Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Even My Tears Are Crying - Revisited

This item of news on the CatererSearch blog site made my jaw drop so far that my upper lip now has to talk to my lower lip via MSN Messenger to co-ordinate movements when I eat.

Britain's top celebrity chef runs "Hells Kitchen"With Gordon Ramsay otherwise engaged in rescuing The London from the underwhelming reception of the Big Apple food critics and launching his expansion plans for Florida, LA, Amsterdam, Dublin, Prague, Tokyo, Dubai and the universe, his role as master of the flame at Hell's Kitchen is to be taken on by none other than... Marco Pierre White, or MPW as he is known to people with sufficient courage to abbreviate the name.

Anyone who has watched the contrived reality TV show will know that the winning contestant is not so much the one who can cook the best meals for the non-paying guests as the one best able to withstand a deluge of "f" words from the hob-meister over several weeks and come out at the other end without need for long-term psychological counselling. Gordon, as we all know, is a man well capable of reducing ordinary mortals to tears. During an earlier series two contestants walked off the set on "health & safety" grounds and two others threatened to quit after receiving excess tongue lash.

So Marco is an interesting choice of replacement. One of my first ever posts on this blog last August was about MPW and, amongst my observations on the man, I noted that he was one of the few people alive who could claim to have reduced Gordon Ramsay to tears. This happened many years ago when Gordon was learning his trade with Marco at Harveys, before he quit as a consequence of "the rages and the bullying and violence". With an amazing piece of sardonic wit, Amazon currently offers a special deal for customers who purchase Marco's autobiography "White Heat" - with its photograph of Gordon as a commis chef in tears after being shouted at - along with Gordon's own aptly named autobiography "Humble Pie".

Marco relaxes between cigarettesAccording to Kerstin Kuhn of the caterer blog, MPW "is not about to copy any of his predecessors’ styles and will have his own, more gentle approach to teaching the celebs how to cook... inspiring people and helping them, not belittling them and putting them down".

Oh yeah? This would be the man whose gentle and inspiring life includes a flaming row with his wife that I reported last September after she destroyed his lifetime collection of hunting trophies in the middle of the night.

And who's wife was recently incarcerated at Chelsea police station after allegedly attacking a customer at Frankie's Italian Bar and Grill in Knightsbridge. Who hurled a glass of wine at her husband, smashed a sound system and demanded a divorce in front of stunned diners in the same restaurant just a month earlier. And who fired a waitress at Luciano's last summer after accusing her of being "the second waitress my husband's been f*****g".

So, good luck to the celebrity contestants, I say. I'm sure you'll be just fine. Just put on racing drivers' fire-proof underwear and a good set of medieval armour. Oh yes... and practice with an onion or two.

Post Script

Now my lower lip has packed a travel bag and left home altogether. There's a large hole where most of my face used to be. Heading home from college this evening I've picked up a copy of the free sheet "The London Paper" and found this article by Marco Pierre White. According to MPW, "McDonald's offers better food and value for money than many expensive restaurants. Their eggs are free range and the beef is from Ireland... I have been to restaurants where I have paid £15 for a main course and thought I would have preferred to have gone to McDonald’s". What on earth can he be referring to? Maybe it's the "Beef Burger 'Belvedere' with Fries" at £11.50 (excluding VAT and service charge - truffled ketchup extra) from his own kitchens at the Belvedere. There's certainly nothing so vulgar as a burger to be had at L'Escargot!

Bye, bye, Big MacRead the article yourself and try to work out whether you have gone stark raving bonkers. To help you make your mind up, go and search Google for "McDonald's eggs", as I did just now. Sort the responses chronologically.

Back in the early '90s you'll find literally hundreds of references to the poor quality of the eggs, the bad treatment of the battery hens and people claiming to have fallen ill after eating McDonald's eggs.

Then you'll find write-ups of the "McLibel case", in which McDonalds sued a London postman and gardener for slandering their product. And then, following the massive embarrassment that this case caused McDonalds you suddenly find glowing reports about hens wandering around farmyards, cattle grazing in Irish pastures and hoardes of happy children eating healthy food. Something to do with a $2bn-a-year PR budget? Any benefits flowing in the direction of MPW and his latest media and publishing successes? No, of course not. It's all just an amazing coincidence. Have a happy meal tonight!


Yorkshire Deli said...

My internal jury is still out on Gordon Ramsay - can't decide if he is a bully or a superb motivator. Probably a bit of both. It'll be interesting to see how hsi former mentor compares.

izzie said...

I must say you really are a very cynical person. Quite suspicious

ros said...

It sounds like MPW just went off on one after hearing the Prince's suggestion of getting McDonald's banned and I don't really blame him for that.

I'm with MPW in that I think McD's is good value for money IF all you want is a cheap way to fill your stomach and you don't really care about what you're eating. But comparing the chain to a proper restaurant is ludicrous.

Scott said...

Hmn - defending McDonalds is just crazy - mass marketed junk. Sure the standards are getting better but it's nowhere near yet - and I don't support such a large chain in any situation.

Trig said...

A good point made Ros, but eating out of rubbish bins would be even better value for money, but you wouldn't want your children doing it...

Izzie - What exactly arouses your suspicion? And of what? I guess being cynical is more part of British culture than American culture. I apologise if I come across as being abrasive with my opinions, but when you have a strong passion for good food you find it difficult to tolerate the crap churned out by these global brands

Scott - Cheers mate!

dogimo said...

Um...nicely-observed post overall, but I couldn't help notice that the examples cited after you scoff "Oh yeah?" at Marco White's gentle/inspiring nature...all of them have to do with his wife throwing fits.

Do please allow the woman some responsibility of her own for her actions! If you wanted to cast doubt on the guy's gentleness, surely you can source a few items where he's the one acting out?

I guess you could say the Ramsay example...but we know a little too much of how Ramsay treats others to accept him as innocent victim here. Strikes me more as a guy who can dish it out know.

Trig said...

That post was over a year ago!!!

Here is my latest post on Marco PW. My view is very much changed.

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