Speaking exclusively to Caterer Middle East, White said that “menus are designed for Instagram now” with much smaller portions than when he was a chef.
“What the modern day chef has succeeded in and achieved, and I’ve got to say it’s genius, is they’ve turned canape parties into dinner parties,” said White. “I come from a world of la grande cuisine, not la petite cuisine.”
He continued: “A piece of protein, little slice of sauce, a leaf of this. The ratios are all wrong. Sauce to protein, wrong. Garnish to protein, wrong.”
White was speaking at the launch of his latest UAE venture, Marco’s New York Italian in the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi, which focuses on heartier meals than what White believes are served at fine-dining restaurants.
He said: “I don’t need 18 courses, it bores me. I’d much prefer to have two courses, and maybe I’ll have some cheese to mop up what red wine’s left.
“And you’re there for such a long time you don’t feel full. You have a little nibble then you wait for another course. Then you have another nibble and wait for a course. They’re coming to your table so many times, how can you feel comfortable withyour family and friends? I prefer to go somewhere more simple where we can have an evening out.”
Despite winning, and giving up, three Michelin stars in the 1990s, White also said that he believes the food to be the third most important part of a meal, behind the quality of environment and the service.
“You’ve got to create an environment where people feel comfortable,” he said. “And once they feel comfortable they can start to enjoy themselves. I’ve never thought food was the most important. I’ve always thought environment, service, and then food at whatever level. I think a lot of those high end, they don’t think of the environment or the service.”