Why are they famous? Marco Pierre White
Sunday 06 December 1998
Brit pack wunderkind grown up, fat and corporate. The Damien Hirst of the cookery world. Marco Pierre White, the youngest chef ever to have won three Michelin stars, combines the surly-and-tortured mien of the congenital genius (see Martin Amis, Master Hirst, Will Self and every other disaffected male Hamlet manque) with sporadically disguised media friendliness. This creates the kind of exciting bad boy image that Gary Rhodes has never attained despite lame "I'm zany" posturing and sad hair spikes only otherwise sported by Nigel Kennedy and Iron Curtain bands 20 years out of date. This week the Sabatier-wielding prodigy opened another eaterie, Titanic. Yes, the name of that dreadful teen-flick and the ship from which more than 1,500 people drowned in icy water. Tasteful.
Tantrum-throwing, bun-fed boy, wild of lock and sulky of feature. Byron meets Babe. Spoilt Brat of Viz fame. Once a lean-limbed looker, White has latterly taken on a more barrel bellied, pouting and snouting look, interestingly reminiscent of a truffle pig.
Do not be fooled by those casual vowels and the Euro-flash name. Marco Pierre was raised on a Leeds council estate and attended the local comp. Spurning conventional training as "college lecturers don't know the back end of a chicken", he apprenticed under Albeit Roux at Le Gavroche. He then started his own restaurant, Harvey's, proceeding to have temper tantrums with any customers/journos who rubbed him up the wrong way. Nothing like a bit of wild-haired Heathcliffesque growling to get 'em going.
In '97, our ambitious protagonist, 37 next week, took over the Oak Room of the Meridien Hotel in Piccadilly as well as the management of half a dozen other hotel restaurants. He's now also involved in the revamped Quo Vadis and the Criterion.
The temperamental one is given to Iron John-style comments on what it is to be a "man". With his complex, arrogant approach, he inspires entirely predictable lust. He also enjoys fishing, which adds sweetness points. His first marriage produced a daughter, Letticia. His marriage to model Lisa Butcher began with him grouching possessively about her revealing wedding gown and ended four months later. He now has two children, Luciano and, naturally, Marco, by his Spanish girlfriend Mati.
Beware, Mr Conran. Beware, McDonald's. Beware, Disney.
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