Marco Pierre White is in Ireland today appearing in all the media, and I just wanted to share some of the reasons why he is held in such high regard. For many it might seem like I’m constantly fawning over his talent, but the simple fact he was the only person to look up to for a whole generation of chefs my age. He was the Leonel Messi of cooking in the day. Marco has a huge reputation but he’s somebody who always stayed behind his stove when cooking.
1. He was the youngest ever chef to win three Michelin stars
2. Because he nails it on the head when he says stuff like this… ” ‘Celebrity chef’ makes me think of talentless people with big personalities. “
3. He trained Gordon Ramsay, and is alleged to have made him cry as an apprentice
4. One chef complained about being too hot in the kitchen so Marco cut the back of his jacket and trousers off so as more air could get in. The chef worked like that from then on.
5. Because he has risen to the top and is lauded by critics despite being from a very poor background and living on a council estate in Leeds.
7. He was somebody for the whole generation of chefs who feed us today to look up to. Before he arrived, food in the British Isles and Ireland was really shit.
8. Anthony Bourdain, who is also one of the most respected chefs around, explains what he meant to other chefs.
9. This brilliant TV show in the 80s that showed the chase for Michelin stars. In it Marco is hilarious, rebellious and charming in equal measure. It is, however, the horrendous 80s fashion that stands out most.
10. His iconic photos were taken by Cork man Bob Carlos Clark (who sadly died in 2006). They are, without doubt, the best photos ever taken of chefs in a kitchen at work, like it really is.
11. When one man asked for chips in his 3 Star restaurant me made them personally…”I went away and made him a portion of hand-cut blanched and deep fried perfect chips, served with some sauce. I charged him £25 – for my time. He hadn’t even thought to ask the price!”
12. One of the world’s current best chefs, Heston Blumenthal, got started with Marco way back in the day as an apprentice.
13. He is alleged to have had sex in between starters and main courses with customers back in the heyday in Harveys in London.
14. Because when somebody called him a “rude prick” in an interview he ripped them apart gracefully within 30 seconds and walked out.
15. Because he is ageing like a fine wine.
16. Because some chefs love him so much they get his image tattoed onto their legs.
17. Because he draws you in slowly and tells a great story.
18. And finally, because he wrote what many consider to be the definitive cook book of it’s Generation “White Heat” which is 25 years old and which is being released as a special edition with new unseen photos.