The top chef, restaurateur and TV personality, Marco Pierre White, was at the Best Western Plus Dover Marina Hotel & Spa on Wednesday to mark the anniversary of the opening of Mr White’s English Chophouse and Wheeler’s Fish & Chips.
Marco, once dubbed cooking’s enfant terrible, met scores of diners, signed copies of his book, White Heat 25 and chatted to guests as the hotel celebrated an award-winning first year for the restaurants he inspired.
Guests included the Chairman of Dover District Council, Cllr Mike Conolly, and his wife Lynne as well as family and friends of hotel managing director K Rajaseelan (known as Seelan), who said a year ago that he wanted the hotel to boost economic wellbeing in and around Dover.
Seelan’s ambition to use the restaurants to encourage more visitors to Dover was reflected by Marco, who paid tribute to the restaurants and said food in Britain had “improved enormously across the board” in recent years.
Marco said he backed the move towards the use of local, seasonal food, not just because of the reduced impact on the environment – which he admitted his young daughter reminded him about regularly – but simply because it tasted better.
He said with people now eating out more than ever before what they were looking for was good food that was affordable and served in the right surroundings.
Marco, who paid tribute to the late Gary Rhodes following his recent sudden death, said youngsters who wanted to pursue a career as a chef “need to put themselves in the hands of the right person” while being prepared to work hard and put in long hours.
Mr White’s English Chophouse and Wheelers Fish & Chips featured in no fewer than four of eight awards on offer at Black And White Hospitality’s recent awards night for Marco Pierre White restaurants.
The hotel picked up the award for Most Improved Restaurant 2018, was a finalist for the Training Recognition and Team Member of the Year awards and made the shortlist for Restaurant of the Year 2019.
Hotel general manager Suresh Abbas commented: “The restaurants have had a very successful first year and have added to the appeal of the Dover Marina Hotel & Spa. Marco’s visit was a fantastic way to celebrate a great year and we were very pleased that he agreed to visit.
“The guests all enjoyed the opportunity to meet the man who has made such a difference to the quality of food in this country and it contributed to an evening to remember.”
The Mr White’s English Chophouse at the Dover Marina Hotel & Spa is one of only two in the country, with the other located in London’s Whitechapel.
Pictured: Marco with Dover District Council chairman Mike Conolly and his wife Lynne