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Marco Pierre White's Kitchen Wars: Date set for Channel 5 TV show

By Peter Ruddick , 30-May-2012
Last updated on 30-May-2012 at 19:14 GMT

Marco Pierre White's Kitchen Wars, the new TV show from the former Michelin-starred celebrity chef which seeks out the best restaurateur couples, is to air on Thursday 7 June, Channel 5 has announced.

The seven-part series is the first major commission for the in-house producing team at Channel 5 and saw couples who run restaurants audition for Marco Pierre White on the road across the UK. 

Restaurant balance

The auditions took place in a specially-designed mobile 'battle kitchen' in the back of a truck which travelled to Leeds, London, Liverpool and Cardiff in Wales where the chef claimed he had never eaten an enjoyable meal previously.

BigHospitality first revealed Marco Pierre White was recruiting couples for his new show in January . Of the several hundred applicants a number of contestants were given 30 minutes to cook for Marco - the top 12 were then invited to cook in a restaurant built inside a TV studio before four couples took part in a grand final in the last episode of the show.

Ahead of the series airing on Channel 5, the chef said he had been keen to find the best pairs of people whose restaurant skills matched up to some of the leading restaurateur couples through history such as Pierre Koffman and his late wife Annie.

"Although I've been a chef, run restaurants and taught all manner of people how to cook, this is the first time I'll be judging professional restaurateurs. Really good restaurants balance great food with brilliant service and that's all about the partnership between the chef and front of house," he said.

Modern British

"They may not win but they still leave the show winners," Marco Pierre White told BigHospitality at a launch to promote the show at the chef's London restaurant Wheeler's of St James's. "What they have done is put the spotlight on their restaurant. There are couples who run very nice restaurants in this country who aren't given the exposure that they deserve and that is what is nice about this show."

In the first episode of the series, which airs on Channel 5 next week, husband and wife teams of Gavin and Lucinda Gregg from Gavin Gregg Restaurant in Sevenoaks and Jon and Laura Vennell from Vennell's in Masham, North Yorkshire are among the couples cooking for Marco.

The famously fiery chef, who turned his back on Michelin-starred dining, said the biggest mistakes he saw were couples trying too hard to impress rather than sticking to the winning formula in their own restaurants and chefs presenting food they described as 'modern British'.

"I don't really know what modern British is apart from looking pretty. The reality is it isn't modern British, it is maybe English combinations but the reality is they have taken French method and they have introduced it into British cuisine - so it is really French cuisine," he said.

For an exclusive audio interview with Marco Pierre White on Kitchen Wars and the impact he hopes it will have on the restaurant industry, his career and for preview clips of the first show check back on BigHospitality next week.

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