'Little genius' comes first with a third: Emily Green casts an eye over the latest edition of the gourmets' bible - Michelin's guide to the best restaurants in Britain and Ireland

MARCO Pierre White, 31, today becomes the first British chef to own two Michelin-starred restaurants. 'I've got my third star,' he said. 'The wrong way round, but I've got my third star.'

By 'wrong way round', he means he has two stars for his new restaurant in the Hyde Park Hotel in Knightsbridge, and one star for his two-year-old Canteen in Chelsea Harbour, west London. The highest rank of three stars still eludes him.

No other British chef has had the impact of Mr White on the French-owned guide. His mentor, Albert Roux, refers to him as 'the little genius'. At 26, he became the youngest chef to win two stars for his restaurant, Harvey's in Wandsworth, south-west London. He accomplished this, he says, without ever having set foot in France. Last autumn, he brought those stars to The Restaurant in Knightsbridge, and has managed to retain them in the new guide.

The new star belongs as much to Stephen Terry, 27, as Mr White. He trained with Mr White on and off for six years before being promoted to head chef of the Canteen. Mr White's legendary temper is all too real. 'This star is exactly what all my bollockings are about, and Stephen has heard plenty of them. He earnt that star, and he deserves it,' he said.

The Canteen is the first of a string of medium-priced restaurants that Mr White hopes will soon epitomise a new class of British one-stars. 'Restaurateurs get a star and think they can start charging pounds 70 a head. It's outrageous,' he said. 'At the Canteen, all starters are pounds 6.50, all mains are pounds 10.50, desserts are pounds 4.50 and house wine is pounds 12. A customer should be able to eat Michelin-level food for pounds 30 a head.'

To this effect, last year Mr White also invested heavily in a new South Kensington restaurant, Aubergine, where another of his acolytes, Gordon Ramsay, is the chef, where the food is highly wrought, and where prices are about pounds 30-pounds 35 per person.

The price is double that at Mr White's flagship restaurant in Knightsbridge, but then so is the number of stars.

A national directory of award winners

THREE STARS***

BERKSHIRE: The Waterside Inn, Bray

LONDON: La Tante Claire, Chelsea

TWO STARS**

AVON: Lettonie, Bristol

BERKSHIRE: L'Ortolan, Shinfield

HIGHLAND: Altnaharrie Inn, Ullapool

LANCASHIRE: Paul Heathcote's, Longridge

LONDON: Chez Nico, Mayfair

Le Gavroche, Mayfair

The Restaurant Marco Pierre White, Knightsbridge

OXFORDSHIRE: Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, Great Milton

ONE STAR*

AVON: Harvey's, Bristol

BUCKINGHAMSHIRE: Waldo's, Taplow

CHANNEL ISLANDS: Longueville Manor, Jersey

CHESHIRE: Arkle, Chester

CORNWALL: Pennypots, Truro

CO ANTRIM: Roscoff, Belfast

DERBYSHIRE: Fischer's at Baslow Hall, Baslow

DEVON: Chez Nous, Plymouth

Gidleigh Park, Chagford

DUMFRIES & GALLOWAY: Knockinaam Lodge, Portpatrick

GLOUCESTERSHIRE: Lords of the Manor, Bourton-on-the-Water

Buckland Manor, Buckland

Calcot Manor, Tetbury

Epicurean, Cheltenham

Oakes, Stroud

GWYNEDD: Plas Bodegroes, Pwllheli

HEREFORD & WORCESTER: Croque-en-Bouche, Great Malvern

HIGHLAND: Inverlochy Castle, Fort William

HUMBERSIDE: Winteringham Fields, Winteringham

IRISH REPUBLIC: Byerley Turk, Straffan

The Commons, Dublin

Park, Kenmare

Patrick Guilbaud, Dublin

Sheen Falls Lodge, Kenmare

KENT: Read's, Faversham

LEICESTERSHIRE: Hambledon Hall, Oakham

LINCOLNSHIRE: Harry's Place, Grantham

LONDON: Canteen, Chelsea

Capital, Chelsea

Connaught, Mayfair

Four Seasons, Mayfair

Grill Room at Cafe Royal, West End

Leith's, Notting Hill

Oak Room, Piccadilly

Oriental, Mayfair

Pied a Terre, Bloomsbury

Les Saveurs, Mayfair

Suntory, St James's

The Square, St James's

LOTHIAN: La Potiniere, Gullane

SOMERSET: Castle, Taunton

STAFFORDSHIRE: Old Beams, Waterhouses

STIRLINGSHIRE: Braeval Old Mill, Aberfoyle

STRATHCLYDE: Airds, Port Appin

SUFFOLK: Mr Underhill's, Earl Stonham

SUSSEX: Manley's, Storrington

TAYSIDE: Kinnaird, Dunkeld

TYNE & WEAR: 21 Queen Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

WARWICKSHIRE: Mallory Court, Royal Leamington Spa

WILTSHIRE: Lucknam Park, Colerne

YORKSHIRE: Restaurant Nineteen, Bradford

Pool Court, Pool in Wharfedale

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