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

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  3,349 Ratings  ·  244 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

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Jeffrey Keeten
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking
”And so I took my first step along the long, bully-laden, work obsessed, sleep-deprived, nicotine- and caffeine-fueled, passionate, hot and winding road that would end with three Michelin stars.”

 photo Marco20Pierre20White_zpslumewfk2.jpg

I don’t cook, but oddly enough I enjoy reading about chefs and the skillet laden road they travel to create food that makes their customers close their eyes and raise their hands to the food gods in supplication.

It is really all Anthony Bourdain’s fault. I read Kitchen Confidential after catching his s
Jun 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
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
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: autobiography
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
Dec 27, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Shahine Ardeshir
May 12, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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

A decent and fun romp through the life of a decent chef.

Nothing more, nothing less.
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Perfect !
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Foodies and budding commercial chefs
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
Jim George
Marco is undoubtedly a brilliant chef, his accolades and accomplishments proceed him in the culinary world of fine food. As a person; he is arrogant, pompous, self centered, and extremely easy to become disgusted with. It seems as though he left a bigger wake in life as a personality who famously belittled and badgered every friend, lover, family member, peer, acquaintance, customer, and business associate he ever dealt with. If there is such a thing as karma, he is in for a rude awakening. I wo ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food
Like most chef memoirs, it is more a collection of essays than a coherent narrative of life. I can see how he gained a reputation - cooking was his obsession and it seemed like he had very little balance at all in his life. Combined with losing his mother early and a disciplinary dad, it also makes sense how he'd have an explosive temper and issues with treating people unwell.

I did like how frank he was about not being good with girls, lol. I liked the frankness of his social awkwardness - some
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
Mar 19, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Dec 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-literature
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
Mar 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: foodie-books
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
Marco is very blunt and honest in this book and I appreciate that. There is nothing worse than getting a celebrity biography/memoir and there is little of interest in it or all the secrets or scandals are ignored or glossed over. It kind of defeats the purpose. Well you can't accuse Marco of any of that. He tells the reader exactly how things were and isn't worried about altering things to make himself look better. He is happy to tell the stories that make him look like a psycho which does make ...more
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-harder-2016
So basically, I'm a huge MPW fan. So there wasn't much chance of me not liking this memoir. That being said, there is a lot to like in it. MPW's story endears him to you from the outset, when he begins his tale as a six year old boy who has just lost his mother. Throughout the book, it becomes clear that this has, and continues to have a significant impact on him. While at points, he does gloss over some less savoury moments in his life, for the most part, MPW is pretty upfront about his own bad ...more
Jackie C
Jun 18, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  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
Jul 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: put-aside
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,
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was given this as a present and thoroughly enjoyed it. The crucial thing with ghostwritten books is for (a) the subject's voice to shine through, and (b) the structure and flow to be tiptop. This book delivers on both fronts. Highly recommended, nicely printed, decent enough paper, and I couldn't see any major editorial issues (which always pleases me).
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
You may think that behind this mad chef is an interesting story of a misunderstood genius but, sadly, that is not the case. I'd like to eat at one of his restaurants and may find the food better than the writing. The best thing about this book is the picture on the cover.
Jennifer Foster
Jan 01, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
It's the story of an ego maniac telling you how great he is. I kept waiting for the story to start and it seemed to just be more stories of his awesomeness and hardships. The biggest miss is that the book never develops his emotions about what is happening in his life.
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
"I don't know if we can film in [Marco's kitchen]," the producer said. "War zones are less dangerous."
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Marco Pierre White what an amazing story. Ever wanted to know what you can achieve by hard work and passion? How about the youngest ever 3 Michelin Star holder and First Ever British 3 Michelin Star Chef. The almost rock star status he had achieved by his late twenties is all the more amazing when you consider. He grew up on a council estate in Leeds, his mother died when he was 6 and his father worked all hours to keep the family together.
This is the story of how he did it, warts and all. After
Antonella Montesanti
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Libro autobiografico di uno chef stellato.
In questo libro c'è tutto di Marco Pierre White, dall'infanzia tribolata all'apoteosi in ambito culinario internazionale.
Anzitutto personalmente cambierei l'aggettivo stellato, dalle tre stelle Michelin ottenute, a stellare.
Questo personaggio è allo stesso tempo un anarchico, un creativo, un maniacale, un genio, un enfant terrible nel vero senso della parola.
Dal nulla si è creato un impero miliardario attorno, con un duro lavoro e con un carattere a dir
Darnell Kebo
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Devil in the Kitchen was quite an enjoyable read. It's format takes you through Marco's journey to becoming a celebrated chef. The writing makes is easy to see his trials and tribulations, however, I felt that it really lacked depth. It was a great read to understand the process of what he went through but you don't really get a thorough grasp of any of his relationships and there are many he mentions. Some are fleeting in passing and some are described with a bit more detail. There are lots ...more
Helen Cargile
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I worked as a hotel food and beverage director. I can tell you from firsthand experience that chef’s are all very temperamental. The high stress of a busy commercial kitchen could break anyone. Chef’s can be lovable and happy one minute then ready to kill someone in the blink of an eye. This book fully exposes what working in a commercial kitchen is like in no uncertain terms. Because they work so hard chef’s can be prone to excess in their down time- also conveyed very well by the author. He te ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
on the book 1 3 Mar 09, 2015 12:38PM  
  • The Perfectionist: Life and Death in Haute Cuisine
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentices: A Season in the Kitchen at Ferran Adrià'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
  • How I Learned To Cook: Culinary Educations from the World's Greatest Chefs
  • Eat, Memory: Great Writers at the Table: A Collection of Essays from the New York Times
  • The Kitchen and the Cook
  • Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris
  • The Fat Duck Cookbook
  • A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family
  • Ferran: The Inside Story of El Bulli and The Man Who Reinvented Food
  • Letters to a Young Chef
  • Knives at Dawn: America's Quest for Culinary Glory at the Legendary Bocuse d'Or Competition
  • It Must've Been Something I Ate: The Return of the Man Who Ate Everything
  • Service Included: Four-Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter
  • The Raw and the Cooked: Adventures of a Roving Gourmand

Nonfiction Deals

  • Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
    $8.24 $1.99
  • A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf
    $27.00 $2.99
  • Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
    $8.99 $1.99
  • A Room of One's Own
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Life in a Medieval City
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
    $12.99 $1.99
  • Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts--Becoming the Person You Want to Be
    $14.99 $2.99
  • The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Too Close to Me: The Middle-Aged Consequences of Revealing A Child Called "It"
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
    $13.99 $2.99
  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Heart of Christianity
    $9.74 $1.99
  • Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence
    $13.99 $3.99
  • The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Skin: Talking about Sex, Class, and Literature
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Your Erroneous Zones
    $10.99 $1.99
  • Hidden Figures
    $4.09 $1.99
  • Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
    $7.24 $1.99
“If you are not extreme, then people will take shortcuts because they don't fear you.” 25 likes
“I borrowed a quote from Oscar Wilde and put it at the top of the menu: “To get into the best society nowadays one has either to feed people, amuse people, or shock people—that is all.” 5 likes
More quotes…