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"White Slave"


raymondhoudayer
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Greetings all.

I just finished reading Marco Pierre White's autobiography called "White Slave".

Just wondering if anyone else has picked it up and what you thought of it.

Cheers,

Ray

Raymond V Houdayer, CCC

Executive Chef

Bel Acres Golf & Country Club

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Canada

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Greetings all.

I just finished reading Marco Pierre White's autobiography called "White Slave".

Just wondering if anyone else has picked it up and what you thought of it.

Cheers,

Ray

i thought it was a great read - obviously very biassed in places but i read it cover to cover in pretty much one sitting, well written too

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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  • 1 month later...

I had a little different take on it. I thought that it was really one of the most self-serving books I ever read. It is apparent that MPW has made an important contribution to fine dining and has accomplished much, but seldom does one see such a flagrant self-promotion.

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Just wondering if anyone else has picked it up and what you thought of it.

What did you think of it, Ray?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I had a little different take on it.  I thought that it was really one of the most self-serving books I ever read.  It is apparent that MPW has made an important contribution to fine dining and has accomplished much, but seldom does one see such a flagrant self-promotion.

I can see your point and I agree that it is somewhat self-aggrandising. The name dropping is a little excessive and the use of hyperbole is evident in places. However I found it to be a very compelling, even gripping read nevertheless. It is a much more interesting work than most of the other chef biographies I have read and pretty well written at that. On the combined scale of the quality of 'mentored by, plus persons mentored' he's got to be right up there.

I found the book to be full of interesting contrasts: 1) ability to give absolute shit to his brigade and to certain of his customers, but totally lacking in any ability to accept the post meal congratulations and the associated discussions to follow, because such activity required conventional social skills 2) he hobnobbed with celebrities and the upper crust on a very regular basis but always felt that he could not escape his working class background and did not establish a long term relationship with a women until he found someone from a similar upbringing

The self promotion is part of the complex person that is MPW. He makes it quite clear that he is (certainly was) a very insecure, emotionally scarred individual. I am no psychiatrist, but I think the portrait that is painted of Marco would lead one to believe that self-promotion is a not uncommon trait of such individuals. I would not be surprised to find that a discussion such as the following took place:

Marco to ghost writer or editor: “Don’t you think the book is a little too full of self-promotion, even for me?”

Ghost writer or editor: “No, that’s who you are. You don’t have the social skills to allow your accomplishments to simply speak for themselves. What you have achieved as a chef/business person is who you are. Your three stars are who you are, if you/we are going to produce an autobiography you have to broadcast these achievements from the roof tops. You hid in the kitchen but loudly broadcast who you are through your cooking; now you are hiding behind the covers of White Slave, but doing the same thing. It's more 'in your face' because it's now documented in black and white.”

Edited by gruyere (log)
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  • 4 months later...

I believe he re-released it here in America under the title of "Devil in the Kitchen". I got a free copy at a meet and greet dinner here in Seattle 5/14. Although he can come off as an arrogant prick at times, he was nothing but charming and funny guy. Quick to throw in a F bomb and talk shop. It was a good read for me though. If you haven't already, check out White Heat also by MPW.

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I am reading it now. I found it interesting, especially how he is willing to cut off relationships with people for whatever reason. Once he does it is over. It is a good read though. I am enjoying it.

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I think people will either love or hate this book. The fact is that MPW isn't at all subtle about what he wants to say in his story ensures that this will happen. Personally, I loved the book - the stories he told and the way he told them. If he wrote a more subtle, "reader friendly" book that offended no-one, I think we would have been denied a view of what MPW's personality is like.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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Agreed,

He is a bit crazy, but 100% passionate about food. You'd have to expect something like that from a man who pretty much screwed up his whole life to achieve 3 stars. I'm a fan of his books.

I think he reached an understanding with Gordon Ramsey though, I have heard that he might do the next season of Hells Kitchen?

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I had the pleasure to meet Chef White last week in Chicago at the Four Seasons. The luncheon was delightful and delicious, if not squemish to the young ladies in attendance ( piggy trotters).

Marco was approachable and very charismatic. I was fortunate to recieve an enormous bear hug from him. Made my day,....um..week.

Regarding Hells Kitchen with Marco, it has nothing to do with Ramsey. This would be the British UK version. Marco distinctly wants a different direction from the US Ramsey chaos, and more about the food and a learning guidance from him. He is facinating and seductive I hope he takes on the challange of tv.

You can see an interiew he did a couple weeks ago at Google headquarters on youtube, I can watch him talk about sous vide anytime anywhere.

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Thanks for the youtube interview mention, that was fascinating. Also just ran out and bought the book, to be read on my next boring airline flight.

*****

"Did you see what Julia Child did to that chicken?" ... Howard Borden on "Bob Newhart"

*****

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i would have to liked to see some pictures of white's dishes in the book since i've heard so much about his plating. in fact, just looking for pics of his dishes on the internet, hasn't borne much success.

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i would have to liked to see some pictures of white's dishes in the book since i've heard so much about his plating. in fact, just looking for pics of his dishes on the internet, hasn't borne much success.

You might have to get one of his cookbooks.

"White Heat" has plenty of photos of his plated food.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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i just finished it and found it a curious book. i read it in galleys, so it might have changed some into the final edition (there were LOTS of typos, even for a rough copy). the first 80% of teh book read to me as a self-justification and almost an apologia to everyone he'd banged up during his career. Then it took this abrupt right-hand turn and became unbelievably mean-spirited and petty. started when he was talking about the libel suit against the NYT for saying he'd had a history of drinking and drugs (funny, the first half of the book he always seems to be talking about how he was "cut" and therefore not responsible--maybe i'm mistaking the jargon). but then, as if the door has been opened, he goes off on a whole list of people. i had been feeling interested and somewhat sympathetic, but i wound up really detesting the guy. he may be a good cook, but he seems to be a totally f**ed up human being.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After a pretty much one sitting read, I finished the book yesterday. The first few chapters felt rather tentative, as if he was trying to find his voice through the bluster. As I continued, however, the book took on a more conversational tone, and I really felt as if he was speaking.

Perhaps it just took a bit of time for me to get to know him, as it were.

He certainly doesn't fear humiliating himself, nor does he fear bragging about himself. He struck me as an extremely complex man, trying to attain pure simplicity. Tough to reconcile.

I really enjoyed it.

Steve

"Tell your friends all around the world, ain't no companion like a blue - eyed merle" Robert Plant

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I grew up in England during the reign of 'l'enfant terrible' (MPW) and he caused quite a stir, not only in he kitchen, but the World of food generally. I enjoyed White Slave, though I didn't feel like it 'captured' the essence of what was going on back then. The biggest hit was "White Heat" a cookbook with loads of B&W pics of moody Marco doing what he does best. It spawned a whole generation....Followers of the original rock n roll chef...

BTW, does anybody know where I can get another copy of "White Heat"? it is a rare find indeed these days.

Cheers

Teddy

http://brooklyngrubber.typepad.com/

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BTW, does anybody know where I can get another copy of "White Heat"? it is a rare find indeed these days.

Cheers

Teddy

http://brooklyngrubber.typepad.com/

Try amazon.co.uk - they have 2nd hand copies (hardcover) for sale.

I've got a paperback version that I picked up brand new last year (here in Melbourne, Australia), but according to Amazon.co.uk, it looks like it's now out of print.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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The biggest hit was "White Heat" a cookbook with loads of B&W pics of moody Marco doing what he does best. http://brooklyngrubber.typepad.com/

Speaking of the moody black and white photos in White Heat, I was looking through the book last night and you can see a young Gordon Ramsay in one of the photos.

Daniel Chan aka "Shinboners"
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

I bought it , enjoyed most of it but find Ramseys book overall a better read.

I love 'White Heat' but in general think Ramsey showed a bit more balls by actually throwing himself into the fray by going to France and getting his butt kicked.

I think of this phase of MPWs life as a chef, etc., as a 4th rate Bourdain

2317/5000

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I just finished it a few days ago and thought it was such a great book. It had lots of laugh out loud moments and a pretty good insight to his life as a michelin starred chef.

The relationships and how they all ended were very strange, especially the Gordon Ramsay incident; ie the lunch at the Fat Duck! wow...

I honestly think it was one of the better memoirs I have read in a while. I did not know a whole lot about MPW, only that he was a 3 star chef and a nasty SOB.....but after reading this book I totally respect the man and can definatley see his point of view on things.

Edited by chefAZ (log)
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  • 4 weeks later...
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