After leaving Allerton High School in Leeds without any qualifications, Marco Pierre White decided to train as a chef, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He carried out his apprenticeship at at the Hotel St George in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and continued his training at the Box Tree in Ilkey, West Yorkshire, a two star Michelin restaurant.
Arriving in London as a nineteen year old with “£7.36, a box of books and a bag of clothes”, he began his classical training as a commis chef under Albert Roux and Michel Roux at Le Gavroche. He continued his training under Pierre Koffman at La Tante Claire. In 1985 he moved to Le Manoir aux Quat Sait’Saisons and was part of Raymond Blanc’s team which was awarded two Michelin stars just a year after it opened.
In January 1987, at 25 years of age, White became Chef Patron of Harvey’s. In January 1988 Harvey’s was awarded its first Michelin star, and later gained two Michelin stars in January 1990. White’s staff at Harvey’s included Michelin starred chefs Gordon Ramsay and Richard Neat, French Michelin starred chef Eric Chavot and Australian chefs Michael Lambie (The Stokehouse, Circa, The Smith) and Donovan Cooke (Est est est, The Atlantic). Other renowned Australian chefs to have worked in Marco’s kitchens include Curtis Stone and Shannon Bennett (Vue de Monde).
In 1993, White opened The Restaurant at the Hyde Park Hotel, which within sixteen months was awarded three Michelin stars. At the age of 33, Marco Pierre White had become the youngest chef in the world to be awarded three Michelin stars. White retired from the kitchen in December 1999, leaving a legacy that lead some to name him ‘the godfather of modern cooking’, and he continues to own a number of successful restaurants and hotels in the UK.
White’s first book White Heat, with iconic photographs taken by legendary photographer Bob Carlos Clarke, has been dubbed one of the most influential cookbooks of the last twenty years. Part autobiography and part cookbook, the images of Marco in White Heat were ‘rock star’ cool, and inspired a new generation of chefs.
White has appeared on TV series in the UK and USA, but he says in terms of the set, contestants and challenges, MasterChef: The Professionals is on ‘another level altogether’.