Fuming chef Marco hits back at wife
THEIR domestic woes have been simmering for years — but the temperature is likely to be at boiling point when Marco Pierre White and his estranged wife, Mati, meet in the divorce courts next week.
For chef and restaurateur Marco is furious that his wife has been pleading poverty in the run-up to the case. She has said: ‘I am in rented accommodation, I don’t own anything and I can’t afford lawyers.’
These claims have upset the star of Marco’s Kitchen Burnout, who f eels he has been more than generous in his financial support since they parted three years ago.
A friend of his tells me: ‘She’s living in a penthouse apartment in Kensington, which is costing Marco £5,000 a month in rent. And he’s paying her between £12,000 and £13,000 a month in maintenance for her and their daughter, Mirabelle.’
Marco has also provided Mati with an £80,000 Range Rover because ‘he wants a safe car for their daughter to travel in’, according to my source.
The couple’s teenage sons, Luciano and Marco Junior, live with their father in Holland Park.
Marco, 48, married Mati, 47, a former barmaid, in 2000. But their marital recipe turned sour and divorce proceedings began in 2007. And it has been a bitter struggle — last year, Marco obtained permission to take Mati’s solicitors, Withers, to court over claims she had intercepted his mail and seized personal letters on their advice.
Marco feels he is the one who has been hit most by the financial strain of the divorce, complaining to a friend: ‘I have to work my butt off just to earn the £300,000 a year I need to support my wife.’
Meanwhile, White has been on the receiving end of barbed remarks from fellow chefs over his promotion of turkey farmer Bernard Matthews and Knorr stock cubes.
He has been accused by Ainsley Harriott of ‘compromising his credibility’ and dismissed as a ‘media personality’ by Marcus Wareing.
In response, Marco says: ‘These people are desperate for publicity. By attacking me, they are attacking every employee of Bernard Matthews, who rely on a small wage.
‘If it’s OK for Ainsley Harriott to do washing-up liquid adverts, then why can’t I support the farming industry? I just don’t understand their snobbery and hypocrisy.’
And pointedly, Marco — who won three Michelin stars by the age of 33 — adds: ‘How many Michelin stars has Ainsley won?’