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Devil in the kitchen [Paperback]

Marco Pierre White
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
RRP: 9.99
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Book Description

22 Aug 2007

When Marco Pierre White's mother died when he was just six years old, it transformed his life. Soon, his father was urging him to earn his own keep and by sixteen he was working in his first restaurant. White went on to learn from some of the best chefs in the country, such as Albert Roux, Raymond Blanc and Pierre Koffmann. He survived the intense pressure of hundred-hour weeks in the heat of the kitchen, developed his own style, and then struck out on his own.

At Harveys in Wandsworth, which he opened in 1987, he developed a reputation as a stunning cook and a rock 'n' roll sex god of the kitchen. But he was also a man who might throw you out of his restaurant, and his temper was legendary, as younger chefs such as Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal would find out when they worked for him. He eventually opened several more restaurants, won every honour going and then realised that it still wasn't enough. Here Marco takes the reader right into the heat of the kitchen with a sharp-edged wit and a sizzling pace that will fascinate anyone brave enough to open the pages of this book and enter his domain.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; First Softcover Edition Second Impressio edition (22 Aug 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752881612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752881614
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This book should serve as a primer to young men on the make (GUARDIAN)

Book Description

The long-awaited autobiography of the archetypal kitchen bad boy - Marco Pierre White

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Have you heard the one about the pig's trotter? 27 Sep 2007
By David Jenkins VINE VOICE
For some reason I ignored this book when it first came out in hardback. Not sure why. Perhaps Marco Pierre White was a name from the past and someone I knew very little about . . . except perhaps that he was rude, abusive and violent in the kitchen. How's that for prejudging someone?

Don't make my mistake, this book is not to be missed. From the time I opened it at the first page until I had finished I couldn't put it down. It is well written and a fascinating account of a chef's life, albeit a pretty unique chef.

Someone who has won three Michelin stars, and is the youngest chef at the age of thirty-three to have ever achieved it, has to be a very unique person. The first British Chef to win three Michelin stars.

The start of the book takes you back to when Marco was just six years old and facing up to life after his mother's death, growing up in the male dominated world of his father and two older brothers. It then moves quickly through his formative years in Leeds, not particularly happy years, where his greatest pleasure was been able to escape fishing.

The heart of the book is of course the time at Harveys which culminates in his winning his second Michelin star before moving to open Restaurant Marco Pierre White at the Hyde Park Hotel in Knightsbridge where he wins his third Michelin star.

There is a lot more to the book than I have described. Even if you are not into cooking it is a great insight into the professional kitchen with its stress and anguish. It might also help you to understand what makes the greatest living British chef tick. Remember when he started on the road to becoming a chef he was not passionate about cooking it was just a job . . . he grew to be passionate.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original and best 14 Dec 2007
By sam155 VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Marco Pierre White put chefs on the map without meaning to. His reputation whilst at Harveys in the 80s filled many a column inch in the London and National Press and yet refrreshingly, he wasn't courting fame, he simply wanted to feed people the best food they could possibly imagine. Before reading this book I had heard of his fearsome reputation, his genius, and his regular appearances in gossip columns (again, not something he courts). When you understand from the early chapters of this book that this is the story of a boy who lost his mother at age six, then you begin to understand the man behind the myth. To say he was passionate and driven would be to understate the case dramatically. He was a loner, being motherless, and later, estranged from his father. Food was everything to the point where he barely had time to eat it any more, let alone sleep or have a life away from the kitchen. Its a gripping story with cameos from various famous faces and a fascinating historical snapshot of London in the Eighties. Its a story of how hard work maketh the man, a story sadly seen all too rarely amongst today's fame hungry consumerism.

Marco himself remains a likebale enigma. He has been rude, unpleasant, violent even, and has the decency to admit it and explain why without offering excuses for his past mistakes. He appears awkward with women, understandably so since he wasn't brought up around them, and spent his adolescence in front of a hot stove. He is almost pathologically sensitive and proclaims his affection for a friend in one chapter before stating in the next "we havemn't spoken since". This has happened to just about every mentor and friend he has comes across and perhaps reveals a fear of getting close to anyone in case they leave as his mother did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware: Low Flying Cheese... 14 Jun 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In the introduction MPW is reminiscing about a cooking demonstration he was going to do to a group of wealthy women. He says; `These dishes had to be quite effortless and ones the ladies could easily cook at home, so this is what I decided to serve; grilled lobster with parsley and chervil and a béarnaise mousseline; turbot with citrus fruits, a little coriander and some fennel; then sea bass a la nicoise.' I'm guessing that this is unintentional humour?! Cook easily at home, you say?? Mind you, I have trouble with scrambled eggs, so perhaps I'm not the best judge!

This book is absolutely incredible and compulsive reading. MPW talks about; his early life and the loss of his mother; how he started as a chef; his determination and drive to get three Michelin stars; his battle to win a libel case against two American newspapers and, perhaps best of all, some examples of his amazing temper. I was almost spellbound as I read about the time he held the owner of a mink coat to ransom; what he did with Albert Roux and a pig's trotter; and what he got up to in his office at Harveys.

There are times when he does show us a slightly softer and more sensitive side and who could argue with his ethos that, `no man can choose what he is born into, but every man can choose to better himself.' This man really is an inspiration, but that said, whilst reading about him was great....I'd be a little reluctant to work for him!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth the sunburn... 14 May 2008
I started reading sitting in the garden at midday in the sun. Time stopped still as I was lost in this mad world of Chef White. I read until I finished the book. I got sunburn, forgot to make the kids tea, my tomato plants wilted and the agony of an ear infection disappeared.

This is a story that will stay on my book shelves forever. It is one of those all too rare books that suck you in and make you grieve when you finish.

What a story, what a guy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great! Thank you!
Published 4 days ago by FW
3.0 out of 5 stars very good
Interesting to see how he climbed to the top. Well written and shows many different sides to the fella. 3/5
Published 11 days ago by James
5.0 out of 5 stars compelling
If you like cooking read this. This man is the real deal and the godfather to every celebrity chef since.
Published 21 days ago by bennymac22
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 22 days ago by phil hiles
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Only just finished the book and loved it. Wish there had been a few more picks. Didn't realise how amusing M P W is or what a great chef. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Elaine D R
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfection, obsession and a Pigs Trotter.
I came to this after reading Antthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential. This insight shares much of the same combination of revelation and horror but from quite a different... Read more
Published 2 months ago by MR M A EDMONDSON
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Insight to his life, from his humble beginnings to attain the high status and acknowledgement he has through strict discipline
Published 5 months ago by Brian Nicholas
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting autobiography....
A pretty good read and insight into the history of the bad boy of cooking from a council estate in Leeds to fame and fortune...
Published 7 months ago by Baz Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent insight into the life of a genius
Love him or loathe him, this is a true life story of a man who is passionate about his chosen profession and a life inspiration for everyone no matter what your history is or your... Read more
Published 9 months ago by ROBERT SEVERN
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, why did I wait so long to read it?
I have always been a MPW fan but after meeting this year I knew I had to read the book and it didn't disappoint. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Sara Chivers
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