Marco Pierre White
A trip to Australia is becoming an annual event for Marco Pierre White. The famed British chef, author and restaurateur is back in the country to guest on MasterChef Australia, in which he will be reunited with former employees Shannon Bennett and Curtis Stone.
What is the most common mistake the contestants on MasterChef Australia make? At the start of the competition, people tend to over-work and over-complicate things. They want to impress. What I try to teach them is to be a strategist. They have got to look at the challenge at hand — just compose themselves and deliver. They don’t have to cook extravagant dishes (early on). You see in MasterChef that the best cook can go home early because he or she tries too hard.
A lot of people were surprised when you retired from cooking in 1999 — just after winning three Michelin stars. Winning three stars was an exciting journey. Retaining them is boring because it becomes about delivering every day those specialties you become famous for. You can’t be creative any more.
Do you regret that decision? No. Cooking is a young man’s game. What do I like to do? For 22 years of my life I was in the kitchen six and seven days a week realising my dream. Today I like to cook at home. I’ve eaten and worked at so many restaurants in my life. Now I crave a bit of ordinary.
In this year’s MasterChef you are reunited with former employees Shannon Bennett and Curtis Stone. You must be proud of their achievements. Their success is all theirs. The reality is, it’s a two-way street. They assisted me in me realising my dreams and I assisted them in them realising their dreams. They grafted very hard to deliver a standard to realise my vision. In return they got knowledge which assisted them in progressing to where they are today.
Back then, did they stand out to you as being guys who would achieve so much? They have gone down two very different roads but both leading to success. I remember Shannon coming to see me and I listened to him and I was brutally honest with him. I said ‘Shannon, you don’t have the knowledge that is required’. ‘What is the point of giving a young man a job who might have the biggest heart in the world but is going to mess up’. I said ‘come back to me in a year’s time’. A year to the day, Shannon knocked on my door. It proved to me that he was committed. Curtis started in the company and elevated himself to head chef at Quo Vadis. That was a stepping stone in his career. The rest is history.
MASTERCHEF AUSTRALIA, CHANNEL 10, TUESDAY, 7.30PM
Marco Pierre White just wants an ordinary life.