16 OCTOBER 2008

Even a 24-hour plane ride couldn't take Rick Stein's relationship with his Australian girlfriend off the boil. And now the celebrity chef plans to tie the knot with Sydney-based publicist Sarah Burns, eight years after ending his marriage of nearly three decades to be with her.

Millionaire restaurateur Rick met Sarah, 41, while on a 2000 book tour Down Under, where she was working for publisher HarperCollins. And they have maintained a long-distance love affair ever since.

He asked for her hand in a very low-key fashion, the 61-year-old told Daily Mail columnist Richard Kay. "I proposed to Sarah in a car outside an internet coffee shop," he revealed.

"I know it's not that romantic, but she said yes. I don't know when we'll have the wedding: we haven't started planning it yet," he added.

Despite their engagement, the seafood king isn't about to relocate. His wife-to-be has two young sons from a previous marriage, while Rick says he has his "little business" to run in Padstow, Cornwall.

Photo: ©
British restaurateur Rick and his Sydney-based fiancée Sarah have no plans to live together. "It's a bit unusual, but we're both happy. I just spend a lot of my life on a plane, but you get used to the journey," he saysPhoto: © RexClick on photo to enlarge