Stefan Gates

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Stefan Gates poses with props and food from a typical live show
Stefan Gates PR shot
Stefan Nicholas Gates
Stefan Nicholas Gates

(1967-09-19) 19 September 1967 (age 51)
London, England
OccupationTelevision presenter and food writer
Years active1990 – present

Stefan Gates (born 19 September 1967) is a British television presenter, author, broadcaster and live-show performer who writes mostly about food and science. He has written eight books about extraordinary food, cooking, and science. He has presented over 20 TV series,[1] mostly for the BBC, including Cooking in the Danger Zone about unusual food from the world's more dangerous and difficult places. He develops half of these TV series himself,[2] including the CBBC children's food adventure series Gastronuts[3] and Incredible Edibles.[4]

Gates presented BBC One's Food Factory.[5] He wrote and presented the BBC Two series E Numbers: An Edible Adventure,[6] Full On Food[7] and the BBC Four series Feasts.[8]

Gates has also written and presented two BBC Four documentaries: Calf's Head and Coffee: The Golden Age of English Food[9] on food history, and Can Eating Insects Save the World?[10] on entomophagy. He appears as a guest on TV and radio programmes including Newsnight, Loose Ends, BBC Breakfast, Sunday Brunch, The Wright Stuff, Iron Chef, Blue Peter, The Alan Titchmarsh Show and This Morning. Gates is a panellist on BBC Radio 4's Kitchen Cabinet[11] and has made two radio documentaries. He also performs live shows and lectures, many at science and food festivals.

Early life[edit]

Gates was born in London. As a child, along with his sister, he was photographed for knitwear patterns and appeared separately in commercials and TV dramas, including Poldark. They were the child models on the cover of English rock band Led Zeppelin's album Houses of the Holy (1973).[12] Gates was aged five at the time of the photo shoot.


Gates was educated at Pembroke College, Oxford,[13] in the 1980s, where he took a degree in English.

TV career[edit]

After leaving Oxford University, Gates spent the first 16 years of his working life in film and TV - the jobs were varied and included: Assistant director, scriptwriter, director and producer, finally ending up in BBC Comedy as a development producer. Due to his fascination with unusual foods he started writing about them, and this led to him becoming a presenter and co-writer on the BBC Two series Full on Food[14] in the winter of 2004.

Cooking in the Danger Zone[edit]

Gates presents food programmes including three series of Cooking in the Danger Zone, which has been shown in 25 countries, as well as broadcast globally on BBC World News. In each episode of the series he visits a dangerous part of the world such as Afghanistan, Chernobyl, Haiti and Burma where the living is not easy and the food is unusual. This has gained him a reputation for travelling to difficult or extreme places[15] and eating unusual or shocking food.[16][17] The series won the Slow Food award for best TV series at the 2008 Slow Food On Film Festival in Bologna and was nominated for the 2009 Guild of Food Writers Food and Travel award.

Other TV and radio programmes[edit]

Gates presents a children's TV series, based on his Gastronaut concept, called Gastronuts[18] and produced by Objective Productions. The series was nominated for the 2009 Guild of Food Writers Broadcast of the Year award. He wrote and presented Feasts, broadcast on BBC Four in 2009 – it consists of three episodes filmed in Japan, Mexico and India. In 2010 he presented a three-part series on food additives for BBC Two, E Numbers: An Edible Adventure. In 2012, he took over the role of presenting of Food Factory on BBC One, after former presenter Jimmy Doherty left the BBC to join Channel 4.[19]

He also appears regularly on Five's The Wright Stuff and BBC Two's Something for the Weekend the Good Food Channel's Market Kitchen. In 2010 he presented a documentary for Radio 4, Stefan Gates' Cover Story, concerning his part in the Led Zeppelin Houses of the Holy photoshoot.


Gates writes articles for newspapers and magazines including New Scientist and BBC Food[20] and has written eight books. His first children's book Incredible Edibles[21] (2012) won the 2013 Information Book Award. His first book was Gastronaut: Adventures in Food for the Romantic, the Foolhardy, and the Brave, winner of the 2005 Gourmand World Cookbook Awards Best Food Literature Book. In 2008 a companion to the TV series Cooking in the Danger Zone was published by BBC Books titled In the Danger Zone. He has also written 101 Dishes to Eat Before You Die, Stefan Gates On E Numbers, which is a companion to the TV series E Numbers: An Edible Adventure and The Extraordinary Cookbook[22] (Kyle Books 2010).



Since 2015 Gates has operated the YouTube channel Gastronaut TV. The channel has over 50 videos and over 3,000 subscribers. Videos include recipes, science, things to try at home, and clips from his TV series'.



  • Gastronaut (2005), ISBN 978-0-563-52272-0
  • In The Danger Zone (2008), ISBN 978-1-84607-264-2
  • 101 Dishes to Eat Before You Die (2009), ISBN 978-1-4075-6441-8
  • Stefan Gates On E Numbers (2010), ISBN 978-1-84091-561-7
  • The Extraordinary Cookbook (2010), ISBN 978-1856269216
  • Incredible Edibles (2012), ISBN 978-1406339062
  • Insects: An Edible Field Guide (2017), ISBN 9781785035258
  • Fartology: The Extraordinary Science Behind the Humble Fart (2018), ISBN 9781849499682

Live shows[edit]

Gates performs "food stunt shows",[26] mostly at science festivals such as Cambridge Science Festival,[27] Cheltenham Science Festival, The Big Bang Fair[28] and also at schools, theatres and food festivals including the BBC Good Food Show[29] and the Ideal Home Show.

Personal life[edit]

Gates is married to the food photographer Georgia Glynn Smith, and they have two children.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 January 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  5. ^ Heritage, Stuart (26 June 2012). "Can a change of presenter ever improve a show?". The Guardian. London.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Hewett, Rick (8 December 2007). "Solved: Mystery of the iconic Led Zeppelin album cover and its golden-haired children". MailOnline. London: Associated Newspapers Ltd. Retrieved 24 February 2012.
  13. ^ Stefan Gates autobiographical details
  14. ^
  15. ^ Independent Travel interview
  16. ^ Me and my travels The Observer, Sunday 9 July 2006
  17. ^ Pass the igunaq! - that's rotten, frozen walrus to you Independent Newspaper interview
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 January 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  19. ^ BBC One - Food Factory - Episode guide
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 22 July 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  22. ^
  23. ^ Stefan's recipes on UKTV Good Food Channel web site
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 August 2010. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
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  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 13 January 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  29. ^

External links[edit]