MasterChef Judge Marcus Wareing

150 150 Rob McGibbon

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Published: 21 March 2015

MasterChef judge Marcus Wareing:

‘If someone cuts a corner in my kitchen I turn into Mr Shouty, but I’m always fair’


We ask a celebrity a set of devilishly probing questions – and only accept THE definitive answer. This week it’s the turn of chef Marcus Wareing


The prized possession you value above all others...My two-Michelin-starred restaurant Marcus At The Berkeley Hotel in London. I created it from scratch. It’s my life’s work and I love it.

The biggest regret you wish you could amend...Not studying hard enough. I worked at my dad Raymond’s fruit and potatoes business when I was 11 and left school at 16 without qualifications to go to catering college, so I’ve had to catch up.

The temptation you wish you could resist...Not switching off my iPhone or iPad long after work. I do 16-hour days and I’m always thinking about business.

The book that holds an everlasting resonance...A Kestrel For A Knave by Barry Hines. It’s about a troubled boy who bonds with a kestrel – Ken Loach based his film Kes on it. I read it when I was 12 and identified with the boy being a loner.

The priority activity if you were the Invisible Man for a day...I’d spend the day in Google’s HQ in California to see what ideas they have in development. I’m fascinated by technology.

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise...Mess and untidiness. I go to someone’s house and see the state of their kitchen and think, ‘Jesus Christ, why?!’

The film you can watch time and time again...The Wolf Of Wall Street with Leonardo DiCaprio. I love the way he motivates his staff to make money. The environment was similar when I was training to be a chef and I enjoy that competitive spirit.

The person who has influenced you most...The chef David Nicholls, whose son Dan broke his neck in 2003. He’s doing so much with his charity [Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation]. David helped me when I was having a tough time. He’s special.

The figure from history for whom you’d most like to buy a pie and a pint...Maggie Thatcher at her peak in the 80s. I’d like to know how she remained so strong when she was fighting so many battles, like with the miners. She was unique.

The piece of wisdom you would pass on to a child...Take advantage of your schooling – it will be the bedrock of your life.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you...To have been a top boxer. I started at nine and I was good, but I gave up at 17 when I moved from Southport to London.

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity...Politics. I love the battle of it and the complexity of the issues. I see the country as a company, and it should be run like one.

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again...My Nanna Emily, who died in her 60s when I was 11. She was great fun – I always asked her to take her false teeth out. I wish she’d lived to see me get on in life.

The unending quest that drives you on...To never give up.

The poem that touches your soul...I’m not into poetry but I love the hymn Lord Of The Dance. It reminds me of going to church at school for the Harvest Festival, which taught me the importance of giving back.

The misapprehension about yourself you wish you could erase...That I’m Mr Nasty. If someone cuts a corner in my kitchen I turn into Mr Shouty, but I’m always fair. I can be very relaxed.

The event that altered the course of your life and character...Working for my dad’s business as a boy. On Saturdays I did the deliveries with him on the wagon and I got to see inside kitchens at restaurants and hotels. I loved the buzz and it inspired me to be a chef.

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it...Speeding – and I would do it very regularly. I drive a Jaguar F-Type and I love speed. But I have a clean licence.

The song that means most to you...How Deep Is Your Love by the Bee Gees. It was the first dance at my wedding to Jane in 2000.

The way you would spend your fantasy 24 hours, with no travel restrictions...I’d begin at the top of The Shard in London to watch the sun rise, then go for a full English breakfast in the restaurant there. I’d then take Jane and our kids – Jake, 13, Archie, ten, and Jessie, seven – on a helicopter ride over Paris. We’d walk around the city before going to New York for lunch at Eleven Madison Park where I’d have the Tasting Menu and some wine. In the afternoon, we’d go skiing at Courmayeur in Italy. I’d stop for hot chocolate on the slopes. Later, I’d like a sail on a boat near St Tropez at sundown and some rosé wine before heading to Las Vegas. I love boxing, so I’d have ringside seats with my dad and brother Brian to watch Floyd Mayweather Jr fight Manny Pacquiao. I’d end the day with the family at the One & Only Reethi Rah hotel in the Maldives with a seafood barbecue and some decent wine.

The happiest moment you will cherish forever...The births of my three children and, professionally, taking over the lease of my restaurant Marcus in 2008.

The saddest time that shook your world...The attacks on New York on 9/11. It was the beginning of war on the West and it was devastating to see.

The philosophy that underpins your life...Work hard. Then work harder.

The order of service at your funeral...A simple church service followed by a cremation and I’d leave plans for a party with a fantastic meal. I want my ashes scattered in the South of France, so I’ll always be in the sunshine.

The way you want to be remembered...As a great father.

The Plug...Marcus owns three restaurants – Marcus At The Berkeley Hotel, The Gilbert Scott Bar and Tredwell’s. Visit