Marco Pierre White is an influential British chef and restaurateur who is dubbed as the first celebrity chef of the UK restaurant scene. Popularly known as the Godfather of modern-day cooking, White became the youngest chef to win three Michelin stars and holds the record to date. Also, he was the first British chef to win the prestigious honor. A torchbearer, White changed the landscape of British cooking. Before him, no one talked about food from the British Isle. He not just changed that concept but also made British food take the main stage. He became an icon of British cooking and is looked upon by a whole new generation of budding chefs and restaurateurs who take inspiration from him and consider White as their ‘countertop muse’. He has mentored numerous famed and popular chefs of the present day including Mario Batali, Gordon Ramsay, Curtis Stone, and Shannon Bennett. However, after pursuing a seventeen-year long career in cooking, White realized that his career did not provide him with adequate returns. As such, he gave up being a chef and cooked his final meal like a professional chef on December 23, 1999. Ever since then, White continues to serve as a restaurateur. He has also made several appearances on cookery shows and cooking-related reality competitions.
Childhood & Early Life Marco Pierre White was born on December 11, 1961 to English chef Frank White and Maria Rosa Gallina in Leeds. He was third of the four boys born to the couple. White, who was studying at Allerton High School, dropped out of the same without earning any degree to train himself as a chef. He first apprenticed at Hotel St George in Harrogate and later at Box Tree in Ilkley. Career At the age of 16, Marco Pierre White left for London with just a bag full of books and clothes and little money. In London, he trained as a commis under Albert and Michel Roux at Le Gavroche. After La Gavroche, White apprenticed under several known chefs including Pierre Koffman at La Tante Claire, Raymond Blanc at Le Manoir and Nico Ladenis of Chez Nico at Ninety Park Lane. Having gained training from some of the best chefs, White began working in the kitchen at the Six Bells public house in Kings Road with assistant Mario Batali. In his mid-20s, White became the Head Chef and joint owner of Harvey’s with a kitchen staff that included the then-unknown Gordon Ramsay. In 1987, he won his first Michelin star. Within a year of winning his first Michelin star, White was awarded his second Michelin star in 1988 and the third one followed soon after. At the age of 33, White became the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin stars, in addition to being the first British chef to be awarded the honor. The honor came at a time when he was serving as the chef-patron of The Restaurant Marco Pierre White. Following his stint at The Restaurant Marco Pierre White, he moved to the Oak Room at the Le Méridien Piccadilly. In 1999, White cooked the final meal like a professional chef for a paying customer on December 23, at Oak Room. He put a final full stop to his 17 years of career as a chef. Despite his accomplishments, recognition and fame, White thought that his career did not provide him with adequate returns. He even did not like the fact that he was judged by people and food critics whom he thought were less knowledgeable than him. As a result, he gave away his Michelin stars. Post-retirement, Marco Pierre White became a restaurateur. He collaborated with Jimmy Lahoud and set up White Star Line Ltd. They operated the company for several years before terminating their partnership in 2007. The same year, White served as the Head Chef in ITV's ‘Hell's Kitchen’ television series. Controversy and criticism followed White in his television pursuit as well. Notwithstanding the same, he returned to ITV screen to present the 4th series of ‘Hell’s Kitchen.’ Alongside his TV career, he came up with a book, ‘Marco Pierre White in Hell's Kitchen’, which was published in August 2007. In 2008, White, together with James Robertson, initiated the MPW Steak & Alehouse. Originally located in Square Mile in London, they took over the Kings Road Steakhouse & Grill in Chelsea in 2010 as well. Interestingly, today an equal partner, Robertson once worked as a maître d' for White from 1999 to 2003. Renamed London Steakhouse Co, the two restaurants are the only eateries worldwide in which White is a major shareholder. In 2009, White hosted the American version of the Australian cooking competition series ‘The Chopping Block’. The series, aired on NBC, was pulled back after just three episodes due to low ratings. Following a three-month hiatus, ‘The Chopping Block’ returned to complete its season. White has been an important member of ‘MasterChef Australia’ since 2011. He served as a guest judge for an episode in 2011. In 2013, he was the principal judge in the competition between professional chefs. Together with Matt Peterson, he also co-hosted the show. In 2012, White scripted a new show for Channel 5 titled ‘Marco Pierre White’s Kitchen Wars’ wherein UK's best restaurant partnerships balance food with the front of house service, fighting for a place in a specially-designed studio restaurant, where the top couples are each given their own kitchen and set of diners to impress. The show was positively received by the television goers and food critics. In 2014 began White’s week-long appearances on ‘MasterChef Australia’ that continued well into 2015 and 2016. In 2015, he made his week-long appearances twice. In addition to ‘MasterChef Australia,’ White served as a houseguest on the UK version of ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ wherein he was given the job of setting up a cooking task. He has also served as a guest for ‘MasterChef South Africa’ and ‘MasterChef New Zealand.’ Other than being a chef, White is a noted author. He has published several books, including the influential cookbook ‘White Heat’, an autobiography ‘White Slave’ and ‘Wild Food from Land and Sea’.
His upcoming projects include presenting the inaugural season of ‘Hell's Kitchen Australia’ for the Seven Network in 2017. Major Works Marco Pierre White reached the peak of his cooking career when he headed Harvey’s. With a group of talented kitchen staff, White embarked on a journey that spun magic on the plate during each of his stint in the kitchen. In 1987, White earned the first of his three Michelin stars to become a renowned chef worldwide. The other two came in almost immediately thus catapulting his fame to greater heights. Cooking apart, White’s writing tryst earned him glory with his influential cookbook ‘White Heat’ that changed the panorama of British cooking. He changed the way the world looked upon British food through his innovative approach and ‘magical’ touch. Awards & Achievements Widely counted amongst the best chefs in the world, Marco Pierre White’s most noteworthy achievement came in when he was 33. He became the youngest chef to be awarded three Michelin stars. Also, he was the first British chef to be awarded the coveted and prestigious honor.
Personal Life & Legacy White has been married thrice. His first marriage was to Alex McArthur in 1988. With her, he fathered a daughter Letitia. The relationship turned sour within two years as the two-headed for splits. Following his divorce from McArthur, White became interested in Lisa Butcher, a model. The two met at a London nightclub and hit it off instantly. Engaged within three weeks of their first meeting, the two took their wedding vows at the Brompton Oratory in August 1992. However, things soured almost immediately as White began a relationship with Matilde Conejero. With Conejero, White fathered two sons and eventually married her at Belvedere in April 2000. However, things weren’t smooth between the two. His alleged extramarital affairs caused Conejero to file for a divorce. Though they withdrew the divorce proceedings in 2011, in October 2012 White and Conejero separated again.