Flash-grilled: Marco Pierre White

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Flash-grilled: Marco Pierre White

Related tags: Marco pierre white, Chef

The acclaimed chef, who is currently offering a vegetarian cooking course through BBC Maestro, discusses his career and gives us his recipe for baked celeriac with cheese and truffle

What was your first industry job?
The Hotel St George in Harrogate.

If you weren’t in kitchens, what would you do?
Landscape gardener.

What industry figure do you most admire?
The late Lord Forte.

Pet hate in the kitchen?
When people cook sauces and leave the wooden spoons in. Also radios!

What’s the oddest thing a customer has said to you?
"It was delicious."

Sum up your cooking style in a single sentence…

Which single item of kitchen equipment could you not live without?
The stove.

What would you choose to eat for your last meal?
Something delicious.

À la carte or tasting menu?
À la carte.

Where did you have the best meal you've ever had? 
La Tante Claire in Chelsea, London.

Most overrated food?
Something small and tepid.

Who would your dream dinner party guests be?
My family.

What’s your earliest food memory?
Eating figs from a tree with my mother.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry?
Read, read, read.

Baked celeriac with cheese and truffle recipe

Serves four

Nutty, peppery and creamy –celeriac is an underused vegetable, but it’s versatile and I love it. This knobbly, odd-looking vegetable can be used in salads (raw, grated and combined with mayonnaise, it becomes remoulade). Alternatively serve it as a fantastic puree or simply roasted. The celeriac flavours, however, are greatly intensified when the vegetable is gently poached in a sealed bag, sous vide style, so that it cooks it within its own amazing natural juices. And then, for this recipe, the celeriac is sliced and reconstructed with layers of cheese, crispy-fried onions and truffle. A fantastic vegetarian dish, and I like to serve it with a green salad.

One whole celeriac
Half lemon
Emmental cheese, finely sliced
Truffle, finely sliced, and truffle juices
20g unsalted butter, chilled
To finish: parsley, finely chopped
For the assembly: five to six skewers or cocktail sticks

Trim and discard the roots from the celeriac, and peel the celeriac, retaining its shape.

Rub the celeriac with the lemon half (to help prevent discolouration).

Bring a large saucepan of water to a gentle simmer.

Place the celeriac in a roasting bag (or vacuum-seal bag or clingfilm blanket).

Add a pinch or two of salt and then seal the bag.

Place the sealed celeriac in the pan of water and poach for 75 minutes.

Try to keep the water’s temperature at just below boiling point (about 95°C).

Once out of the pan, allow the sealed celeriac to cool before removing it from the bag (or clingfilm).

Retain the juices, as they’ll be needed to make the sauce.

Preheat the oven to 140°C / 120°C fan / Gas Mark 1.

It’s time to slice and then reconstruct the cooled celeriac with layers of cheese and truffle.

Slice the base of the celeriac (about 2cm thick). Now finely slice the celeriac crossways, about ½ cm thick.

As you slice, lay the slices on top of each other in the order in which they are removed.

Leave the cap of the celeriac quite thick (2-3cm).

Reconstruct the celeriac on a lined baking tray.

Place the celeriac base on a baking tray or roasting tin. Lightly season it with salt and pepper. Lay a slice of cheese on top. Next, place a slice of truffle on the cheese slice, and in the centre. Place a slice of celeriac on top.

Repeat the process, reconstructing the celeriac: a light seasoning, cheese slice, truffle slice, celeriac slice.

Continue until the celeriac is reconstructed in its original layers. Finish by placing the celeriac cap on top.

A ‘scaffolding’ of skewers helps to hold the layers in place during baking, so push five or six skewers into the celeriac from top to base. That’s the celeriac – deconstructed, reconstructed and now ready for the oven.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile make the sauce, which takes just a few minutes. In a small saucepan and over a medium heat, bring the truffle juice to the boil and let it reduce by half. Pour in some of the retained celeriac juices and bring back to the boil. Remove the pan from the heat and vigorously whisk in the chilled butter. Season to your taste. Done! 

To serve: Cut the baked celeriac in slices, from top to base, or lift the layers and serve. Pour over the sauce, and scatter with the finely chopped parsley. Alternative: The truffle can be replaced by crispy, fried onions. Finely slice the onions lengthways, and then deep fry the slices at 160°C until golden, or shallow fry the onion slices in a sauté pan. Pat dry the slices with kitchen paper and add them in place of truffle when reconstructing the layers of celeriac.


Marco's baked celeriac with cheese and truffle recipe features as part of his 'Delicious Vegetarian Cooking' course, available through BBC Maestro. To find out more about the course and for a full lesson list, click here​.

Related topics: People, Profiles, Chef

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