So what do we know about the cooking genius and dummy-spitting toy hurler Marco Pierre White? He’s a monster to live with and has a terrible temper, according to at least one of his three ex-wives. He was a notorious bully to his kitchen staff when he actually bothered to cook in his own restaurants, and once made Gordon Ramsay cry (I suppose you can’t blame him for the latter).
He peddles stock cubes for Knorr and regularly appears in adverts proclaiming that adding a meaty crumble to a meal will lift it out of a slough of saporific drudgery - words that would have choked the younger version of White when he won his three Michelin stars, working 18-hour days behind the stove, fuelled by strong espressos, red Marlboros, and regular delves into his ingredient drawer.
And it seems that like all bullying celebrity chefs with monstrous egos - Ramsay, James Martin, Gary Rhodes, and the seemingly mild-mannered, rosy-cheeked Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall etc - he is also very good at dishing it out, but painfully sensitive when it comes to tasting his own medicine.
As happened when White walked out of a radio interview in Australia yesterday after being questioned - in his words “bullied” - about his three ex-wives and his cooking skills. The final straw came during the Triple M Adelaide breakfast show when one of the presenters dubbed the TV chef a “rude prick”.
Dale ‘Louie’ Lewis and co-hosts Warren ‘Warrie’ Tredrea, Jon 'Blakey' Blake, and Ali ‘Ali’ Carle were banned by the Austereo-owned radio station, still cowering from the royal prank call scandal, from playing the interview this morning, but were allowed to discuss the controversial exchange, pre-recorded yesterday.
Lewis, a former Sydney Swans AFL player, incurred the celebrity chef’s wrath after raising the question of White's three failed marriages, asking whether his “first wives” had been “dismissed, for want of a better word, cos they can't cook, or didn't like your cooking?” Lewis then quipped: “Cos if you're the rude prick you come across on TV...I wouldn't be there long either.”
White tried to play down the marriage dig, but took offence at the language. He ended the interview, telling Lewis there was “no need for rudeness” before accepting the presenter's apology. “Rudeness is not having fun when it is at the expense of another person. You're a very rude man. And I hope your mother's not listening to this show today because she would not be proud of her son,” he said.
White told reporters later he was deeply offended by the remarks.
“To be honest, I was a bit off balance when it was said to me and I thought why should people get away with this? Why should they be allowed to bully people? It's why I said what I said. What's very sad is this is a radio show where children could be listening and to use that sort of language in front of children is wholly inappropriate.”
If it was for comic purposes, White said “it was scurrilous behaviour.” He added: “This is my third time in Australia in eight months and this is the first time anyone has shown me rudeness or disrespect. I just excused myself and left.”
He added: “To expose listeners and especially children to that kind of language leaves a lot to be desired. I'm not saying I've been a good boy all my life but you get to a stage in your life where you've just got to be corrected. It's called growing up.”
I’m sure the many chefs who suffered in White’s “SAS-style” kitchens, under a constant tyranny of personal abuse and savage aggression, will be amused to hear him complain of being “bullied” and the victim of bad language. Especially the poor chef who was once forced to stand in the corridor all night with his trousers down, telling every waitress that walked past that he had asmall penis. Talk about a case of pot kettle White.
DALE LEWIS: Hey mate, married three times, was (sic) the first wives dismissed, for want of a better word, cos they can't cook, or didn't like your cooking? Is that an issue with them?
(Female host giggles)
MARCO: I just think of myself as being a lucky man that I found three women who wanted to marry me.
(More laughing by hosts)
LEWIS: Yeah, cos if you're the rude prick you come across on TV, I wouldn't be there long either. That's just me surmising what I've seen on TV
ALI CARLE: Marco, I wouldn't stand for that
MARCO: All you're doing is giving me insight into you as a person.
LEWIS: (laughing) Now he's analysing me
CARLE: (laughing) He's reading you
LEWIS: He can cook and he's a psychoanalyst
CARLE: Like a book, Marco. Now, you said
MARCO: There's no need for rudeness
LEWIS: No, no, no it was just
MARCO: I think you should say good morning to me, and good bye, because one, I take offense to being called that. I haven't shown you disrespect, I haven't been rude to you. I don't like being called that word. I'm very sorry.
LEWIS: Well, I apologise Marco. I was just trying to have some fun.
MARCO: Your apology is accepted. Rudeness is not having fun when it is at the expense of another person. You're a very rude man. And I hope your mother's not listening to this show today because she would not be proud of her son. Have a nice day, bye bye.