Marco gives celeb chefs hell as he joins TV show

CHEF Marco Pierre White was unveiled as the new star of TV show Hell’s Kitchen yesterday — and immediately laid into fellow chef, Jamie Oliver.

White dismissed Oliver’s school dinners campaign as a “cynical” publicity stunt which has failed to improve children’s food.

He also stoked up his simmering feud with Gordon Ramsay, saying: “He doesn’t enrich my life in any way.”

And he slammed celebrity chefs who put their names to expensive restaurants but never cook there.

White will put 10 celebrities through their paces in the new series of reality show Hell’s Kitchen, to be broadcast later in the year.

He announced details of the show at Luciano’s, his restaurant in St James’s, central London. And it wasn’t long before he was taking a swipe at hit Channel 4 show Jamie’s School Dinners.

Oliver campaigned for junk food to be banned from schools. Following his TV series, the Government pledged an extra £280 million for school meals.

But an unimpressed White said: “I don’t actually admire him. I like Jamie. But I think when you walk down Downing Street to Number 10 with a camera crew at the gates, it’s a bit cynical.

“My kids are at school and nothing has changed. As long as companies like Sedexho and Compass are controlling school kitchens, nothing is going to change.

“It’s very easy to highlight something. But if you’re going to stand up for a principle, you have to keep on going back and keep on working at it.”

Oliver delivered a petition with more than 270,000 signatures for his Feed Me Better campaign to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

But White said: “To fill a box up with people signing whatever — big deal.”

The Leeds-born chef, whose own children attend boarding school, proposed his own plan to revolutionise school dinners.

“You should get 1,000 chefs in the UK to look after certain areas and give their time, even if it’s a few hours, for nothing.”

A young Ramsay learned his trade with White and the pair are said to have fallen out. White confirmed the pair are no longer on speaking terms.

“If someone doesn’t enrich my life, I don’t want them to be part of my life. He has nothing to contribute to it,” he said.

More in this section

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox