Happy ending to story behind iconic Marco Pierre White image

It was an iconic image that helped to build Marco Pierre White’s reputation as a bad boy culinary genius.

And now there is a new twist with a happy ending to the story of the young chef who had his clothes cut off his back for complaining that the kitchen at Harveys restaurant was too hot.

Far from being put off working in a kitchen by the experience, Jason Everett went on to build a successful career as a chef, and has now taken charge of the kitchen at the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill at Cadbury House in North Somerset as executive head chef.

“It is beautiful to have someone I taught running one of my kitchens,” said Marco, who now owns more than 35 restaurants across the UK under five different brands and the Rudloe Arms Hotel in Wiltshire, and also appears on the television series Hell’s Kitchen in Australia.

“When I removed the back of Jason’s clothes it was done with affection. He had been complaining it was too hot, but kitchens should be hot so the food can be kept warm, so I removed the back of his jacket to create some ventilation for him.”

The photo of Jason and his bare back was taken in the kitchen of Harveys by photographer Bob Carlos Clarke for the 1990 book White Heat, and is one of several from the book and its 25th anniversary edition White Heat 25 that adorn the walls of the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill at Cadbury House.

Marco spoke about Jason’s appointment to the helm of the Steakhouse when he recently hosted a dinner and book signing at the restaurant, which is located within the historic Cadbury House and Hotel. He also hosted a lunch and book signing at Bardolino Pizzeria, Bellini & Espresso Bar, which takes its name from the Italian birthplace of his mother and is located at theclub health club at Cadbury House.

Jason recalled: “The kitchen at Harveys was tiny and the extractors were always going down so we would have to have fans on. When I complained to Marco about the heat he got a sharp knife and started cutting off what I was wearing.

“It didn’t put me off working for him at all. It kept me on my toes and I never complained again. The energy Marco created when he was in the kitchen was what kept you going. It was the original Hell’s Kitchen, and that was what made it so enjoyable.

“I gained so much knowledge working for Marco at Harveys – not least how to handle pressure. Marco’s input as head chef was incredible: his head is full of so many ideas and he has the most amazing palate. He taught me how to create incredible dishes using simple, good quality ingredients.

“I feel really privileged and lucky to have worked for Marco at Harveys. There were so many guys who wanted to work there as it was the place to be in the late 80s and early 90s. You had to be a bit crazy and driven to work there.”

It was at the 25th anniversary exhibition for White Heat that Marco and Jason got talking and Marco invited Jason to take charge of the kitchen at Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill at Cadbury House.

Jason, who previously owned The Goat House restaurant in nearby Brent Knoll, said: “Marco has kept in touch with me through my career. It’s really nice that he has always remembered me, and we got together again at the 25th anniversary exhibition of his book White Heat.

“I’d been self-employed for a while, but I’m enjoying working for Marco again. It’s given me a new lease of life, and I’m looking forward to passing on to the team here the things I learned from Marco at Harveys.”

Marco added: “I’ve always kept in touch with Jason and it’s wonderful to have him here. He is happy here.

“Jason was brilliant when he was working for me at Harveys. He learned quickly and he was very conscientious.

“But the greatest teacher in life is yourself, as you will teach yourself more than anyone else will ever teach you - all other people can do is inspire you. My job as a head chef was always to inspire and to bring out the best in everyone in the kitchen in different ways. They were all very different people, so I had to teach them in different ways.”

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