A Date With Marco Pierre White

Melissa Ironside has lunch with one of the best chefs in the world and steals his recipes.

When it comes to celebrity chefs you don’t get much bigger than Marco Pierre White. Literally and figuratively. He is actually a huge man. How do I know this? Because I was lucky enough to have one of the best chefs in the world cook me lunch. Tough gig, I know.

So what does the man who was the youngest chef ever to claim the much coveted three Michelin stars at age 33 cook for his guests?

Pumpkin soup and asparagus risotto, of course!

White is a self-confessed simple eater. He likes good food that is cooked well, but most of all he likes eating in places which make him feel comfortable.

“It’s all about the ambiance of a place for me,” he says in between stirring our soup. “If I am happy with the environment, I will enjoy my food much more.”

That might be why after working in some of the most prestigious restaurants in London the British born “Godfather of modern cooking” simply retired after 17 years and gave back his stars.

“I was being judged by people who had less knowledge than me, so what was it truly worth?” he asks. “I gave Michelin inspectors too much respect, and I belittled myself. I had three options: I could be a prisoner of my world and continue to work six days a week, I could live a lie and charge high prices and not be behind the stove or I could give my stars back, spend time with my children and re-invent myself.”

And reinvent he did.

Now the man who could work with any ingredient he liked chooses to spend his time lapping up two British favourites HP Sauce (a barbeque flavoured condiment) and salad cream (similar to mayonnaise).

He does still dabble in the food world managing restaurants and pubs in London such The Yew Tree In and Marco Pierre White's the Swan Inn. He is also the face of Continental’s new stockpot, a product he calls “revolutionary”. But he’s happiest when he is enjoying a nice piece of fish on the bone with his family.

For a man who has trained chefs such as Gordon Ramsey, Curtis Stone and Heston Blumenthal his candour, humility and lack of pomp and fan-fare when behind the store is hugely refreshing.

Despite being known as a tyrant thanks to his popular LifeStyle FOOD reality celebrity cooking show Marco's Kitchen Burnout, White is really just a normal guy who followed in his dad’s footsteps and became a chef and worked really hard at it (sadly Marco’s dad never tasted his cooking).

So if you’re in the mood for some home-cooked grub that is incredibly easy to make, follow Marco’s pumpkin soup recipe below and let us know what you think.

Plus, catch Marco's Kitchen Burnout now on LifeStyle FOOD.


Serves 8

2 tbsp olive oil
2kg pumpkin, diced
4 cups boiling water
3 Continental Stock Pot Chicken
1 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup thick cream

Heat olive oil, add pumpkin and cook for 10 minutes. Add boiling water and Continental Stock Pot, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add parmesan cheese and cream and cook for a further 1-2 minutes. Blend, then strain through a sieve for a fine finish, or use a whisk for a chunkier result. Serve with warm crusty bread.

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