As part of its 125 year anniversary celebrations, Sexey’s School, a CofE, co-educational state boarding and day school in Bruton, Somerset, welcomed the ‘godfather’ of British cooking, Marco Pierre White, to speak about his life and career in a packed out event at school last night.
In a lively, philosophical speech notable for its candour, Mr White spoke about his life, passions and career success to an audience of students, parents and friends of Sexey’s, claiming that “the greatest fuel a young person can possess is insecurity. It’s what drives you to achieve your goals.” He spoke honestly about his humble beginnings, and the fear of being jobless that forced him to seek out his first kitchen job in the Hotel St. George, in Harrogate. Addressing the room, Mr White advised those starting out in their careers to ensure that they “see (their) dream in order to make it come true. Success is self discovery.”
Quick to acknowledge that his career has benefitted from the support of more experienced chefs in the past (he famously studied under Albert Roux and Raymond Blanc), Mr White added these words of advice to students: “It doesn’t matter what you aspire to. Make the right decision. Make them slowly, and most importantly, put your career in the hands of the right person.” He told the audience of his own efforts to cultivate the careers of promising young, hand-picked stars, stating that the stand-out quality he looks for in a good student is “discipline. (Michelin) Three star discipline is with you for life. Discipline is consistency.”
Speaking about his love of food, he said, “A story is more important than a recipe. Food, like life, is about indulgence.” Mr White acknowledged that “a chef can’t cook every dish. But his palette, his fingers – they must touch every dish. A good chef should never stray far from the stove.”
After wooing the room, Mr White stayed to sample the delicious offerings of our own chef, Mr Matthew Briatore and his inimitable kitchen staff, before signing his cookbook and posing for photos with guests.
Sexey’s Head Master, Mr Irfan Latif, commented, “We are truly grateful to Marco for giving his time so generously to speak to our students, and to mark such an exciting time in our school history, our 125th anniversary. We can all benefit from the wisdom of his experience and wish him all the best with his exciting endeavours including his work with P&O and the upcoming film about his life.”
Mr Latif continued, “We are also delighted that Marco will be doing a Saturday Morning Kitchen event at Sexey's School where he will work with our chefs and students in our own kitchens teaching them culinary skills and the art of cuisine.”
Marco Pierre White’s visit marked the beginning of a weekend of celebration at Sexey’s, including an all-day charity Squares match with Old Sexeians, and the School’s Boarding Open Morning on Saturday 14th May.