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Marco Pierre White profile: ranked 21 in the Caterersearch100 in 2005

12 May 2005
Marco Pierre White profile: ranked 21 in the Caterersearch100 in 2005

Overall ranking: 21

Restaurateurs ranking: 4

Snapshot

Marco Pierre White made history when he became the youngest chef to win two and then three Michelin stars. He was the first Briton and the youngest chef in the world to achieve Michelin's top accolade.

Since quitting the kitchen at the end of 1999, White has built up a London empire of top-tier to mass-market restaurants worth an estimated £50m or more.

Career guide

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.

In January 1986, White opened Harvey's in Wandsworth 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 Méridien Piccadilly hotel. After 'returning' his three Michelin stars, White cooked his last meal as a commercial chef at the Oak Room in December 1999.

What we think

White - the AA Chef of the Decade in 2002 - re-drew the boundaries 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. "The nation has moved forward more in the past 15 years than it did in its previous culinary history."

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 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, 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, and Maison Novelli, with Chez Max (which replaced White's former Parisian Chophouse) and with Wheeler's of St James. He became a partner in Robert Earl's Planet Hollywood and took an executive interest in Bagelmania and the Earl of Sandwich in 2002.

Most recently he has opened Frankie's Italian bar and grill in Knightsbridge with jockey Frankie Dettori and taken a 17% stake in newly-formed celebrity-endorsed food marketer Conival along with friends such as Nancy Lam, Vineet Bhatia and Jean-Christophe Novelli.

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