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Marco Pierre White: ‘Service is more important than food'

27 February 2019 by
Marco Pierre White: ‘Service is more important than food'

Marco Pierre White has said service is more important than food and that if the environment is wrong, customers will not return to a restaurant.

Speaking to the Global Restaurant Investment Forum in Amsterdam, the chef-restaurateur said it was his focus on front of house that saw him achieve three Michelin stars and five red knives and forks.

He explained: "I got three Michelin stars in 1995, but still only had four black knives and forks. The next three years I put all my energy into front of house.

"Then in 1998 I won three stars and five red knives and forks at the Oak Room in Le Méridien hotel, London] because I'd put that energy into front of house."

White, the first Brit and then the youngest chef in the UK to win three Michelin stars, would retire from the stove a year later. He told the conference that winning the accolades had been "the most exciting journey of my life" but retaining them "was the most boring".

He continued: "The truth was I did not want to live a lie, if you have two stars or three stars you have a duty to your customers to be behind the stove and I can sit here and say I was behind the stove for every service."

After five years away White would return to the industry and now works with Black and White Hospitality, which franchises the concepts he develops.

The chef, who also opened Koffmann and Mr White's with Pierre Koffmann in Bath's Abbey hotel last year, said he was in the business of "selling fun". He added that some restaurants are "too high brow" and "like a canapé party where you get told you're having 18 courses".

He said: "I came from a world of grande cuisine, not petite cuisine.

"I want people to drop in after work and have something even simple like a burger or a salad and come back next month with their loved one for two or three courses."

Despite striving for years to receive Michelin's ultimate accolade, White said he eventually concluded that it was an award given by people "less knowledgeable" than him and it appeared that this scepticism remains with him.

He said: "Walking into a three-star restaurant should be like falling in love with a beautiful woman and taking them to bed for the first time… Unfortunately a lot of three stars I have walked into, they do not seduce you."

Koffmann and Mr White's launches in Bath with Pierre at the pass>>

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