Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness and the Making of a Great Chef” as Want to Read:
The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness and the Making of a Great Chef
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Devil in the Kitchen: Sex, Pain, Madness and the Making of a Great Chef

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  2,236 ratings  ·  180 reviews
What do Mario Batali, Heston Blumenthal, and Gordon Ramsay have in common? Answer: They all survived tours of duty in the kitchen of Marco Pierre White. In the UK, White's brilliant cooking and high-wattage antics have made him a legend: the first British chef (and the youngest chef anywhere) to win three Michelin stars, a chain-smoking, pot-throwing, multiply married culi ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Bloomsbury USA (first published January 1st 2006)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Devil in the Kitchen, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Devil in the Kitchen

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony BourdainYes, Chef by Marcus SamuelssonWaiter to the Rich and Shameless by Paul HartfordBlood, Bones, and Butter by Gabrielle HamiltonHeat by Bill Buford
Yummy Memoirs!
18th out of 51 books — 90 voters
Headache Relief for Women by Alan M. RapoportThe Pleasure of My Company by Steve MartinFanny Hill, or Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John ClelandFrench Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille GuilianoBeyond the Pleasure Principle and Other Writings by Sigmund Freud
Pleasure or Pain
66th out of 81 books — 8 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
OOooh, he's such a nasty boy. I think I might like to have him cook for me, but I wouldn't want to know him in any other context. I wouldn't want to be his wife and I sure as hell wouldn't want to work for him.

I understand that to some degree a mercurial, self-confident demeanor is a job requirement for being a Michelin-3-star-caliber chef but White comes off as a 5-star jerk. He's very quick to quote positive reviews and people who bolster his image as a sex-god Mick-Jagger-of-the-kitchen. I da
By the end of this book, Marco is neither a devil nor in the kitchen, but you do understand why he once was both. Undeniably a difficult character, the autobiography goes some way to explaining the drive and motivations behind the man and I did wonder if a couple of therapy sessions had added to some of the more reflective and self-analytical passages. On the other hand, selective amnesia is often also in evidence especially when concerning business or personal relationships, although he does re ...more
3.5 Wow, this is a tough one to rate. On the one hand, it's an autobiography (ghostwritten) of a charismatic, narcissistic, volatile, wildly-talented chef. On the other hand, it's an autobiography of a charismatic, narcissistic, volatile, wildly-talented chef. The story is entertaining, mostly compelling, and there's a good deal of culinary and kitchen life. But the further you read, the more you notice how much has been left out and how just about every anecdote comes padded in justification, r ...more
Shahine Ardeshir
Silly as it sounds, I started reading this book after watching Marco Pierre White in action on Masterchef Professionals. I know precious little about fine dining, but I liked the man from what I saw, and thought that a book about his life would be interesting.

I was half-right.

The book begins beautifully. In fact, the first half was one of the best autobiographies I’d read - about how a young boy from very humble beginnings started a life and built a career in the culinary scene in England. It w
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book; in one part a fascinatingly rewarding reminiscence of 1980s London; and in another a raw insight into what it took to succeed, both financially and socially, in the restaurant trade. James Steen (the ghost-writer) has done such a superb job here that found myself wishing that I could now read his book of how he wrote this book. I can’t believe that he could have had an easy time of it.

Good 1980s restaurant food WAS memorable, though mainly because of the
Aug 24, 2013 Ms.pegasus rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in haute cuisine; and anglophiles
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: Jonathan Lin of Goodreads
You've achieved your life's dream at age 33. Now what? It's a problem few of us even think about, let alone encounter. It's the problem Chef Marco White faced in 1995. The choices he made at that point were, like his life, unusual and courageous.

DEVIL IN THE KITCHEN is Marco White's memoir. It's the story of a boy from a financially strapped working class home in Leeds. It chronicles the distress of a boy who lost his mother at age 6, who feared the loss of his father from terminal cancer four y
Mar 29, 2008 Shelly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: foodies
Shelves: book-club-pick
Marco Pierre White's story is interesting. I'm not a "foodie", but I still enjoyed it. The writing style was kind of rough at times, extremely conversational and would sometimes jump from one topic to the next without much transition (surprised he had a ghostwriter), but all in all it was an entertaining read.
White, like most chefs, is a hothead. His infamous temper was apparently the talk of London's restaurant world during his heyday. Although to me he seems to go overboard at some times--like
I liked this book. . .it was unpretentious, well-crafted and interesting. If this sounds like I'm damning it with faint praise I kinda am. . .

Marco White is the self-described "first celebrity chef" aka "rock star chef" - he made great sacrifices to gain three Michelin Guide stars for one of his restaurants and is clearly passionate about high cuisine. It comes across and is compelling. At the end of the day this did not transcend the genre. . .i.e. a memoir by someone at the top of their field.
From what I've read, classic French cooking—the kind Marco Pierre White excels in—seems filled with confections. Hillocks of puff pastry or shivering gelees sheltering stronger stuff inside: fish, eggs, puddings of blood or brain.

In a way, The Devil in the Kitchen is like those dishes: under the puff pastry of celebrity memoir lurks the tale of a brutally ambitious chef, wanting nothing in life but his own three Michelin star restaurant. Hands down the best parts of this book are when White talk
Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential - a behind the scenes look into a chef's life - was what got me hooked on food literature. Although Bourdain and White are different in many ways (White's a three starred Michelin chef and he stresses that he never did drugs nor did he binge on alcohol), the Devil in the Kitchen reminded me of Bourdain's book in many ways: the hard scrabble to the top, their accounts of verbal exchanges in the kitchen with the liberal use of foul language, and ultimately, ...more
I love to read about what drives ceratin people to perfection and temperments.

This is not a cook book but a biography that I find very honest. It tells of how he grew up and how people used to work really hard at young ages, of growing up and actually living in the outside world of simple pleasures of fishing, playing in mud, catching tadpoles etc

I like this man's honestly and directness. I may not agree with his conduct in a kitchen ,though!
I find it pretty disappointing that this great chef,
Jackie C
Jun 18, 2008 Jackie C rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: chefs and therapists!
Marco Pierre White has had an illustrious career for sure, but he's no Anthony Bourdain. At least Tony has respect for the cultures of the world and sees what an as* he has been.

I wish Marco well but thought this was just another retrospective of a self-absorbed, workaholic madman who achieved high culinary honors by manipulating, terrifying, insulting, abusing, and ignoring anyone who should have mattered to him (except his wife Mati, who must be a saint or the ultimate masochist).

I'm glad to
For a book lover, there is no greater joy than finding a book that engages you and keeps you hooked till the last page. “The Devil in the Kitchen” an autobiography of the original legend of the British kitchen “Marco Pierre White” was that book for me.It is a fabulous insight into the mind of a man who became the youngest chef in Britain to win 3 Michelin stars by the age of 33, without any formal training. It is amazing to read how passion can drive people to achieve greatness and in that quest ...more
Manda Werhun
I have always admired Marco Pierre White. I wanted to know more about this articulately spoken chef and the culinary hero for so many cooks. I really enjoyed reading it, it was well written, there were passages that made me burst out laughing and others that really spoke to me and moved me. I admired Marco's determination, his eye for detail, his unnerving commitment and his unrelenting drive of achieving his ultimate dream of acquiring three Michelin Stars.

What really stood out for me is the b
Mark Strolenberg
Great book that tells the story of one of the most influential chefs ever. It certainly is an interesting journey, from his youth growing up in a counsel estate to his rise through the culinary world ending with 3 Michelin stars. The book gives a great impression of the culinary world in the 70's, 80's and 90's. It's amazing how many great chefs were trained by Marco Pierre White, or at least worked in one of his kitchens. This book is about Marco Pierre White, and less about food. While a lot o ...more
Sharon Griffitts
White's memoir seemed a bit disconnected at times, jumping from one time period to another. It is written as though he were talking to his ghost writer who merely transcribed Whites ramblings rather than editing them into a coherent narrative. The raw language did not offend me but his abuse of staff did. He justifies his behavior by saying it imprints the lesson more quickly and forcefully. Well, having a bowl of soup poured into one's apron because it was not hot and being forced to wear it th ...more
Although tempered with brief instances of enticing narration, the book falls very short of its potential. White has a reputation for having a frenetic, perfectionist attitude, yet very little of either comes across in his own book. I think a proper biographer, and not the subject, would have a far more equitable, and interesting, story to tell.
Juliet Slemming
I was hoping for more "Kitchen Confidential".. this was allll about the three stars Marco has won, did I mention he has three stars? if he mentioned it once he mentioned it 100 times... how many stars? 3 I think. Too long and just not funny enough.
Emily Christine DeOrnellas
Great book for people who love food

I loved Bourdaine's Kitchen Confidential and loved the cover and title of this book so figured this would be another fun read. It was really an interesting read - very different from Bourdaine. It also sounds as if Piere white was a much better chef as well. I like that it feels told very much in his own voice (even with the ghostwriter). Much of it goes through why he decided to work certain places and the things he took from each experience. He's a bit of a n
I found myself in a bit of a bind one day. I was in a second hand book store, holding a $9.90 copy of Marco's autobiography: RRP $30.

BUT: there was $10 left in my wallet. I was hungry and it would be six more hours before I had access to other monies or food.

What to do then I thought to myself.

I bought the book.

I can't lie to you and say this book was nourishing, that void of physical food it sustained me. It didn't.

Well maybe it filled me with a bit of warmth, but it was more the kind of war
I hadn't heard of Marco before reading this book. Reading books about famous chefs is my hobby. Marco definitely has the credentials. He is the only British Chef to have earned 3 Michellin stars. He came from humble beginnings and has built a restaurant empire in England. He was also a mentor to some great famous chefs, most notably, Gordon Ramsey. He's definitely someone to know in the culinary world.

As for the literary aspect of this book, I think the writing could have been better. Also, Mar
I know shit about food. I absolutely know nothing. I couldn't cook to save my life, and I wouldn't cook even if I could. I'm just not interested.

But I am one of those people who stared at Gordon Ramsay in awe when he first made his appearance on TV. I, like many people, wondered why on earth was he such a prick, why on earth did people tolerate him and if his food was as good as he claimed it to be. I watched Kitchen Nightmares and The F Word both filled with curiosity and thoroughly entertained
J. Joan
I've now read a number of chef memoirs, including two from Anthony Bourdain, Jacques Pepin, and Grant Achatz, and have to say this was the least interesting, captivating, or informing. I felt I did not learn too much about what made this chef special or how special his work was (I am not personally familiar with his restaurants at all), and felt the author came off as arrogant and insensitive. His writing is very disjointed and you don't really see any thematic messages or connected storytelling ...more
I echo other people's criticisms of this book in that I agree that White is a smarmy name dropper, but that is not what bothered me the most about this book. I guess I went in with the wrong expectations... I wanted to read a book about someone passionate about food, who loves eating good food and making good food with the antics and hard-ass-ness just incidental to that. Y'know, kind of like Anthony Bourdain's book, which at the time I read it I didn't find it all that fantastic. However, at le ...more
Alex Kalim
As the original enfant terrible of the modern British cooking scene, Marco Pierre White (MPW) has earned both the accolades of his colleagues and the admonition of his critics. This memoir, which vacillates between raw candor and over softened prose, is an interesting - if somewhat pedantic - recollection of a life spent in pursuit of the ultimate accolade of his profession - the coveted three Michelin stars.

MPW is thorough in dissecting and explaining some aspects of his development - he clear
Timm Higgins
This is another one of my collection that I could read over and over. What a brilliant if not ill tempered chef. If it wasn't for Marco Pierre White, there most likely wouldn't have been a Gordon Ramsey. Even Heston Blumenthal of The Fat Duck fame worked in one of Marco's kitchens. This book is a great look into his world, I mean who roasts 36 chickens for their juice? Marco does. His pursuit for perfection at the sacrifice of everything else.

If there was one place that Marco felt at home, it wa
I enjoy biographies because they give a glimpse into an extraordinary life. When a person is very accomplished, we rather easily dismiss their achievements as the result of talent and 'hard work'. But White's book reveals how big a role obsession and sacrifice play.

Other than being a great chef, I knew nothing about White - definitely none of the controversy that followed him in the Eighties and Nineties. Still, this was very enjoyable. It is written in straight-forward fashion and gives a lot o
I gave the book 5 stars because it was well written and kept my attention. I have rarely read a biography and came away disliking the person, no matter my previous prejudices when I read a personal story I at least come away with an understanding of the person. I may not agree with their choices in life etc but I take away a certain understanding of why they are who or what they are. In this book the rock star chef seems to live life by his own rules and does not have the courtesy to extend the ...more
Sep 11, 2011 Andy rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Sous Chefs
Recommended to Andy by: Pigeon In A Pig's Bladder
Marco Pierre White paid his dues cooking for the three major French chefs cooking in Great Britain and blew them away, no small feat when you consider that the English and French are like cats and dogs. "Devil In The Kitchen" also has more than its share of killer anecdotes, like:

1. Mario Batali, who worked under White, is a major Joy Division fan (“She’s Lost Control” his fave tune).
2. Gordon Ramsay, also a White alumnus, got into a major dust-up with some gypsy skinhead chap after said suede-h
Ok, second book in a row that I was just glad to get to then end! The subtitle of The Devil in the Kitchen is Sex, Pain, Madness, and the Making of Great Chef… I think the more accurate title would have been “Being a great chef is an excuse for sex, pain, and madness”. The autobiography covers Marco White’s (big name chef in Britain) life starting as a child with the early loss of his mother, through to retiring young after receiving the highest Michelin accolades possible. You kind of get a “th ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
on the book 1 2 Mar 09, 2015 12:38PM  
  • The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adria's Elbulli
  • The Reach of a Chef: Beyond the Kitchen
  • My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals / Portraits, Interviews, and Recipes
  • Life, on the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat
  • Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution
  • The Fat Duck Cookbook
  • Choice Cuts: A Savory Selection of Food Writing from Around the World and Throughout History
  • Four Kitchens: My Life Behind the Burner in New York, Hanoi, Tel Aviv, and Paris
  • Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris
  • The Kitchen and the Cook
  • Knives at Dawn: America's Quest for Culinary Glory at the Legendary Bocuse d'Or Competition
  • Eat, Memory: Great Writers at the Table: A Collection of Essays from the New York Times
  • The Apprentice: My Life in the Kitchen
  • Humble Pie
  • How I Learned To Cook: Culinary Educations from the World's Greatest Chefs
  • Think Like a Chef
  • The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating
White Heat Marco Pierre White's Great British Feast: Over 100 Great British Recipes from a Great British Chef. with Alex Antonioni Wild Food From Land And Sea Marco Made Easy: A Three Star Chef Makes It Simple (Uk Import Edition) White Slave

Share This Book

“If you are not extreme, then people will take shortcuts because they don't fear you.” 21 likes
“To know how to eat well, one must first know how to wait.” 4 likes
More quotes…