This is an iconic cookbook, the stuff of legends and dreams. Marco Pierre White was that chef that almost every young, ambitious (mostly male) line cook that I came up through the ranks with wanted to be. Alex has an old tattered copy of White Heat that he used to keep in his bag for inspiration. He eventually got Marco to sign it and then it was retired to the bookshelf for fear that it would get destroyed. In his youth Marco Pierre White was a passionate, driven chef who inspired many of us to push harder and do more. The food may look slightly dated today but there is no denying its inherent beauty and thoughtfulness.
It's not an overly long book, 126 pages in the copy I'm holding. It begins:
You're buying White Heat because you want to cook well? Because you want to cook Michelin Stars? Forget it. Save your money. Go and buy a saucepan.
You want ideas, inspiration, a bit of Marco? Then maybe you'll get something out of this book. I warn you though, it's a jigsaw, and there's a hundred pieces missing. What do you expect? I'm at the beginning of my career. You're not going to see the true Marco until I'm 35 or 40. I haven't even been to France yet. But what's here is me, 1990 vintage, built on a foundation of energy, honesty and quality.
I still have a huge amount to learn. Everything changes in the restaurant, every day. By the time you read this, by the time you start using my ideas, the recipes will have changed. I'm never satisfied with anything I do, never. Almost never. The tagliatelle of oysters, I'm satisfied with that. I can't do anything better with it. Or the pig's trotter - but that's Pierre Koffman's dish, that's his perfection. Everything else I'm still thinking about, I'm still working on. Why do you think I still wear a blue apron?"
There are seventy-three recipes and endless inspiration in White Heat. This week we're giving away one copy of the book to one of our readers. To enter to win please leave a comment telling us why you love the kitchen. One entry per person please, comments are moderated and will not appear immediately. The winner will be picked randomly on Friday, January 27, 2012 at 9am EST. This giveaway is now closed. The winner will be notified via email. Thank you for all your comments!
January 24, 2005