Greatness comes from humility and a great work ethic: Chef Marco Pierre White
As celebrated Chef Marco Pierre White hosted the second edition of the fourth season of World on a Plate at Ritz Carlton, Bengaluru, we caught up with the culinary legend for an exclusive interaction…
If you are a lover of fine food, global cuisines and celebrity chefs, you have heard of Chef Marco Pierre White. Often called the ‘first celebrity chef’, he was the youngest chef to receive three Michelin stars. So, when Marco Pierre White is in your city, you grab the chance to meet him. And we did!
Chef Marco Pierre White was recently at the Ritz Carlton, Bengaluru for the second edition of the fourth season of World On A Plate (WOAP). The culinary festival featured master classes by seasoned chefs, exclusively curated gourmet dining experiences, panel discussions, workshops, and competitions for coveted awards.
YS Weekender caught up with the culinary genius to hear all about the event, his views on Indian food, sustainability, and the secret behind good cooking
YSWeekender: ‘World On A Plate’ is now in its fourth season; what did you look forward to this time?
Chef Marco Pierre White: I was excited to meet Indian chefs, sample the foods at the best restaurants in Bangalore, conduct two Masterclasses, and host a dinner and a brunch. But what I was looked forward to the most was inspiring young chefs to become better versions of themselves.
YSW: What is your take on Indian cuisine? Can you share some of your favourite or go-to Indian dishes?
CMPW: If there is a place in the world where vegetarian cuisine can rule over all else, it is India. I find the balance of spices and its variety exemplary. I love a good Indian curry, but I must admit there is a lot more I need to try.
YSW: What did you look for in this year’s WOAP winner?
CMPW: I am looking for simplicity, authenticity, a good balance of flavours, and a dish true to its origins. But when it comes to plating, remember that the story is more important than the drama on the plate.
YSW: How was Season four of WOAP different from previous years?
CMPW: This time, we are looking for culinary stories - talent that traverses mere skill to display the true emotion of food.
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YSW: What do you have to say about the presence of women in the hospitality sector?
CMPW: Women have a lot more discipline and intuition in the kitchen. They are far more committed and cook gracefully.
YSW: What do you think is the secret behind good cooking?
CMPW: Honesty and integrity towards what the produce calls for. You need to cook from the heart and forget these fads - a recipe is a mere guideline. What makes a meal great is the company and service.
YSW: Can you give us three tips to help aspiring chefs succeed?
CMPW: Work hard and learn more. Fight for what you believe in and remember that things don’t happen overnight. Remember that greatness comes from humility and a great work ethic.
YSW: In your opinion, what elevates a regular meal to gourmet standards?
CMPW: The environment builds a gourmet meal, but the experience is elevated by the company you choose to dine with.
YSW: What do you have to say about the growing interest in cooking that stems from cooking shows and competitions?
CMPW: They inspire the use of better produce, interesting techniques and a regional exchange of ideas. I believe these shows help spike a keen interest in the art of cooking, an aspect which contributes positively.
YSW: What are your views on ethical sourcing of ingredients and sustainability?
CMPW: According to me, cheap meat is cheap meat. Find the right butcher by knowing the person he is. To know his ethical inclination, befriend him. That man will always make food sustainable since he sources it the most sustainably.
YSW: What do you have to say about the slow cooking trend?
CMPW: I love slow cooking and braised foods. Each part of produce can be eaten deliciously if cooked right. Slow cooking has existed for centuries and will stay on for centuries to come.
YSW: How do you spend your time when you’re not in the kitchen?
CMPW: I like spending time at home. I like reading, playing solitaire, listening to classical music, and I ensure I wake up early every day.
YSW: These days, there are a number of global influences on our kitchens. How do you suggest we retain the individuality of our local cuisines?
CMPW: This is really important. Different regions of India must promote their own, indigenous cuisine and take pride in each of them tasting local. It is only then will we be able to retain our individuality.