Rick Stein's status as a TV celebrity chef appears to be fuelling a property and tourism boom in Padstow, north Cornwall, already jokingly referred to by locals as "Padstein".
Property prices in Padstow have soared by 20% over the past year, significantly higher than other areas in the south-west, says the Portman building society. It suspects this has been stimulated by Stein's BBC series Fruits of the Sea, which "presents the area in a most attractive light".
Some fear that this means local people will not be able to afford to buy homes locally but Steve Kessell, tourism officer for north Cornwall, said that the "Rick Stein effect" had brought tremendous benefits to the local community.
While it was common to fly in for a night just to eat at Stein's restaurant, most visitors stayed and brought extra custom to other businesses, he said. As a result, Padstow enjoyed a much longer tourism season than the rest of Cornwall, and longer employment opportunities for locals.
Graham Hooper, secretary of the Cornwall Association of Tourist Attractions, said that Stein's fame had benefited the whole of Cornwall, and that the chef had done more to promote the region than all the tourist bodies put together.
And an editorial in The Times gushed: "Truly, he is this century's reincarnation of that pivotal figure on which the prosperity of towns depended for centuries - the lord of the manor."
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