Yorkshireman who became a Michelin-starred chef to open restaurant in his home city

HE IS one of the nation’s leading culinary names, famed as much for his hot temper as the meals which made him the youngest chef to ever be awarded three Michelin stars.
And now Marco Pierre White is set to make a return to his hometown of Leeds with the launch of a new restaurant bearing his name.
The Yorkshire Post can exclusively reveal that the celebrity chef’s New York Italian restaurant will open in the city centre at the Merrion Centre in December next year.
The restaurant will take up part of the ground-floor of the 134-room Ibis Styles hotel development at the site of the former Merrion Hotel.
It is the latest development in an area witnessing a major regeneration in the wake of the opening of the First Direct Arena in 2013.
Planning permission has been submitted to Leeds City Council today for the new restaurant, which will serve classic Italian dishes with a New York twist.
Edward Ziff, the chief executive and chairman at Town Centre Securities, which owns the Merrion Centre, said: “It was actually my daughter’s idea.
“She spends a lot of time in London and looked at one of his restaurants.
“Plus Marco Pierre White is an ex-Leeds boy and was keen to get one of his restaurants in the city. It’s fantastic.”


Seen here: Chef & TV Presenter MARCO PIERRE WHITE who has teamed up with fellow Chef & owner of The Box Tree Restaurant SIMON GUELLER, and will be joining him as a partner in future projects at Yorkshire's celebrated Michelin Starred restaurant 'THE BOX TREE' in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. Pictured here outside 'The Box Tree'...(19 Oct 2010).

Marco, who started out at The Box Tree in Ilkley, had previously planned to open a restaurant at the Queen’s Hotel in Leeds city centre in 1999.However, the project was postponed indefinitely, with a spokesman at the time citing “complications”.
But the success of the Arena Quarter has been enough to entice the chef to try again in his hometown.
Mr Ziff added: “The Merrion Centre is in the heart of the Arena Quarter, which is rapidly becoming a popular destination with restaurants, bars and the First Direct Arena.
“We are very excited to welcome a top restaurant and hotel to the offering.”
Since the First Direct Arena opened in 2013, it has sparked a wave of investment in the surrounding area.
Leeds City Council’s executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, Coun Richard Lewis, said: “Since the arena became a reality, the area around the Merrion Centre has flourished, developing into a thriving and vibrant ‘quarter’ in the city centre.
“We can continue making the Arena Quarter a massive success story for our city.”
The Merrion Centre has undergone a £50m facelift and the £34m Hilton Leeds Arena Hotel is currently under construction nearby.
Hell’s Kitchen star, Marco owns 19 restaurants in the UK and there are plans to expand to 50 restaurants by the end of 2017. He has already opened a New York Italian venue in Sheffield and on a visit there last week, he said: “If I think of the world I came from, a humble world, we never went to restaurants.
“Going to the pub in the summer for an orange juice was a treat. But the working man is aspirational now and he wants more out of life.
“He wants to buy a house, he wants to buy a car, he wants to dine in restaurants. What’s important is to make things affordable.”
Nick Taplin, the chief executive at Black and White Hospitality, which owns the Marco’s New York Italian brand, said: “Returning home to Leeds will be a special moment for Marco and we hope our guests will feel it was worth the wait.”

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