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Once-controversial British chef Marco Pierre White has given his seal of approval to plant-based eating. The declaration follows a five-stone loss after eating vegan for nine months. Despite recording numerous benefits, the multiple steakhouse owner did not embrace the diet permanently.
White has recalled his “amazing” nine months as a vegan. He cites weight loss, improved sleep, and a more acute sense of smell as some of the benefits gained after ditching animal products. Despite reintroducing meat into his diet, he has now launched an online vegetarian cooking course.
Putting vegetables in the spotlight
White switched to a vegan diet after noticing that his daughter rarely ate meat. This was 10 years ago. He reminisced, in an interview with i News, about the highs and lows of plant-based eating. “The first three weeks, it didn’t affect me in the slightest,” he told the publication. “Then in the six weeks after that, I became quite introverted, quite weak. Then I went back to normal, slept a lot better, my sense of smell was greater and I lost an enormous amount of weight, about four or five stone, and had a lot more energy.”
White has returned to his carnivorous roots. These saw him launching one of the most recognizable cookbook covers ever for White Heat, but he is now embracing vegetarian cuisine alongside his passion for meat. “Dishes which I may once have foolishly considered just the garnish on a plate have now become wholesome, spectacular and delicious centrepieces,” he says in his BBC Maestro course.
Ready for future foods
White has been outspoken about fellow chefs wanting to turn established restaurants fully vegan. He supported Claridges’ decision to rebuff chef Danial Humm’s request and see’s no business sense in the maneuver. However, he remains open to new innovations within the culinary field.
White no longer conducts a kitchen, but he has announced that 3D printed vegan steaks will be sold in his restaurants. The ‘meat’ will be supplied by Israel’s Redefine Meat and will be priced comparably to standard beef. “It’s the cleverest product I’ve seen in my entire career,” he told i News. “When I first tried it, I snapped it in half to look at the structure, and it’s got the texture of a cheek of beef or brisket. I could make a boeuf bourguignon and you wouldn’t know it wasn’t meat.”
The protégé that follows his lead
Gordon Ramsay trained under White, the latter famously making the former cry during their time together. Despite a baptism by fire in White’s kitchen, it appears that Ramsay is still heavily influenced by his former teacher’s experience.
Having been outspoken about vegans in the past, Ramsay has set his sights on welcoming plant-based food into his restaurants. His new Chicago restaurant features a vegan burger and diners can choose to substitute meat-free patty into any other burger offered.
Ramsay has appeared to soften in his stance on veganism. The latest series of Hell’s Kitchen featured a vegan chef, Josie Clemens. He has also experimented with a month-long plant-based-only menu at his Street Pizza restaurant in London.
All images courtesy of Marco Pierre White.