Marco Pierre White is widely considered to be the godfather of British cooking. The renowned chef began his career training under Pierre Koffmann and Raymond Blanc, before branching out on his own with his first restaurant, Harvey’s, in London, where he earned his first Michelin star. He now has a string of successful restaurants and remains the first British chef in history to have been awarded three Michelin stars (and the youngest in Michelin history).
As well as making a name for himself at land, he has also made one at sea as one of P&O Cruises’ Food Heroes, conducting cooking masterclasses to the delight of passengers. He discusses what it’s like working with P&O and why he now loves cruises.
What do you enjoy most about working with P&O Cruises?
Their ships have something for everyone – they are fun-palaces, but also very romantic and they provide a real sense of occasion. And the thing that particularly impresses me about P&O Cruises is that nothing is too much trouble for the crew. They all have a great attitude – I’d love them to work with me.
Have you become an ardent cruise-lover in the 12 years you’ve worked with P&O?
Yes – I love the concept of cruising and I think it’s such a special way to see the world. I enjoy packing my bags, knowing that I’m going to get a taste of several countries in a week. I like to explore ashore, finding hidden gems, as well as discovering quiet spots around the ship. I also enjoy seeing the Strictly professionals when they come on board, and watching the Astonishing! magic show in the ship’s theatre.
Does the quality of food at sea surprise you?
Whenever I cruise – which is several times a year – I’m always astounded at the high standard of the food, and how consistently it’s kept up. Everything is correct, well presented and with a sense of classicism that’s hard to find on shore nowadays.
Your on-board cooking demonstrations are something of a legend. Tell us a little about how those work…
The Cookery Club is a wonderful space. There is no other cookery school in the world where you’ll see as many famous, talented and Michelin-starred chefs taking classes as the one on Britannia. When I’m on board, my classes are around two hours long and very hands-on. I offer one-to-one guidance, answer questions and break the process down, step-by-step. I also host dinner parties on the ship, and those are great fun. Everyone gathers round the stove with a glass of fizz while I make the starter, and then we all sit down at the chef’s table to enjoy a few courses of delicious food and matching wines. There’s lots of chat and we watch the sun set. It’s a very special evening.