As I have said before, one of the fantastic things about my blog is the myriad of invitations I receive on a seemingly daily basis. When I received an e-mail asking if I would like to go to a Masterclass with Marco Pierre White and Knorr, I only hesitated for a few seconds before accepting.
To be honest all I knew of Marco was that he had a fearsome reputation, had been the youngest chef ever to win 3 Michelin stars, aged 33 (his record was broken in 2002 by a 28 year old), and that I had once had a pretty dreadful steak in the King’s Road Steak House (I asked Marco about this and since my visit – and not as a result of my conversation – the chef has been replaced and all is well again).
Doing my research I realised that Marco had a tough start to life, and despite this has succeeded, and has risen to the top of his profession. He had the talent to be able to train with the best, and subsequently has trained many others. He retired from the kitchen in 1999, and has gone the way of many chefs, becoming a restaurateur.
Being totally honest I had not warmed to Marco’s public persona, but actually found him rather likeable in real life. A number of people have accused him of selling out with his recent work with both Knorr and Bernard Matthews, but my impression was that he really does think that the Knorr is a quality product, which he has been using for a great many years. And frankly given the current economic situation anyone with a restaurant business and a family would be barking mad not to take what sponsorship they can get.
Marco uses the Knorr cubes by mixing them with oil, and then using them as a paste to rub on meat and fish. Different and very clever. To prove how well it worked he prepared two tuna steaks for us, one with the seasoning, and one without – there was a marked difference, the seasoned one being considerably tastier.
A few of his other top tips were,
- When griddling food, oil the food, not the griddle. This had never occurred to me, and I have now tested it at home and it works a treat.
- When frying chicken, for extra crispy skin place skin down in a cold pan and slowly turn the heat up, this renders the fat, and leaves the meat lovely and moist (also works for duck).
- It is fine to use chicken stock with fish, in fact it possibly is better not to use fish stock if you do not like your fish to be too fishy.
- Marco sources his beef from Donald Russell, chicken from Allen’s and tuna from Foreman & Field.
If a picture tells a thousand words then a video must tell many more, so here is a recap of the class.
Chatting to the Knorr reps after the class was interesting, the recipes for each stock and product change according to the country they are destined for. I asked if the chicken products used free range chicken and was a little disappointed to be told that they did not know, which I felt was dodging the issue slightly. That aside, it was a fantastic day, and I am now a (non chicken) Knorr convert!
Many thanks to Knorr and Marco for a lovely day.
Knorr will be sending me some seasonal boxes to cook from over the coming weeks, so watch this space for some recipes.