As a child, Stefan, along with his sister Samantha, were 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). Stefan was aged five at the time of the photo shoot.
After leaving Oxford University, Stefan 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 in the winter of 2004.
Cooking in the Danger Zone
Stefan 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 crisis zones around the world such as Afghanistan, Chernobyl, Haiti and Burma where the living isn't easy and the food is unusual. This has gained him a reputation for travelling to difficult or extreme places and eating unusual or shocking food. The series won the Slow Food award for best TV series at the 2008 Slow Food On Film Festival, Bologna and was nominated for the 2009 Guild of Food Writers Food and Travel award.
Other TV and radio programmes
Stefan also presents a children's TV series, based on his Gastronaut concept, called Gastronuts 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 BBC4 in 2009 - it consists of three episodes, each one hour in duration. In 2010 he presented a three-part series on food additives for BBC Two, E Numbers: An Edible Adventure.
He also appears regularly on the Good Food Channel's Market Kitchen, Five's The Wright Stuff and BBC Two's Something for the Weekend. In 2010 he presented a documentary for Radio 4, Stefan Gates' Cover Story, concerning his part in the Houses of the Holy photoshoot.
Stefan has written three books, 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, titled In the Danger Zone. He has also written 101 Dishes to Eat Before You Die and On E Numbers, which is a companion to the TV series E Numbers: An Edible Adventure.