Cooking in particular has got ever more competitive

EATING OUT: Charge of the White brigade

THE RESTAURANT. Hyde Park Hotel, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1Y 7LA. Tel: 071-235 2000. Open Mon-Fri, lunch, Mon-Sat, dinner; three-course set lunch, £25; three-course set dinner, £65. All major credit cards accepted.

True gripes: Beware the curse of the ambulent onion-eater

If you slip on a banana skin and land on your derriere among the thundering herd of rush hour, you have to laugh. Bananas have been slipped on by hundreds of respected comedians. Arthur Askey did banana jokes. So did Eric Morecambe. But if you skid on part of a discarded hamburger, all you feel is rage.

No Bull and no brandy either: Emily Green snaffles someone else's lunch and says, more please

The regular writer of this column, John Walsh, is indisposed with food poisoning, so I was drafted in at the last moment to eat his lunch at the Stephen Bull Bistro and Bar in Clerkenwell.

Pembroke: Forte scores where some saw red

Forte was preening its feathers yesterday after the group's Hyde Park Hotel in London received five red stars from the AA. The award, I am told, is for all-round excellence, and a factor in the hotel's success is thought to have been Marco Pierre White's The Restaurant, situated within the hotel. This is interesting. As has been reported elsewhere, one diner at this illustrious eaterie recently waited for an hour and 50 minutes before his starter arrived. One wonders. Post-award, will service get better, or worse?

'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.'

Food and Drink: Can you afford such good taste?: Marco Pierre White's newest restaurant is extremely expensive, but food and service are close to perfection, says Emily Green

Admirers of Marco Pierre White can generally afford to be. (You know Mr White, the youngest chef ever to win two Michelin stars, the cook with rock-star good looks and short-lived marriages.) His new place in the Hyde Park Hotel in Knightsbridge, The Restaurant, as it modestly fashions itself, is for the John Paul Gettys of the world: for those whose incomes resemble the budget of the National Health Service.

Angry chef smashed camera

THE celebrity chef, Marco Pierre White, was yesterday ordered by a court to pay almost pounds 1,400 in a fine and compensation for smashing a photographer's camera.

The Lynn Barber Interview / Marco the Mouth: His mother died when he was six, his father didn't ask his permission to remarry and the chips still sizzle on his shoulders. But for all the tales of tantrums and the lashings of cod philosophy, Marco Pierre White has the Michelin stars and business is booming

Aficionado that I am of the artistic temperament - so few people nowadays can throw a really five-star tantrum - I was relying on Marco Pierre White to come up trumps. After all, he is almost as famous for his tantrums as for his cooking. Two or three years ago, the big question for diners at Harvey's, his restaurant on Wandsworth Common, was whether they could survive the evening, or whether Marco would whirl out of his kitchen midway through their meal and evict them for some unspeakable offence, like clicking their fingers at a waiter or ordering the wrong pudding. He says he doesn't do that any more - well, maybe just occasionally for finger-
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