Recently, I had one of my biggest dreams become a reality when I walked into a room to see the legendary Marco Pierre White in front of me as I was faced with the prospect of interviewing him. I don’t live under a rock, so I knew full well the stories that fuelled the reputation that preceded him, so obviously, I was nervous. And I realised my body betrayed me further when I heard, “Hi, I’m Marco. A pleasure to meet you, Alisha…Oooh, your hands are so cold!” Trust my clammy hands to make an appearance at the most inopportune moments. Thankfully, I live to report that he was most charming and nothing like his reputation, but then again, I met him far away from a kitchen, haha.
I love face-to-face interviews because you can really experience the story that the person in front of you is telling you and that’s why you can watch the quick interview on MissMalini IGTV (We literally had 5 minutes and it’s a feat to not fumble with such little time in front of such a big presence, you know?) Go, watch.
But what I really learned from, is the masterclass I had the privilege to attend the following day, where I feel Marco really brought his A-game, connected with the audience and dropped some truth bombs that I think everyone could learn from.
1. Onions: The defeater of laymen
I harbour a deep love of food and eating, but I have never been under the impression that my passion for cooking could be turned into a career and the single most important reason is onions. They are my nemesis and I have flung my hands in the air in defeat multiple times through the course of life. The need for onions to be cut consistently is that that’s the only way they cook evenly. You might be thinking, “That’s it, I’ll never learn how to cook. Onions are the end of me.” But Marco suggests: USE A GRATER. Boom! Mind-blown.
Also, the cooking of onions over a slow flame till translucent ensures that all the water and acidity comes out of the onions and you are left with its naturally sweet flavour that in turn adds depth to whatever you are cooking.
2. People make themselves cry
Speaking of onions, Marco seamlessly shifted gears to make a very valid point about tears. The exchange was as follows:
Marco: “You’re not the first person to cry.” (Referring to the onions, or was he?)
XYZ: “So, are you good at making people cry?”
Marco: “Oh, people make themselves cry.”
*cue uproarious laughter*
But this little exchange was followed by a very succinct explanation about how ultimately only you have control of how you react to a situation or a person. So, the takeaway is simple. What happens might not always be in your control, but your reaction to it always is.
3. Success is born out of arrogance but…
…greatness comes from humility.
Truth bomb. #Nuffsaid
4. Risotto should walk across the plate
Contrary to what we’ve been exposed to in the myriad of Italian restaurants in India, the humble risotto is not supposed to be a heavy dish. Instead, it’s supposed to be light enough to walk across the plate and have a range/depth of flavour. And that my friend is why it is called the death dish on Masterchef Australia.
5. Try everything once
Surprising as it may sound, Marco was even vegan for 9 entire months. And on being a vegan for this time, he said that:
- He lost 30 kilos.
- Noticed that his sense of smell for anything meaty heightened to the next level.
- He used to just stare at meat like an animal would its prey.
- At the very end, he used to imagine cheeseburgers walking off people’s plates and into his own.
Safe to say, the vegan life wasn’t for him, but lesson learned. Try everything once. Even if you’re Marco and the ‘everything’ is referring to veganism.