As I’m stood watching Marco Pierre White ask a bunch of culinary students if they’ve ever made a roux, all I can think about is being in secondary school wondering why the hell I needed to know how to make white sauce. Well played Mrs Hodgkinson, well played.
Marco Day, as it has been named by the team, celebrates the day when the chef visits the restaurant which bears his name. He’s come along to do a demo to some local culinary students and other guests. The celebrity chef starts by regaling us with stories about Keith Floyd’s yellow oven, which he’s taken with him to demo on, and telling students to move closer so they can see the cooking. For a man dubbed “enfant terrible of the UK restaurant scene” today he seems to be playing the role of a wise, slightly eccentric teacher wrapped up in a gruff exterior – it feels refreshingly honest. You’d think a chef whose named adorns several steakhouses up and down the country wouldn’t bother with the practicalities, but here he is cooking for us – lobster macaroni, a simple but incredibly well executed dish – and there’s enough for everyone to try. Afterwards he holds court with the students, asking questions and making sure to speak to everyone.
After the demo a group of us head up to the 25th floor of the Cube to Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse Bar & Grill in Birmingham. It is, without a doubt, a stunning perspective of the city with skyline panoramic views. At night the view makes the city feel positively electric; it’s easy to see why so many people start their night there, sipping a drink and surveying the city which even from here has such a buzz. But we’re here for lunch and even on an autumnal day the sun is shining and the view is superb. We’re handed the table d’hote menu, which is a fancy way of say a set menu, although we only have time for one dish. To carry on the seafood theme, I went for the salmon with chips. A fellow guest asks me if it rocked my world, and whilst I’m not sure a piece of salmon ever could, it was pleasant, particularly the crunch of the pan-seared skin – although I would’ve perhaps liked a little less oil.
Disclosure: I was invited to Marco Day by their PR team and wasn’t obliged to write or say anything. Which given the reputation of MPW was probably a wise move.