I had resigned myself to the fact that I was pretty much willing to sell a vital organ if the opportunity to see Chef Marco Pierre White cook live ever presented itself. Upon hearing Marco was the international headline chef for the Good Food and Wine Show this year, and that watching his demo was included in the ticket price, I mentally gave all my much-needed organs a virtual hug.
Marco Pierre White at the Good Food and Wine Show
And MPW aka White Heat aka the original Enfant Terrible DID NOT disappoint. He certainly surprised. But in the strangest way. Honestly, Marco isn’t at all what I had expected. He’s softer.
On opening his demo, he asked for “a few” volunteer helpers to assist him. He landed up with TWENTY, mostly women, on stage. I’m convinced it was because he didn’t have the heart to deny his troves of adoring fans. Plus, it being his last day in Cape Town, he was probably feeling a little sentimental.
The funniest thing though, was that not a single volunteer so much as stirred a pot, or rinsed a spoon. I got the impression that the “seething White Heat” actually just wanted some company. Just wanted to feel a little “less watched,” a little more comfortable. And that’s not to say he didn’t command the stage. He was charming, charismatic, funny, and incredibly motivational.
During his segment he cooked lobster macaroni. A casual dish, in a casual manner. The entire demo consisted of questions from the audience, where Marco would share some pretty intimate information while nonchalantly creating food magic before our eyes.
Here’s what I learned about him:
- He never wanted to be a chef! His father was a chef and forced him to work in a hotel restaurant as soon as he finished school. “The rest is history.” His words.
- His favourite weeknight meal is a ham and butter sandwich on fresh bread, with a cup of tea.
- His favourite treat is a chocolate sandwich.
- He has a young daughter. When asked to share advice, he said he would give the same he gives his daughter. And that is to have a dream, cultivate the tools and capabilities to achieve it, create your vision, and be brave enough to run with it. Denying your dreams will only leave you feeling frustrated.
- He was “never really ambitious.” Once again his words. His view is that every little occurrence is a small piece of a giant puzzle. Every mistake, every detour, every difficulty is priming you for something specific. Embrace it.
- His top three chefs are Alain Chapel, and two other French sounding dudes that I literally CANNOT make out from my recording. Sorry. He did mention they’re all dead though.
Local chefs at the Good Food and Wine Show
I watched J’Something do his thing at the Cooking with Chefs Theatre. Yes, you could actually cook along with the chefs! He came across as super knowledgable, but also very chill. Obviously J’Something is from local music group, Mi Casa, so naturally you’d think music is more his thing. But the guy can definitely cook!
I also caught a bit of his demo at the Chefs Open Theatre just before closing where he prepared an artfully plated dish off his Pretoria restaurant, Something’s Cooking, menu. He recently stated in a radio interview that he’ll be opening a restaurant in Cape Town soon too. It’s inspirational to me how J’Something had the courage to “reinvent” himself in the eyes of the public, and pursue his culinary passion. He’s the perfect reminder that you never need a reason to explore a new avenue in life other than your mere desire to do so.
Sarah Graham made citrus and thyme syrup soaked madeleines at the Mnet Theatre, and I got to taste one! Obviously, it was scrumptious. Her affinity for simple, tasty, and conscious food resonates deeply with me. Sarah has such a warm and relaxed aura. It was great to be reminded that Sarah’s success in cooking arose from merely “trucking on” with what brought her joy. She loved to cook, she loved to write, and so she started a food blog, which eventually turned into a book, which eventually turned into a food series. So if you needed to hear this – keep going; follow your bliss!
Stay tuned for the next installment of what went down at the Good Food and Wine Show, where I’ll share what I stuffed my face with.
The Good Food and Wine Show will be in Joburg from 28 – July, and Durban from 27 – 29 October. Check out http://www.goodfoodandwineshow.co.za/ for further details.