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On the 25th anniversary of his groundbreaking cookbook White Heat, Observer Food Monthly looks back on the early career of the groundbreaking chef.
Photographs courtesy of the estate of Bob Carlos Clarke.
White Heat 25 (Mitchell Beazley, RRP £25) is published on 2 February. Click here to buy a copy from the Guardian Bookshop for £20, with free UK P&P
Photographs of Marco Pierre White by Bob Carlos Clarke is at The Little Black Gallery, London SW10 0AJ from 10 February-10 March
Sunday 18 January 2015 00.05 GMT
Marco Pierre White with photographer Bob Carlos Clarke.
With a grey shark, shot in photographer Bob Carlos Clarke’s back garden, 1991.
“ I was 19 and I got my arse kicked but I loved every minute of it and learnt a lot. At the time there
was no one who could touch him and he’ll always be a British Institution! He was a powerful man to play a game of chess with. You can get yourself into check but you can never get checkmate.”Gordon Ramsay
“A lot of people say I look like a rock star or a designer punk. But I swear it’s the job that has carved my face. It’s the hours, the stress and the pressure. It’s not me trying to look like this.”
Greeting diners in his restaurant, Harveys, in Wandsworth, London, 1990.
“You need to know what we had at that time. We had nothing. No one…. And then here was this good-looking guy with long curly hair, a fag hanging out of his mouth, or half naked with a shark on his lap. And he was dating supermodels. Marco seemed to be sending a message: “This is a career you can hang on to.” He gave us BELIEF.”Jason Atherton
“One day a chef moaned that he was too hot, so I took a carving knife in one hand, held his jacket with the other and slashed it. Then I slashed his trousers. Both garments were still on his body at the time. ‘That should provide a bit of ventilation,’ I told him, and when he asked if he could change out of his chopped-up clothes I said, ‘Yes, at the end of the service.’” MPW
“I have done nothing apart from cook for the past 10 years. I’ve had no social life to speak of, no real time to myself and there’s been a lot of pain and suffering getting here. One day I’ll go to France; that’ll be my finishing school. Now it’s time o make money, because no money, no love , no food.” MPW
“Nine out of 10 English chefs have their names on their chests. Who do they think they are? They’re dreamers. They’re jokes. Just ask yourself how many chefs in this country have Michelin stars and how many have their names on their jackets. We all wear blue aprons in my kitchen because we’re all commis, we’re all still learning.” MPW
“I can’t work in a domestic kitchen; it’s just too confined. There’s no freedom and there’s no buzz.At home I’m not hit with 40 covers in half an hour so there’s no real excitement.” MPW
“He was savage on the line, and the very first to be become famous for treating his team with a humiliating lack of respect. But it worked in his case. His food was sublime, out of the box, and above all, delicious… He was the toughest and meanest person I had ever worked for… in the end, after a few years of not talking, I love him like a brother.”Mario Batali
“At the end of the day, it’s just food, isn’t it? Just food.” MPW
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