Overall ranking: 46 (21)
Restaurant ranking: 13 (4)
Marco Pierre White – Snapshot
Marco Pierre White made history when he became the first Briton and the youngest chef in the world to achieve Michelin’s top accolade of three stars.
Since quitting the kitchen at the end of 1999, White has built up a London empire consisting of both top-tier and mass-market restaurants.
Marco Pierre White – Career guide
Marco Pierre White, who was born in Leeds in 1961, gained early experience at the Hotel St George in Harrogate and the Box Tree in Ilkley, Yorkshire.
From 1981 he worked with some of London’s master chefs – Albert Roux, Nico Ladenis and Pierre Koffman – and, from 1984, with Raymond Blanc in Oxfordshire.
In January 1986, White opened Harvey’s in Wandsworth, South-west London and won his second Michelin star in 1988. White then moved to Restaurant Marco Pierre White at Forte’s Hyde Park hotel in 1992 where he won his third Michelin star in 1995.
A year later, White moved to the Oak Room in the Le Meridien Piccadilly hotel. After “returning” his three Michelin stars, White cooked his last meal as a commercial chef at the Oak Room in December 1999.
Marco Pierre White – What we think
Marco Pierre White – the AA Chef of the Decade in 2002 – re-wrote the rules of fine-dining in the 1980s. Before him, every master chef had been French and his success has inspired a new wave of home-grown talent. “He is the catalyst who started what we are doing in Britain today,” Michelin-starred chef John Campbell told Caterer in 2000.
White’s lasting legacy was highlighted in a 2003 Caterer survey of Michelin-starred chefs. They named White the second greatest living UK chef (after the Roux brothers) and, jointly with Ladenis, the third most admired chef in the country (after the Roux brothers and Blanc). His first book, White Heat, was voted the most influential cook book.
White’s restaurant empire was burgeoning when he quit cooking in 1999 after 22 years in the kitchen and included Titanic and the Grill Room at the Café Royal (with Forte), the Michelin-starred Canteen (with Michael Caine and Claudio Pulze), and stakes in Interlude de Chavot and Les Saveurs.
White Star Line-Marco Pierre Restaurants, which he set up in 1999 with Jimmy Lahoud, currently owns the Belvedere, Frankie’s at Criterion, Drones, L’Escargot, Mirabelle, and Quo Vadis fine-dining restaurants.
White established a series of Marco Pierre White Brasseries at Posthouse hotels for Forte’s new owner, Granada, and set up two restaurants for Rocco Forte Hotels’ Manchester and Cardiff properties.
Since 1999, White has also been involved with the now-defunct Sugar Reef, Red Cube, Maison Novelli, and Chez Max (which replaced White’s former Parisian Chophouse). He became a partner in Robert Earl’s Planet Hollywood and took an executive interest in Bagelmania and the Earl of Sandwich in 2002.
In 2005, White revived his old partnership with Sir Rocco Forte to open the join-venture Luciano’s (named after White’s eldest son) in St James’s, took a 17% stake in celebrity-endorsed food marketer Coniva, and bought the Yew Tree pub in Highclere, Berkshire.
This year, White also took a management contract on Gourmet Holding’s Highwayman pub near Reading in May, where he re-established the Wheeler’s of St James’s name (and fittings) after closing the renowned London restaurant in February. Goumet Holdings’ Talkhouse pub near Oxford, where White has helped refocus the menus, may also join his country inns stable.
However, it is the Frankie’s Italian Bar and Grill line of Italian restaurants that White has opened in partnership with jockey Frankie Dettori, that looks set to take the White name further afield. Since the launch of the first Frankie’s in Knightsbridge in September 2004, White has added four new London branches including a concession in Selfridges and a flagship venue at Criterion.
White Slave, the autobiography published in August 2006, outlined White’s plans to open Frankie’s in Dubai and Shanghai by the end of the year, in the Las Vegas Planet Hollywood hotel in 2007 and, possibly, the new P&O cruise liner Ventura.
White took sixth place in the Independent’s 2006 list of Britain’s richest chefs, with an estimated fortune of £10m.
Marco Pierre White – Further Information