Marco Pierre White slams Michelin for giving stars to take them away

Marco Pierre White says fine dining should feel like ‘taking a beautiful girl to bed’ and slams Michelin for only giving three stars so it can make headlines when it ‘takes them away’

  • Marco Pierre White said ‘it’s obvious why UK has seven 3 Michelin star restaurants as red book gives them out to take away and make headlines’
  • Chef, 59, was the youngest ever recipient of the coveted three stars in 1994  
  • Gave them back in 1999 as he said ‘he knows more about cooking than Michelin’ 
  • Added fine dining should feel like ‘taking a beautiful girl to bed for the first time’

Marco Pierre White has accused the Michelin of only giving three stars to restaurants to they can ‘take them away and make headlines’. 

The Leeds-born chef, 59, who in 1994 became the youngest ever and first British chef to get the rare trio of stars, said ‘it’s obvious’ why Michelin has pushed the number of restaurants with three stars up to seven in the UK, and that he handed his back in 1999 because he had ‘more knowledge’ than the judges.

Speaking candidly to Gentleman’s Journal, the former enfant terrible, who now lives in Wiltshire,  also said that walking into a three-star institution should be ‘like taking the most beautiful girl to bed for the first time’ and that his ‘achievements as cook means nothing to him’.

Marco Pierre White (pictured) has accused the Michelin of only giving three stars to restaurants to they can ‘take them away and make headlines’.

This year, two UK restaurants run by female chefs  – Hélène Darroze at the Connaught, London and Core by Clare Smyth, London – were awarded a rare third Michelin for the first time.

This took the total number of restaurants with the highest possible mark in the red book to seven. 

They include Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, and Sketch (The Lecture Room & Library) in London, as well as Heston Blumenthal’s Waterside Inn and Fat Duck in Bray.

‘It’s obvious why the Michelin have pushed it to seven three stars in Britain,’ he said.

The Leeds-born chef, who in 1994 became the youngest and first British chef to get the rare trio of stars, said ‘it’s obvious’ why Michelin has pushed the number of restaurants with three stars up to seven in the UK, and that he handed his back his back in 1999 because he had ‘more knowledge’ than the judges.

‘So they can chop. By chopping three stars, they get headlines. 

‘You take a star away from Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s, you get the front page of The Times. 

‘The number two from Michelin in France said: “when we were sent to Japan, we were told to hand out stars to build the Guide’s profile in Japan”. 

‘Their business is making tyres. They make their money out of making tyres. And let’s be very honest, they make very good tyres. 

The Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef star – who trained Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and Mario Batali among others – also said that there should be an ’emotional impact’ with fine dining.

‘Their knowledge of tyre making is greater than their knowledge of food. Why did I give my stars back, why did I walk away? No disrespect to any of them. But I was being judged by people who had less knowledge,’ he added.

The Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef star – who trained Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and Mario Batali among others – also said that there should be an ’emotional impact’ with fine dining.     

‘When you walk into a three [Michelin] star [restaurant], the emotional impact on you should be like taking the most beautiful girl to bed for the very first time,’ he added to the magazine.

‘You’re intimidated by her beauty. But your fear has now been dissolved by excitement. And the thought of love. That’s what it should feel like when you walk into a three star.’

Marco – who was trained by Raymond Blanc – has previousl y spoken agains t ‘miserly portions’ common in fine dining and said that cooking is for ‘feeding not showing off’.

What does a Michelin star mean?  

ONE STAR

High quality cooking, worth a stop

TWO STARS 

Excellent cooking, worth a detour 

THREE STARS

Exceptional cuisine, worth a special journey 

BIB GOURMAND

A Bib Gourmand is awarded to restaurants deemed to be both good quality and good value by Michelin’s team of ​inspectors, with those listed having a menu that serves three courses for £28 or under

Marco – who was trained by Raymond Blanc – has previously spoken against ‘miserly portions’ common in fine dining and said that cooking is for ‘feeding not showing off’.   

‘When I walked away from my three stars, I did exactly what I did when my mother died. 

‘I turned to nature. I went back to the English countryside…. I relived my childhood. And I realised mother nature had been my surrogate mother.,’ he added.

The father-of-four went on: ‘I was very hard working. I worked over 100 hours a week, for many many weeks. 

‘I like work. Work is the greatest painkiller known to man. Gastronomy is the greatest form of therapy any misfit can be exposed to. 

‘I suppose, what I was trying to do, on reflection of my life, was to overcome the death of my mother at the age of six. 

‘Because I watched her die in front of me. I watched the ambulance men carry her away. And my father was very silent. It was like my mother never existed. He eradicated her. All that pain within me had to be released.’  

‘There’s two types of chef. In fact, there’s two types of men in life. There’s the hungry ones, and there’s the greedy ones.

‘I mean hungry for life; and greedy for money. Everything I did in my life is by default. I made my name by what I put on the plate, not by doing TV. I only did TV after I won my three stars. 

‘My achievements as a cook don’t mean anything to me. They were just stepping stones to where I wanted to be in my life.’  

  •  Read Marco Pierre White’s full interview on thegentlemansjournal.com

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