Apart from what everyone else knows about Marco Pierre White – enfant terrible, rudest chef in London, one-time youngest chef to win three Michelin stars – I’d not really been a fan and indeed didn’t own any of his books. However, I enjoy autobiographies by chefs so when I saw The Devil in the Kitchen – ghostwritten by James Steen – I thought it was worth a look. It was certainly very readable, albeit quite light reading, and I finished the book from cover to cover in a couple of days.
Marco’s mother died when he was only six years old. And this personal tragedy seems to have defined his entire life from childhood until his ultimate retirement as a chef. He was a “bad boy” because of having suffered the trauma of losing his beloved mother. It was the loss of his mother which seems to be the reason (excuse?) for all the bullying and craziness in the kitchen.
Another notable thing about Marco’s life is that he seems to fall out with just about every friend he’s ever had for some reason or another, and then never speak to them again. He was very driven, obsessed with work, and the kitchen and everything else took second place behind his own relentless quest for three Michelin stars. Gordon Ramsay, among other now famous chefs, was once a protégé of Marco’s. Of course they don’t speak to each other now. However, if you’ve seen Ramsay’s behaviour on Hell’s Kitchen and ever wondered who was his role model for it, you need look no further than Mr White.
This book isn’t a “must have” by any means but it’s a good read and an interesting insight into the life of one of our most famous chefs.
The Devil in the Kitchen
Marco Pierre White – the Autobiography
Marco Pierre White with James Steen
Paperback, 330 pages