Gary Rhodes on tomatoes: the Great British Food Revival' is on BBC 2 at 8pm on Thursday 31 March

News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Life and Style
fashionThe Secret Angels all take home huge sums - but who earns the most?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Service Charge Accountant

    30,000 to 35,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: We are currently recruiting on...

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    Day In a Page

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?