To mark the launch of the new Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill in Windsor, we meet the original rock ‘n’ roll chef to talk family, movies and why he is happiest in his wellies!
What made you choose Windsor as the location of your latest Bar & Grill?
MPW: I don’t have any strategy for what I do in life, things just happen. I think that’s the best way to run your life and, to be quite honest, I couldn’t be strategic about everything. I love Windsor, especially Windsor Racecourse in the evenings which is a very pretty little racecourse; I love the castle; the horseshow; the parks are great as well. It’s a beautiful little town.
If you were to make a dish fit for the Queen’s 90th birthday, what would it be?
I’ve cooked for the royals in the past and I’d have to make something traditional and delicious. I think I would opt for the pudding course, and make the most delicious bread and butter pudding. The way I make it, it’s light and very delicate.
How do you set about creating a new restaurant menu?
MPW: I’m quite boring really, as I think steak houses should be quite straightforward. When you think of American steakhouses their menus are very simple; they will grill anything from shrimps to steaks, to pieces of fish. You also have to think of alternatives when putting together a menu. Although the restaurant in Windsor is a steakhouse, not everyone wants to eat a steak, so you have to take into consideration everyone who visits.
You own a range of restaurants, from Italian to Oyster Bars, what style of food do you most like to eat at home?
MPW: I love to eat Italian; it’s so simple yet so delicious. You can have linguine with fresh crab or spaghetti with tomatoes, or simple grilled meats, Italian breads and cheeses. I enjoy the way the Italians eat with everything in the middle of the table, outside, with the whole family. It’s beautiful.
What made you want to become a chef and what was your fall back plan?
MPW: I followed the family tradition;my father, grandfather and uncle were all chefs. If I hadn’t, I would have liked to have been a landscape gardener. I love being outdoors in my Wellington boots! I enjoy the Great British weather, the rain, the wind and the occasional sunny spell. I love our seasons and I’m always happiest in my garden.
What tips would you give to aspiring chefs?
MPW: Always put your career in the right pair of hands, someone who will guide and teach you well. The greatest piece of advice I was ever given was to never be scared of the stove, never allow the stove or the other cooks around you to intimidate you. If you can overcome that, then you’ll be able to cook. And it’s absolutely right.
You retired from working in the kitchen in 1999, would you ever go back?
MPW: I have to say I don’t miss working in a busy kitchen. I do visit my kitchens in hotels occasionally to work with my team; it’s always nice to find out what’s going on. However, right now, my life is just too busy to go back to working in a kitchen full time, I do too much travelling.
Is it true that a biopic of your life is being made by film director Ridley Scott?
MPW: Yes this is something that’s being worked on as we speak. Nicholas Drake is the scriptwriter and he will finish the script any day now I believe it will then be sent to Ridley Scott, and Michael Fassbender has first option to play me. I don’t make movies, all I know is that when Harvey Weinstein made the film Burnt, staring Bradley Cooper, it took four years from conception to screen. So watch this space.
Marco Pierre White Steakhouse and Grill, Castle Hotel Windsor, 18 High Street, Windsor, SL4 1JL/ 01753 641321