Published in the UK at the very beginning of the 1990s, White Heat came out in the era of lad culture and Cool Britannia. In a book that is part memoir, part cookbook, and part documentary, photographer Bob Carlos Clarke, who was known for his sexy black-and-white photos of girls and cars, captured the masculine, loud, meaty, and hedonistic kitchen of Marco Pierre White when he worked at Harvey’s in London. High French cooking had never been photographed like this before—it was revered and fussy, and all of the sudden you have movement and steam and machismo and lusty culture. Cooking is a sport and White is hydrating like an athlete. The images were full-bleed, more like a magazine than a cookery book, and they shook established modes of photographing beautifully plated haute cuisine. In retrospect, White Heat changed how we look at chefs and restaurants. It predicted the rise of the chef memoir and the era of the celebrity chef. Adapted from Feast for the Eyes: The Story of Food in Photography (Aperture, June 2017).
The images shook established modes of photographing beautifully plated haute cuisine. White Heat changed how we look at chefs and restaurants.