MasterChef’s Marcus Wareing reveals why he’s hanging up his apron after 35 years

Chef who previously battled Gordon Ramsay complained of having to use ‘tweezers to put food on plates’

Maira Butt
Thursday 02 May 2024 13:52 BST
Masterchef contestant serves judge Marcus Wareing’s own custard tart recipe to him

Following critical acclaim, a coveted Michelin star and a simmering feud with Gordon Ramsay, MasterChef judge Marcus Wareing has revealed why, after 35 years, he’s finally getting out of the kitchen.

The 53-year-old hung up his apron at the celebrated Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley Hotel, in Knightsbridge, London, last year and now says he has no plans to go back.

“I don’t need to open another restaurant. I’ve done a lot. Since the age of 25, I’ve been dealing with chefs and rotas and suppliers and bills and accounts and HR and customers and complaints.

“It’s been fabulous. But do I want to do it for ever? No chance. I don’t want to continue on the same boring path. I wanted a change in my life and to do different things,” he told The Times.

Father-of-three Wareing, who has long been embroiled in a feud with former business partner Gordon Ramsay, has previously said he’d always “wanted to be in his shoes.”

But despite his admiration for his former boss and mentor, the northerner who moved to London to make his start was unable to reach the same heights – including an elusive second and third Michelin star, achieved by both Ramsay and before that Marco Pierre White.

“I can’t be in his shoes ­­– they’re too big. I knew I couldn’t fill them and I think I had another ambition and I had another goal. So I had to try,” he told the MailOnline at the time about his venture into working independently.

Wareing has quit the restaurant industry after 35 years
Wareing has quit the restaurant industry after 35 years (BBC/Shine TV)

He added that there was only one chef “that’s conquered global cookery, TV and holding top accolades here in this country. And that’s Gordon.”

Wareing had started out as Ramsay’s understudy at various restaurants including Aubergine and had been dubbed his protégé.

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A legal battle over the name of restaurant Pétrus which both wanted to keep but Ramsay eventually won, led to a rift between the pair with Wareing saying: “If I never speak to that guy again for the rest of my life, it wouldn’t bother me one bit.”

Wareing has been a judge on BBC series MasterChef: The Professionals since 2014, a spin-off of the original MasterChef series. The show sees working chefs compete to be Champion after a series of cooking heats.

(Getty Images)

The news of the chef’s permanent departure from the industry comes three years after he closed another restaurant Gilbert Scott in 2021.

He added that his TV work had come in the way of operating his businesses and was conscious of how his staff looked at him.

“I was missing out because I wasn’t there. I’d go into the restaurant, and I felt that the staff were looking at me like: where have you been?”

In addition to being busy, Wareing suggested that the fine dining experience had become dull for him with finnicky food preparation and high prices for dinners.

“They’re quiet. We use water baths; tweezers to put food on plates. No one chops anything anymore. No one sautés anything.”

He estimated that he would have to charge a £600 for a standard dinner for two people at his restaurant were it still open.

“Who goes out and has £600 for two for a meal?” he questioned.

But the star appears content with his new path, grateful he is not forced to continue for financial reasons.

“I’ve chosen a new path,” he said. “I’m free of my professional kitchen to do the things that I want to do. A lot of chefs have to carry on cooking to the end because they need to pay their bills.”

He credited Ramsay with doing “a lot for my career” and revealed that the hot-headed TV personality had sent him a gift with a personal message.

“He sent me a beautiful book not that long ago from his restaurant group that I really was appreciative of and he wrote a fabulous message in it. And so whatever happens in the past it’s water under the bridge. We’ve all moved on.”

His revelation comes just days after fellow MasterChef judge, Monica Galetti, announced the closure of her restaurant, Mere. Named after Galetti’s mother, Mere specialised in South Pacific and French cuisines, and was described as “an elegant and contemporary restaurant, offering a relaxed yet refined dining experience”.

The Independent has contacted representatives for Wareing and Ramsay.

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