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4.6 out of 5 stars
Devil in the kitchen
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on 22 May 2017
Marco Pierre White what an amazing story. Ever wanted to know what you can achieve by hard work and passion? How about the youngest ever 3 Michelin Star holder and First Ever British 3 Michelin Star Chef. The almost rock star status he had achieved by his late twenties is all the more amazing when you consider. He grew up on a council estate in Leeds, his mother died when he was 6 and his father worked all hours to keep the family together.
This is the story of how he did it, warts and all. After all Marco was also famous as the foul mouthed bully of the kitchen. It seems to work though as many of his young chefs went onto make big names for themselves. Including the mighty Gordon Ramsey. At the time this book was written, they had fallen out big time.I hope that many years later they have reconciled, but given Marco's past record I doubt it.
Anyway, a fantastic book that should make 99.9% of people run away from the thought of being a chef and should make 99% of chefs realise that really they may never be more than glorified cooks. Such were the standards he set.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 24 August 2017
What I love about this autobiography is that it is written by a man who either has nothing to prove or just feels that way. There is no self aggrandizement here or cherry picking only the events / deeds that make him look good. His unceremonious departure from the Box Tree restaurant is one example of a self inflicted disaster due to rash naïve decision making. His matter of fact delivery makes the successes all the more amazing when they come. In fact, when someone writes in this style, (avoiding flowery unnecessarily verbose language), the impact can be quite powerful. When he describes his last ever glimpse of his mother being put into the back of an ambulance it is a hammer blow. I can't say I particularly felt like I was enjoying this book, but I couldn't put it down - I needed to find out what happened, (although we have a sneaking feeling that it is not an unhappy ending). I have always felt that there is far more substance to this man than the slightly noisier and frothier Gordon Ramsay and the manufactured plastic of Jamie Oliver, and this book supports that fills in the reasons why. The story is dramatic and packs in more ups and downs and twists and turns than many works of fiction manage to. Loved it.
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on 19 July 2017
I've always liked Marco as a character and a cook and suspected his Autobiography would be interesting, I wasn't disappointed. A very interesting story, learning about some of his celeb friends and his crazy life. Although not a cookery book it also taught me that we we stuff birds because they need to cook from the outside in and not the other way around (stops heat getting into the cavity) - not a lot of people know that (one of his friends was Michael Cain)☺
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on 10 November 2012
I have been a fan of this great man for years and finally got to read his bio a few weeks ago and what a read it was!
Ever since I saw a documentary years ago I have been fascinated by what makes this man tick. I have never believed what the press said about him as I like to make my own mind up about people. The papers have always seemed to have it in for Marco and have given him some really unfair names over the years. Yes, he bollocked guys if they did not pull there weight...But it was never personal, just part of working in a VERY BUSY professional kitchen and he did fall out with one or two good friends, but don't we all? If you buy this book you will see in to the Real life of, yes, the greatest British chef who has ever lived bar none! The main artery that runs through this book is story of Marco loosing his mum at the age of six and it just shows him as a real person with real feelings and he really does have a very kind heart as you will find out if you read this fine book...The final page really made me weep, and as a full blooded male I am not ashamed at all!.
If we had grown up on the same street we could have been best mates as we both liked fishing , shooting and...POACHING! good on yer Marco and God bless you great man!
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VINE VOICEon 14 June 2008
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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on 28 June 2017
Beautifully written by a man who has seen it all, from adolescence to stardom.

The first half of the book explores how Marco came to be the man he is today, and how his journey to the top began in the kitchens of North and West Yorkshire.

The second half of the book exploring his time at the top, as he earns each michelin star and the rock and roll lifestyle he lead, and the rockstars that frequented his establishments.

It's funny, it's seductive, it's rock and roll and romance all in one. It is written by the Le Enfant Terrible of the cooking world, who's romantic approach to cooking shines through in his writing.
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on 17 November 2007
By the end of this book, Marco is neither a devil nor in the kitchen, but you do understand why he once was both. Undeniably a difficult character, the autobiography goes some way to explaining the drive and motivations behind the man and I did wonder if a couple of therapy sessions had added to some of the more reflective and self-analytical passages. On the other hand, selective amnesia is often also in evidence especially when concerning business or personal relationships, although he does resist having a malicious swipe at those involved, perhaps an acknowledgment of his part in the downfalls. There is no doubt he inspired and changed a generation of chefs and drove himself to the edge of physical and mental breakdown in trying to achieve a perfection that would bring some sense of inner satisfaction, but you are left in no doubt that the person he wanted to please most of all died when he was too young to impress her. The ghost of Marco's mother is a constant presence in his life, and as he recounts the ups and downs of his career you feel that inner peace is something that he's always struggled and is still struggling to find. As an autobiography, this is quite a revealing and straightforward book but also entertaining and especially evocative of Eighties London. Recommended.
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on 13 December 2009
I mean that not only in terms of what it means to become a 3 star chef but also an insight into the life of the man himself. This book both shocks and inspires in equal measure. He speaks frankly and honestly about the death of his mother, friends won and lost (most lost by his own choices), various 'incidents' between him and customers/staff/press and what it takes to become the very best. I must admit I really felt for him at first and could draw many comparisons to my own life, however the more I read the more I realised that most of his downfalls are of his own creation. For someone to nearly kill themselves to get to the very top only to realise it isn't what they wanted after all and give it all away - amazing.

Macro is not someone I was overly familiar with, more the generation before mine that would have eaten in his establishments but I have to say this is a fantastic book, I enjoyed reading about his life immensely and even those not that interested in gastronomy will still enjoy this. He even finds time to pass on the occasional pearl of culinary wisdom. Massive respect for him as a professional and a person after reading this.
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on 13 November 2014
A gripping read because of the subject matter. You are waiting for Marco to explode as he describes the various situation he created or found himself in. His passion and determination coupled with a suspicion of luck are likely to inspire many. However he talks in the main of a place in gastronomic time that has passed. That he is able to re invent himself successfully speaks more of his character than ability.
A good book by an inspiring man.
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on 4 April 2015
Really enjoyed the book. Love him or hate him you can not deny the mans passion for his trade. His accolades speak for themselves. The industry would be a sadder place had he not have followed his fathers instructions. When you think of the names from our trade who have since gone and become names in their own right from behind the passé as well as in front of the camera, we have a lot to be thankful for.
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