Drawing: Graham Kerr, The Galloping Gourmet

Autographed drawing of chef Graham Kerr in The Galloping Gourmet

My lifelong interest in TV cooking shows began way back in the sixties when television was, like me, in its infancy in New Zealand. The very first celebrity chef was Graham Kerr, who had moved to the Antipodes from London to take up a role as the chief catering adviser for the Royal NZ Airforce. When ‘the box’ was introduced in 1960, he first appeared on a programme called EGGS WITH FLIGHT LIEUTENANT KERR before it evolved into the popular ENTERTAINING WITH KERR, which I watched religiously, before attempting to channel Graham and his culinary creations in the family kitchen, much to my mother’s alarm, who advised me to draw instead.

Graham later moved to Australia, then Canada, where he became a global superstar with the show THE GALLOPING GOURMET, one of the most viewed cooking programmes on the planet, earning two Emmy nominations. The term ‘Galloping Gourmet’ originated from a book, co-authored with wine expert Len Evans in 1967, when they completed a 35-day trek around the world’s finest restaurants.

When I experienced another burst of appetite for celebrity chefs – in a sketching sense, not cannibalistic – earlier this year, resulting in a new batch of renderings being produced of my favourite cooking people, I just had to include Graham. Now, aged 84, he has retired and living in Washington State on America’s Pacific Northwest. I sent him this sketch, which he immediately signed and returned, much to my delight.

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Drawing: Rick Stein

Rick Stein

Combining two of my vices – drawing and watching cooking programmes on TV – I decided to draw a few of my favourite celebrity chefs. Rick Stein was the first. I sent this sketch to him at his flagship, The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow on the northern Cornish Coast and he sent it back quicker than you could boil a lobster.

He’s been on our TV screens for the past two decades with that happy laid-back demeanour. He also sells seafood by the seashore, and more. His empire includes The Seafood Restaurant, S Petroc’s Bistro, Rick Stein’s Café, Stein’s Fish & Chips, a cookery school, accommodation, a gift shop, a deli, a patisserie, a fishmongers and The Cornish Arms pub in nearby St Merryn… and no Rick Stein at Bannisters in Mollymook in NSW, Australia.

Rick has to be credited for single-handedly reviving the British seafood industry. Padstow is now a popular tourist destination. His impact on the local econmy has led some to call the once sleepy Cornish fishing village ‘Padstein’.