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The British chef was the youngest to ever win three Michelin stars at 33, but handed them back at the age of 38.
On a rare oversees trip, this time to Bengaluru in India to host a two day gourmet festival , Pierre White spoke about how he wouldn’t be there had he not handed back his three Michelin stars.
“What allows me to sit here today, in Bengaluru, chatting with you, is that I don’t have three stars anymore,” report Economic Times. “When I had three stars, I never had any freedom. If I hadn’t given them back, I would have been behind the stove at all times.”
Long a vocal critic of the Michelin Guide, Pierre White didn’t even allow inspectors to visit his new restaurant in Singapore. However, the chef denies he’s a critic and claims his opposition to the grading system comes down to not wanting to be “to be judged by people who have less knowledge than me. I’m not that insecure.”
According to Pierre White, earning a Michelin star used to really mean something, he thinks these days, standards have slipped. “Now, when I go to Michelin star restaurants around the world, they are a joke,” he says.
When asked why India has failed to make an impression on the Michelin Guide, his response was; “Do you really want to strive to impress someone who has less knowledge than you? If yes, then good luck. What you need to understand is that Michelin is in the business of selling tyres and they use the guide as a vehicle to sell them.”
An admirer of Indian cuisine, the chef insists Indian chefs would be better not limiting themselves to the pursuit of Michelin stars. He claims Indian food, outside of India has evolved a lot in recent years and the best to be found outside the subcontinent is still in London.
“It’s got a lot better over the years, too. Thirty years ago, Indian restaurants in England were very simple, the food was simple. Now, there’s a level of sophistication.” And has it evolved from chicken tikka masala? “Yes, it has. But they do love their chicken tikka masala there!”
Always opinionated, Pierre White didn’t disappoint his audience complaining about modern plating. “All the time taken for presentation also affects the temperature of the food. It’s tepid by the time it reaches the table, it’s no good then. Also, the portions are so tiny, almost like canapés. They bore me… Nature needs to be your artist and generosity your presentation.”