He spent decades recovering from the trauma of his father’s suicide when he was just 18 years old.
And now Rick Stein has revealed that he employs people in their 60s and 70s because he believes early retirement contributed to his father’s mental health problems.
The celebrity chef, 77, who owns a chain of high-end seafood restaurants, has urged companies not to “drive older people out of the workplace” as his father Eric “struggled without all the camaraderie and work pressure.”
Stein’s father, who suffered from bipolar disorder, jumped from a cliff near the family’s holiday home in Cornwall in 1965, shortly after leaving his position as CEO of The Distillers Company.
“My industry focuses on younger people, which is great, but older people tend to provide a good balance,” he told Saga magazine.
Rick Stein has revealed that he employs people in their 60s and 70s because he believes early retirement contributed to his father’s mental health problems.
The celebrity chef, 77, who owns a chain of high-end seafood restaurants, has urged companies not to “drive older people out of the workplace.”
‘I have some people in their sixties and seventies who work part-time in my restaurants and they love it. And customers love them, so let’s try to get older people back into the workplace.”
Stein said it had been “horrible” to lose her father as a teenager, but that she had “resolved my emotional response to what happened many years ago,” putting her “thoughts and emotions in their respective places.”
But he doesn’t “mind people asking about it because talking helps” and “sharing is good” when it comes to talking about something like suicide.
“Dad took early retirement and struggled without all the camaraderie and pressure of the job,” he said.
“As I said before, let’s not rush to push older people out of the workplace.”
The father-of-three is owner of the Rick Stein restaurant group, which operates several sites in the UK and Australia.
The group was established almost 50 years ago when Stein opened his first site, The Seafood Restaurant, in Padstow in 1975.
Stein has said that it was not until recently that she was able to focus on the “positive” side of her father and forgive him for what happened.
Rick Stein’s seafood restaurant in Padstow, Cornwall
Earlier this month, Stein revealed he had undergone open heart surgery at London’s Royal Brompton Hospital after struggling with shortness of breath (pictured with his wife Sarah).
‘The suicide of a father is a kick in the teeth. But I have to say that lately – and I would never have believed it – I am much more aware of the positive side of my father,” he stated in 2020.
‘Oh my God, I’m so much older than he was when he died. But there you have it. You know, I think I’ve probably forgiven him.
Earlier this month, Stein revealed that she had undergone open heart surgery at London’s Royal Brompton Hospital after struggling with difficulty breathing.
“After having surgery and recovering, my improved health has left me tremendously optimistic,” he told the Times.
“Although at my age and with the normal realities of life I’m not going to last much longer.”
The retirement age in the UK is currently 66, but experts have warned it could soon reach 71.