'White Heat' turns 25

White Heat 25Anyone who's been paying attention to in the last few decades knows about the fiery Marco Pierre White. He came into the limelight over 25 years ago, when he became the youngest person at the time to win first two, and then three, Michelin stars. His cookbook White Heat was a game-changer, and it's now set to be released as a 25th-anniversary edition, complete with previously unpublished photographs.

On the eve of the book's release, Rachel Cooke of The Guardian caught up with the enigmatic White. He provides insight on why he walked away from this three-starred restaurant at the height of its popularity. On the day he won his third star, White recalls the Michelin inspector told him to "'never forget what made you great.' What he was saying was: 'Stay behind your stove.' I respected that. The day I no longer wanted to be behind my stove, I put my hands up and said: 'I'm out of here.' It's all or nothing with me. I could not live a lie."

When asked his thoughts on his seminal cookbook, White is circumspect: "It doesn't mean much to me," he says. "It's not important. It's a part of my life that's been and gone...When I see those pictures [in White Heat], I just see that I was very unhappy and in great pain. That's the only emotional impact it has on me today. Work was a painkiller; it was where I hid."

Even though the fine dining world was where White made his mark, he has never visited a Michelin-starred restaurant in France and doesn't frequent new talked-about establishments: "They serve what I call conveyor belt cuisine: 18 courses, and all of them tepid. I want my food to be hot. I want to smell food when I walk into a restaurant...It's not about sitting there for three hours. I get bored after an hour. I want to go home to bed at ten."

Read more and discover other interesting tidbits, including White's thoughts on the Knorr stock cubes he promotes.

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