Recipes Of Inspiration
For master chef Marco Pierre White, it is all about being honest to your craft and passion and making your own story in life. It is his first trip to India and he is soaking up the sights, smells and sounds with gusto. Marco Pierre White needs no introduction. A living legend of the culinary world, he virtually dwarfs the turf with artful ease. Blame his
exemplary prowess in the kitchen, his magical spin withingredients as part of the World On A Plate 2019 edition,
his unassuming demeanour, or his passionate willingness to learn, always, as he draws in an avid audience as part of the Masters Of Marriott initiative at St Regis Mumbai.
What took you so long to come to India?
[retorts promptly] I don’t know. In 2011, I was asked which place was next on my bucket list, and I said, ‘India’. Here I am
So what has been your first impression?
You know, it has been the most emotional journey for me from the airport to the hotel. I have been so moved by what I have seen in the sheer extremes that co-exist in the fabric of Mumbai. The blend of architecture, the privileged ones, the people on the street enjoying themselves – the visual impact is indelible. I will carry these memories back with me. I have travelled the world but have never witnessed such a marvellous range of sights and emotions earlier. My time here has been fulfilling in many ways.
Could you explain “fulfilling?”
The smell. The sweet smell of spices, it fills my heart with joy. Also, I arrived around lunch time in the city, which probably that explains the rush of spices that filled the air. I feel the passion with which people cook here, the love with which they eat – it is amazing.
You had it all. You chose to give it up. Why?
I gave up my three Michelin stars in 1999. No regrets. It is exciting for a chef to get the stars. Retaining them? It spells sheer boredom. I can’t live a lie. I have to be true to myself. I believe that a chef’s place is behind the stove. When you pay exhorbitant prices for eating at a prized restaurant, most of the time the Michelin-starred chef is not there. I could not cheat my own conscience like this, get stuck in a systematic rut, and decided to hang up my apron.
That takes strength of character.
My integrity is important to me. I feel it is my duty and responsibility to share my story and my knowledge with others. It is very important for me to give back.
What has been your biggest learning?
Reflection. I reflect, I dissect. Reflections knead and form your personality. I don’t plan. I live for the moment. You can buy anything money can get you, and then get bored of it as the novelty wears off. But you can never be bored of reflection, introspection, learning from experiences. You learn from your journey. It is important to have a dream. I feel recipes can confuse, dreams can teach, stories can inspire. Make your own story in your life. But remember to be unselfish and show kindness, unconditionally.
But you were selfish when you were young?
[Blinks] Yes. I was, as I was pursuing my dream, relentlessly. Cut to 2019.
What is it about being Marco Pierre White that few can fathom?
I crave the ordinary. For me, privacy is freedom. For the few months in a year when I am in London, I do not work. I do not leave the house. I do not go out in public for days at a stretch. I am a highly visual person. I don’t read books as my power of retention is low. I am a visually driven person. My creations are born out of vision.
You are loved universally. People virtually kiss the ground you walk on. So, what next?
I want to keep cultivating generosity of spirit. I want to share my time with as many people as possible. I accept I cannot touch everyone, but I want to reach out and make a difference to as many lives as possible, with utmost humility
Shilpi Madan in conversation with Marco Pierre White
MillionaireAsia India Jan-Feb 2019