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Pet-friendly, Paws Culture

Following in the pawsteps of Chalky, we discover a very lovely dog-friendly family history at Rick Stein

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Rick Stein has become synonymous with dogs. Known for being hugely passionate about seafood and the southern coast of England, his passion prompted a real public interest in everything fruits de mer and since the ’90s he’s gifted amateur cooks up and down the country the confidence to make seafood classics like moules marinière and lobster bisque. But the real star of the earlier Rick Stein shows was the lovely Chalky, Rick’s rough-haired Jack Russell, who would help Rick discover the most of the coast – getting into a lot of scrapes along the way! The bond between the two was undeniable and despite Chalky passing away in 2007, he’s left a real paw print on the business. We were keen to find out how Rick’s friendship with the feisty Chalky influenced his restaurants, many of which are also dog-friendly boutique hotels.

Rick absolutely adored Chalky and their relationship has helped shape the business, especially the dog-friendly values and ethos. From his bronze statue faithfully standing guard outside Rick’s flagship Seafood Restaurant in Padstow, to his own paw-printed Chalky’s Pals blankets that come as part of the group’s Dog’s Life package for travelling pups, Chalky has provided much of the dog-friendly inspiration. But there’s family history to be unearthed! When he was much younger, Jack, Rick’s middle son, had an imaginary dog friend who he named Chalky, so when the family went in search for a family dog, the little Jack Russell they fell in love with could only have one name!

Chalky’s Pals embraces and encourages dog-friendly holidays. With three-quarters of the rooms at the Rick Stein restaurants and holiday cottages suitable for pups, Rick’s love for dogs shines through. The dog-friendly rooms are lovely, unique and homely too, and they are well-designed with a coastal influence; pretty pastels, sun, sea, shells and sand. Many also feature luxurious 4-poster beds to sink into at the end of a busy day chasing sticks on the beach with fido. The Dog’s Life package grants you the lovely Chalky printed blanket and snazzy dog treats to help make a home away from home for your pup – just like Chalky would want.

Chalky left his paw print in Rick Stein’s restaurants, too. It’s evident how much Rick appreciated and included his four-legged chum during his travels and at home, with many of his restaurants supporting dog-friendly. Popular spots Sandbanks, Fistral and The Cornish Arms all come with dog treats and bowls, and dogs are more than welcome to order something from the menu like one of the family. If you stay at the Seafood Restaurant dogs are also invited to join you for breakfast sausages while you relax together in the conservatory. This creates a lovely environment in the mornings, especially in Padstow where there’s a strong dog walking community, so you can find yourself enjoying the sunrise in the morning and relaxing with a coffee a little later while your pup tucks into their big breakfast.

Rick Stein has helped shape the dog-friendly vibe on Cornwall’s north coast. Location, lifestyle and love for dogs play a big part in his own seafood story and has had a powerful influence on his venues. The Padstow locations, in particular, have helped develop the wider area with many neighbouring establishments following his dog-friendly stance. The area has everything you’d want for a fabulous long weekend away with pup, and a good number of the beaches are dog-friendly too. This includes Harlyn Bay, which is a great family friendly beach – open to dogs all year round – full of rock pools and dunes that dogs will love scampering around in.

Chalky’s business empire is going strong. From Padstow’s Ruby’s Bar, a delightful cocktail bar that is completely dog-friendly, so your pooch can join you for pre-dinner martinis, to the neighbouring rooms at St Petroc’s, which are all dog-friendly and designed by Jill Stein.

It really is a family affair. For a relaxing, coastal home away from home, take a trip to Cornwall and visit Chalky’s fine dining legacy. He’s so famous he’s even got a song, care of the BBC, sang by none other than Rick himself and a class of Padstow school children! Here’s a snippet.

“You can still come and visit me if you travel to the Cornwall shore, you can see me sit proudly in Padstow, guarding Rick’s door.”

Not a dry eye in the house…

Fancy a trip to wonderfully dog-friendly Cornwall? You’ll find all the best dog-friendly spots on the north shores in our pet-friendly guide.

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