Pink? White? Magnolia? … drama on a wall

I can’t recall ever seeing a programme with Marco Pierre White pacing around a kitchen with a thermometer or a scale that measures in microns. He strikes me as the more flamboyant ‘chuck it in and taste’ type of chef as opposed to Heston Blumenthal who appears to be much more deliberate and calculating in his methods. Yet both hold Michelin Stars.

Marco hit the headlines with notoriety of a different kind recently when someone complained about the colour of his restaurant. One wonders whether it was the same people that complained about the Minerva Inn in Plymouth that have approached the local council in Lavenham about the Angel Hotel. Someone has even likened the colour to a “pink blancmange” – could this be the ultimate insult to Marco? He probably hasn’t even made one of those since the 70’s!

He possibly didn’t even think about consulting his stocktaker about the colour either. Things like that are normally not in their brief. Something Jon Rutter and his team of stocktakers could consider adding to their spreadsheets – “Item 263: Building: outside colour! (Check the shade with Dulux!)”

Suffolk pinkPoor Marco probably just bought the most handy thing he could find at the local merchant – it said “Suffolk Pink” on the label so he took it. Bad mistake, Marco. I can imagine his horror if I told him that I had bought a bottle of oil at the local grocer because it merely had the words “olive oil” on the label and therefore assumed it was the right oil and from the right region. Rutters will back me up on this, if the customer wants to maintain a certain standard then the provenance and quality of their produce must be assured.

Superior chefs like Heston and Marco will go to great pains to point out the main things to observe in great cooking – temperature, seasoning and things like the ageing of meat and so on. Heston will also wax lyrical on molecular gastronomy while Marco will go on about drama on the plate not in the kitchen.

And most chefs are the same in their passion for satisfying the customers. Not all have Michelin stars, but in the competitive business of trying to woo and then retain customers, attention to detail and quality products rule the day. The chef in the local pub will be at pains to turn out the best sausage, mash and gravy that he can. Or the most unctious Guinness pie.

The tearoom in the village will do their very best to make sure that their cream teas are the best for miles around. They won’t skimp on doing their homework on what’s popular or where better produce can be purchased. They will be at pains to ensure that their serviettes are properly laundered and folded. Because the business is in hospitality – the practice of being hospitable. And if you serve rubbish that relationship between the guest and the host breaks down. And no one in the business wants that.

What a shame some of the villagers in Lavenham weren’t as charitable with the same thoughts. But if Marco had been taken down to the paint shop that sold “Dulux Suffolk Pink” before he put paint to roller, he could have been excused for looking bewildered. The colour swatch looks, well … a bit like a shade of magnolia rather than pink. Maybe he DID see the colour and thought, no, THAT can’t be right. Who makes these colours up, anyway?


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