• Why Marco Hung-up His Apron

Famed for being the youngest and first British chef to achieve three Michelin stars. At the height of his career Marco quit the kitchen and gave Michelin back his stars. So, what drove Marco to pack it all in when fans and food lovers alike wanted to bask in his culinary delights for years to come?

"You know something? I was bored,'' he says. "You are this well-oiled machine, which turns it out every day with extreme consistency. You don't change your menus because you have achieved. You don't take high risks because you have three stars from Michelin to protect.''

Marco was working morning, noon and night. This didn't leave time for hobbies outside of work or spending much time with his family. He weighed up his options and was left with three choices. To continue with what he was doing, to "live a lie and pretend to be cooking and continue to charge high prices" or three - walk away.

He chose option three.

"If I go to a three-star Michelin, I want to be sitting in that restaurant and the man whose name, or lady whose name, is above the door is in the kitchen cooking my dinner,'' he says.

"Why would I want to go to a restaurant where the head chef is over the other side of the world filming?''

"If Alex Ferguson had not been on the touchline every Saturday afternoon, hadn't been on the training ground Monday to Friday, would Man United been as successful as they were? The answer is 'no'.''

"If you went to watch Elton John play tonight and the curtains opened and his No. 2 walks on and plays his piano and his songs, would you be happy?''

Despite stepping back from the stove, Marco has stayed very much in the heart of the gastronomy world. He has restaurants across the UK and Ireland that deliver his version of 'affordable glamour.' His ethos with these restaurants is to bring good quality classic dishes to the masses. Hearty portions at not so hearty prices. Whilst Marco is not in the kitchen cooking, he creates every menu for these restaurants, every dish is his recipe. The difference now is he hands over to the head chef at every restaurant to deliver the food, it is their responsibility to pick up the baton and ensure customers leave feeling happy and satisfied with their experience.

"I can contribute to the world of gastronomy in a greater way now than when I was in the kitchen,'' he says.

"I can inspire people by doing TV. I can inspire mothers to go and buy better produce and learn to cook and give their children better food.

"Even though I am not behind the stove any more, it doesn't mean I can't share my three- star knowledge or my three-star philosophy.''

And he still loves to cook at home, describing is as his "favourite pastime."

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