White Heat (book)

White Heat

First edition cover
Author Marco Pierre White
Illustrator Bob Carlos Clarke
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Cookbook
Publisher Mitchell Beazley
Publication date
Media type Print (hardcover)
Pages 126 pp (first edition)
ISBN 978-1-84000-343-7
OCLC 44540505
Followed by Wild Food From Land and Sea (1994)

White Heat is a cookbook by chef Marco Pierre White, published in 1990. It features black and white photographs by Bob Carlos Clarke. It is partially autobiographical, and is considered to be the chef's first memoir. The book is cited today as having influenced the careers of several Michelin starred and celebrity chefs, and was described by one critic as "possibly the most influential recipe book of the last 20 years".[1]


Initially published in 1990, White Heat was part autobiography of chef Marco Pierre White and part cookbook,[2] that portrays White's "bad boy" chef image.[3] White was introduced by actress Lowri-Ann Richards to her friend Bob Carlos Clarke. Clarke photographed White for a Levi jeans advert and went on to create the images for White Heat.[4] Speaking following Clarke's death in 2006, Marco Pierre White said, "He was like my prop. Without Bob there would never have been White Heat."[5]

White Heat is credited with changing the image of chefs to sex symbols.[6] The photographs showed White in and out of the workplace, including smoking in the kitchen and working with his team,[7] including a young Gordon Ramsay.[6] One of the photographs featured White with a dead baby shark, which was laid across his lap in Clarke's garden for the shot. Clarke's wife Lindsay later said in an interview that Marco went on to gut the shark there and then in the garden, "The stench was unbelievable. I was pregnant at the time and the odour haunted me."[8] Another photograph featured White nude with a side of piglet in his lap.[9] One of Clarke's images of White was included in a set of ten donated to the National Portrait Gallery, London, in 2013.[10]


John Lanchester, for The Observer magazine supplement Life in 2003, described the book as "gastroporn".[11] Sue Gaisford, reviewing the book for the The Independent, described it as a "Marco Pierre White fanzine-with-recipes" and an "ego-trip".[12] In 2005 food critic Jay Rayner called White Heat "possibly the most influential recipe book of the last 20 years".[1]


White Heat is credited as being the first chef memoir,[2] and has been cited as influencing the future careers of Michelin starred chefs, including Sat Bains and Tom Kerridge,[13][14] and celebrity chefs Curtis Stone and Jean-Christophe Novelli.[15][16]

The New York Times published an article on 13 May 1998 describing White's career, using a passage from White Heat to say that the chef had a "well-publicized bout with drugs and alcohol".[17] It published an apology to the chef regarding this statement later that year on 16 September, describing the passage it had used from the book as "ambiguous".[17] The passage described White going on a drink and drugs "bender",[18] something that White later denied in court during the libel case, saying that he did not proof-read his books as he is dyslexic.[18]

White's first appearance on the television show Hell's Kitchen in 2007 caused the price of second-hand copies of his old cookbooks to spike. White Heat had been seen as a collector's item, but after the television show, the price increased to as much as £250 for a signed first edition.[19] In 2008 it was recommended by television chef Michael Symon, writing for Women's Health, despite being out of print in America at the time.[3] Arthur Potts Dawson described it as a "rock'n'roll cookbook" in an interview with The Independent in 2012.[20]


  1. 1 2 Rayner, Jay (10 July 2005). "The Man with the Dough". Observer Food Monthly. Guardian Newspapers Limited.
  2. 1 2 Scattergood, Amy (18 August 2011). "Q & A With Marco Pierre White: Escoffier, Television, Packaged Soup + The French Foreign Legion". LA Weekly. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  3. 1 2 "The Foodie: Michael Symon". Women's Health. 5 (4): 6. May 2008.
  4. Hadley, Kate (30 November 2007). "Marc and me: A year of living dangerously with TV's celebrity chef Marco Pierre White". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  5. Cheesman, Chris (2 November 2006). "Pierre White Show Pays Tribute to Carlos Clarke". Amateur Photographer. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  6. 1 2 Rose, Hilary (6 May 2005). "Marco Pierre White Breaks the Mould". The Times. News International Trading Limited. p. 5.
  7. Whitworth, Melissa (3 June 2010). "Anthony Bourdain, chef and best-selling writer". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  8. "Bob, Chelsea girls' favourite uncle". Evening Standard. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  9. D'Souza, Christa (26 July 1992). "The Cook, his Fiancee, the Tantrums". The Times. News International Trading Limited.
  10. "National Portrait Gallery receives Carlos Clarke images". BBC News. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  11. Lanchester, John (3 October 1993). "Dear Marco The Restaurant". The Observer Life. Guardian Newspapers Limited.
  12. Gaisford, Sue (18 December 1993). "Book Review". The Independent. Independent Print Ltd.
  13. "TV chefs 'encourage boys to cook'". Metro. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  14. "My life in food: Tom Kerridge". The Independent. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  15. "Meet Curtis Stone". TLC. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  16. Scott, Chloe (1 December 2009). "Cooking up a storm at Christmas". Metro. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  17. 1 2 "Editors' Note". The New York Times. 16 September 1998. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
  18. 1 2 Fisher, Lorraine (5 April 2000). "Marco: I Didn't go on Binge". The Daily Mirror. Mirror Group. p. 15.
  19. Muir, Jenny (13 November 2007). "Collectable food books". Time Out. Retrieved 10 February 2012.
  20. Montgomery, Hugh (8 January 2012). "Arthur Potts Dawson: 'I love fudge, but my teeth are wrecked because of it'". The Independent. Retrieved 11 February 2012.
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