No kitchen nightmares as Marco goes mellow

West Cheshire College catering students were no doubt trembling when they met legendary chef Marco Pierre White, who last week opened their new fine dining restaurant and training kitchens.

They prepared breakfast for Mr White, who is famous for being the youngest person to earn three Michelin stars. Luckily for the students, perhaps, he was in a mellow mood.

"The best advice I could give to these young people is that you make sure you work in the right establishment with the best chef. Be respectful, keep your head down and work hard. It is not an easy life, but rewarding for those with passion," he told the local paper.

It certainly sounds like Mr White has a gentler way with the younger generation these days. In earlier times, he took "without fear, no discipline" as his motto and would string up junior kitchen staff by their aprons and put them in the dustbin if they failed to perform. West Cheshire, you got off lightly.

Onions but no tears: chef dodges argy bhaji

And to complete a FErret culinary special, congratulations to Colin Burt, head chef trainer at Bradford College's International Food Academy, who has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records after smashing the record for the world's largest onion bhaji.

The college aims to become the centre for home-grown curry chefs, addressing a recruitment crisis prompted by new immigration rules, and it clearly isn't averse to a publicity stunt.

But as Mr Burt explained, it was also something of a death-defying feat. He had to lower the 125kg of onions and 12kg of chickpea flour into 250 litres of hot oil with the delicacy of a bomb-disposal expert.

"Lowering the beast of Bradford into the boiling oil had to be done gently to avoid the oil bubbling up," Mr Burt said. "If the hot oil had spilled out on to the boiling rings, which had five bottles of butane gas attached to them . well, you can imagine it could have been rather unpleasant, to say the least."

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