Monday, November 24, 2008

Male on Monday - Marco Pierre White

This Monday our Natasha Oakley is here with the youngest British Chef to be awarded three Michelin stars, Marco Pierre White ...

It's India Grey's fault!

"Marco Pierre White. Scary. Menacing. Brilliant in his field. Easily bored. Outrageously rude. Sexy in a way you absolutely can’t deny but also can’t quite explain either."

She's right, isn't she! Would I like to take him home and keep him?? Er .. no. Can I see him as hero inspiration for a book? Well .. yes! Yes, I can.

So here goes .... Marco Pierre White. Born 11th December, 1961, the third of four boys born to Italian Maria-Rosa Gallina, who had come to Britain to learn English, and chef Frank White. Six years later Maria gave birth to a fourth son, Craig Simon, and within days died of a brain hemorrhage. Graham, Clive and Marco stayed with their father at the family home, a council house in Leeds, but Simon was sent to live with his uncle in Italy.

Unquestionably a brilliant chef, gaining three Michelin stars by the age of 33, Marco was also dubbed the 'enfant terrible'. During his early career in the kitchen, he often ejected patrons from his restaurants if he took offence at their comments and famously made a young Gordon Ramsay cry. There's a picture of that in his autobiography 'White Heat'.

His personal life is ... frankly, chaotic. His first wife was Alex McArthur, who was the daughter of a surgeon from Buckinghamshire. They married at Chelsea Register Office on 8 June 1988 with neither family coming to the ceremony. Their daughter, Letitia, was born in July 1989 and the marriage ended in January 1990.

Marco then dated PR girl Nicky Barthorpe, who took him off to France to recuperate after he collapsed in August 1990 with exhaustion and high blood pressure. When they returned he moved into her Chelsea flat. Three years later she sent his belongings to his restaurant after it was discovered he was having an affair with Mariella Frostrup (the presenter of 'The Book Show' and friend of George Clooney if you like to connect everyone!).

Then he met 21-year-old model Lisa Butcher outside Tramp nightclub in Jermyn Street, London and they were engaged within three weeks. (Lisa Butcher has been linked with a couple of our Male on Mondays - Jeremy Northam and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. Useful information if you ever play 'six degrees of separation'.) He's quoted as saying he was so intoxicated by her looks that he forgot to think about her personality. Ouch!

Their wedding, sold in a £20,000 deal to Hello! magazine, took place at the Brompton Oratory on 15 August 1992. Marco says he knew the marriage was a mistake when he saw her £3,000 floor-length, backless Bruce Oldfield dress with cutaway sides. More catwalk than bride.

Lisa Butcher says, "We went to the Scilly Isles for our honeymoon. On the first day Marco turned to me and said, 'I don’t love you.' We spent two miserable days when we didn’t speak and he went shark fishing. Then I left." and in another interview "Something very bad did happen but I’m not going to say what it was. It really wasn't a very pleasant experience for me and my family."

A brief reconciliation ended when Marco began an affair with Mati Conejero, bartender at The Canteen. They started their affair in January 1993 and married at the Belvedere on 7 April, 2000. They have two sons, Luciano and Marco Jr., and a daughter, Mirabelle.

And here is Marco and his three youngest children in a current TV advert for Knorr Stock.

The marriage was tempestuous and we got to read all about it in our tabloids. This was the part where Mati hurled his hunting trophies out of the front door.

They divorced in October 2007.

But whilst all of that sounds completely exhausting there are some things about Marco I find easy to like. "If you bring children into the world, you have a responsibility to them until the day you die. They are not accessories. Being a good parent is a full-time job." Can't quibble about that.

In 1999 he grew tired of "kissing my children in their beds when I left for work and kissing them in their beds when I got back". So he handed back his stars and retired. Imagine making that decision! He lived a hunting, shooting, fishing existence, often going to shoot on Guy Ritchie's estate.

He's still a hands-on father but now he's returning to work. "Nothing," he says, "is more exciting than being a phoenix rising from the ashes."

Interesting, isn't he!

Much love

Natasha's latest Harlequin Romance 'Wanted: White Wedding' is available in the UK here and in NA here!

Romantic Times Magazine says: 'Natasha Oakley's Wanted: White Wedding (4.5) has its share of deeply touching moments, but what makes it stand out are the humor and the wonderful characters.'

And look out for 'Cinderella and the Sheikh' in shops January 2009, but available for pre-order now!

Romantic Times Magazine gives Cinderella and the Sheikh 4.5 'Oakley begins her Brides of Amrah Kingdom duet with a well-told story. The exotic setting -- and Rashid -- add a dash of mystery and glamour.'


  1. He's interesting all right! Magnificently bad but a proper handful to live with. You've got to admire the woman who chucked out his trophies haven't you? I'd just love to be that feisty.



  2. You know, there's a vulnerability to him in his pictures, that I've never considered before. Something about his lips. And his eyes. Hmmm. Thanks for this blog. Definitely "food" for thought, LOL!

    Seriously, though, my dad was a chef and an artist (with paint and canvas as well as food) and passionate about his immediate family but not necessarily always easy to live with. It's a creative thing, wouldn't you say?

  3. Tempestuous, passionate and by the sounds of it a complete and utter you-know-what!

    Definitely food for thought (and fodder for the tabloids) but would you want to live with this guy? Not on your life I'm thinking.

    Although he did make Gordon Ramsey cry, so he can't be all bad....

  4. I had an editorial lunch with the great Gillian Green at The Canteen some years ago. We were very careful not to ask for salt since MPW has been known to physically eject diners for such a faux pas...

    Gorgeous food.

    I came within touching distance of Giorgio Locatelli at my lunch. Very yummy, too, the same crumpled way.

  5. Natasha-- I've been terribly neglectful of blogland lately and missed this post yesterday! But yes-- Marco has to be the ultimate brooding bad boy. I'm attracted and repelled in equal measure (well, maybe not quite equal... attraction wins convincingly, if I'm honest) which is going to make writing this next book an interesting experience!