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Marco Pierre White: The Chopping Block

Premieres: Southeast Asia on Sept 4 at 9:00 pm; North Asia on Aug 20 at 8:00 pm

- Teams vie for USD$250,000 in America's greatest restaurant challenge -

Legendary British chef Marco Pierre White made headlines when he earned a trio of Michelin stars by the tender age of 33. But the controversial and unpredictable chef is perhaps more famous for making Gordon Ramsay cry! This month on Discovery Travel & Living, eight couples have volunteered to potentially face the same fate as they compete in culinary competition series MARCO PIERRE WHITE: THE CHOPPING BLOCK. The winner will take home US$250,000 to fund their own restaurant. White represents these hopeful chefs and restaurateurs' best chance to make their dreams come true as they train under his critical eye. Who will make the cut?

One of the world's most notable chefs and restaurateurs, British chef Marco Pierre White's reputation precedes him across the Atlantic. The Michelin-star chef put the country's cuisine on par with its francophone neighbours, and mentored both Gordon Ramsay and Mario Batali. He is also the same bellicose boss who reduced Gordon Ramsay to tears, ejected restaurant patrons for disagreeing with him, and staged kitchen tirades involving flying pots and pans!

This month, two teams of four couples - split into the Red and Black teams - risk landing on Marco Pierre White's chopping block as they are tasked with running neighbouring restaurants in Manhattan, New York City. At stake for the winning pair is US$250,000 which they can use to fund the restaurant of their dreams. The heat is on when White ushers the contestants to two empty restaurant spaces, side-by-side, in the middle of Manhattan. There, they are given less than a week to accomplish a multitude of tasks, including a design and makeover of each space, planning a menu, and generating buzz-worthy publicity to ensure a crowd on opening night. Both establishments will open at the same time and will be competing for the same customers - against 26,000 other restaurants in the world's busiest city.

In each episode, esteemed food critics will be assigned to observe the chaos that inevitably unfolds on opening night before White returns with the reviews. The worst-performing team will have to plead their case because one couple will be asked to remove their aprons as they are sent home. Follow the teams as they battle it out and experience the excitement, pitfalls, and behind-the-scenes madness that comes with opening a restaurant, on MARCO PIERRE WHITE: THE CHOPPING BLOCK.


Episode 1
Celebrated chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White serves up The Chopping Block, where he offers neophyte hopeful chefs/restaurateurs a chance to compete in America's greatest restaurant challenge. The teams have 15 minutes to grab all the food for their challenge from two trucks White has provided. After much scrambling, everyone heads back into the kitchens to prepare their meals. While the teams try to get their restaurants ready for the busy dinner service, White stops by to drop a bombshell. Based on their performances, either the Red or Black team will be named the winner and White will fire one couple from the losing team.

Episode 2
Presentation is key in this episode. The teams must redecorate the front of their restaurants and dress a table for White. While the Red team hits it home with contrasting red stripes, the Black team struggles with their bright yellow paint choice. White also gives the chefs on both teams a cooking lesson in their own kitchens. While the chefs determine the menus for their dinner service, the rest of the teams must decorate their respective restaurants within one hour. In this week's challenge, the potential restaurateurs must create a dinner service for acclaimed designer Nicole Miller and food critic Jeffrey Steingarten.

Episode 3
Marco challenges the teams the find inspiration from nature. While they search the park for edible plants, White uses herbs from the park to create an inspirational meal. Having tasted White's creation, the chefs are challenged to make a dish in only one hour, again using the herbs from the park. In this week's dinner challenge, the contestants must impress Time and Nina Zagat, and are scored according to the 30-point Zagat system that is based on décor, food and service.

Episode 4
The remaining five teams are called into White's kitchen where they are required to prepare a dish using aphrodisiacal ingredients. The winning team receives an exclusive cellar of fine wine and the services of a famous sommelier who instructs them on how to pair wine with food. During the second challenge, each team creates a romantic night of service, as each restaurant will be filled with single people on blind dates and the secret food critic from the Wall Street Journal.

Episode 5
In the first challenge, White presents the couples with Italian dishes he prepared in 20 minutes and cooked in five minutes, then challenges the teams to do the same. The winning team receives an espresso machine and a barista for the entire lunch service the next day. In the second challenge, the teams have to purchase all of their ingredients for lunch service from the "Little Italy" area of Manhattan to serve to all Italian customers including Chef Mario Batali and Sopranos stars Vincent Pastore and Federico Castelluccio.

Episode 6
The three teams left realise that it takes more than one to impress White and the diners. The teams are challenged to serve two services: breakfast and lunch. One pair seems overwhelmed by the task at hand, where the other team discovers the food critic which gives them a big advantage. Also, the teams are challenged to try and re-create a dish of White's.

Episode 7 & 8
Welcome to the finals where only two teams remain. There can be no slip-ups at this stage if either team wants to take home the prize of running their own restaurant and a tour of Marco's European eateries. With only three days left, the remaining two teams need to remodel the restaurants for a grand opening. The teams visit an art gallery for inspiration before catering for an upscale event for socialites. The season finale also sees the return of well-known critics from previous episodes, including Jeffrey Steingarten, Andrew Knowlton, Corby Kummer, Coleman Andrews, and Katy McLaughlin.