Pierre White says: 'I love the simplicity and quality of ingredients in countries like Spain and Italy. Food always takes up a very large part of my holiday'

'I tend to go to a lot of places by myself'

First holiday memory?

Going home to Italy with my mother as a boy. She was born in Bagolino, near Lake Idro and Garda. Coming from the grey north of England, I remember the weather suddenly being warm.

Best holiday?

Jamaica. It's not like Saint Lucia or Barbados or Antigua – there's an edge to it. It's a bit rawer and rougher, and not so manicured. I go to places like the Island Grill for my black pepper shrimps and Fisherman's Bay to buy fresh fish.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Yorkshire. It's where I grew up. The landscapes are big and beautiful: from the Dales and Malham Cove, to the moors and the east coast.

What have you learnt from your travels?

To be inspired by different foods around the world. I love the simplicity and quality of ingredients in countries like Spain and Italy. Food always takes up a very large part of my holiday.

Ideal travelling companion?

I tend to go to a lot of places by myself. There's something rather nice about just reading the paper in the morning alone and having a coffee.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I don't like beaches. I much prefer taking in architecture, landscapes and visiting food markets. I enjoy absorbing my environment. I was down in Whitstable recently and I just liked watching the boats coming in with their catch.

Holiday reading?

I take cookery books with me. I've just been sent a new one by William Sitwell called A History of Food in 100 Recipes, which I'll take on my next trip to Singapore.

Better to travel or arrive?

I do a lot of work with P&O and spend about 30 days a year at sea. The one thing I like about cruising is that the holiday starts as soon as you get on board. I like trying to spot whales or dolphins or flying fish. It's much more exciting arriving at a destination by sea than by plane.

Worst travel experience?

Being stuck on a plane at Heathrow for two hours when I was trying to get to Venice, then finally being told to get off. I ended up cancelling my trip.

Best hotel?

The Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles is very nicely done. It's understated and not trying to be too flashy.

Favourite walk?

Through the grounds of Harewood House in Yorkshire. I grew up near there so it's nice to reminisce. The gardens were designed by Capability Brown and are quite spectacular.

Best meal abroad?

I like going to see my old friend Mario Batali in New York. His restaurants Babbo and Del Posto serve delicious, very Italian food.

Favourite city?

Verona for the visual impact. Venice because it's a magical, watery wonderland.

Marco Pierre White has six restaurants on ships in the fleet of P&O Cruises, which is celebrating 'P&O Cruises 175 years of heritage' this year (www.pocruises.com/175)