If you're a fan of reality cooking shows, you may have heard about NBC's upcoming show, Chopping Block, which airs March 11. The show stars Marco Pierre White, the UK's original bad-boy chef, who has been known to make even Gordon Ramsay cry.
When I spoke to White today, the Chopping Block host was, in stark contrast to his deviant reputation, incredibly gracious, even-keeled, and — dare I say it — sentimental. He denounced bad behavior in the kitchen and on his show ("I will not tolerate bad language or anybody raising their voice") and insisted on being called by his first name ("Marco's my name; chef's my trade"). The one negative thing he had to say, however, was about Hell's Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay's reality cooking show. Get to know the chef when you read more.
On Hell's Kitchen and host Gordon Ramsay: I've seen nothing original about Hell's Kitchen. Gordon is allowed to conduct himself as he wishes. It's quite interesting, watching someone's legacy unravel. Of course, it would be easy to swear, to shout, to suppress people, and to cut people down. Do I want my dear children seeing that? There's a very fine line between being a bully and a protector. [But], let's not forget Gordon Ramsay is a great cook.
On what sets Chopping Block apart from the rest: I will never be a performing seal. I do not perform for a camera — I am myself. If you do reality TV, then you have a duty to put reality into TV. If you don't do that, then what you're doing is questioning your integrity. The one thing we do deliver is reality. That's what reality TV should be all about.
On his contribution to the restaurant industry: I showed people what was possible. I helped people create their dreams. I remember Heston Blumenthal on his first day in the kitchen, Mario Batali on his first day in the kitchen, Gordon Ramsay, as a little boy, coming to work for me. All I did was share my dream with them. All you can do is share your story, your philosophy.
On the organic and healthy food movement: I came from the most humble side of society. They can't afford organic. If everything was organic, what would the price of bread be? Of eggs? If you're going to question farming, then question farming on every level. Let's not forget that there are a lot of people out there who have not a lot of money.