And White is effective. The National Post article is unquestioning (and on-message):
Knorr stocks are found in professional kitchens more often than you'd think, he said, and chefs often use it to intensify the flavour of their homemade stocks ... his mother always used Knorr bouillon and that Knorr's new product is a lifesaver ... use bouillon instead of salt in recipes, such as when cooking pasta. You can also use it as an instant marinade (see steak below).
It's a floor cleaner and a dessert topping. The fact that the Knorr boullion is composed almost entirely of salt, MSG, and hydrogenated oils is not mentioned (a single cube exceeds the U.S. recommended daily allowance for sodium). The newspaper then prints three unedited Knorr-Unilever recipes, in full, with the Knorr brand names in the ingredient list.
Unfortunately, what should be an isolated (and tragicomic) victory by Unilever PR is a spreading success. Unilever is doing what food companies often do: getting cooks to switch from homemade to processed, adding industrial ingredients where none are needed. Bouillon cubes in pasta water?
On the same tour, White drove a writer from the Toronto Sun (circulation 1 million) into an overheated pant:
We're in the kitchen with Marco Pierre White, famed British chef with a bounty of restaurants, TV shows, books and food businesses under that rakish chef's hat of his. And he's cooking with Knorr, specifically the company's new Homestyle Stock, packaged in tiny pot-shaped containers that jiggle with concentrated flavour.
The newspaper columnist here continues to push the Knorr concentrate (which is mostly water, salt, and palm oil), praising its chef-ambassador as a "melodic rock star" with "that rugged handsome quality" and "wide smile." After repeating the assertion that White has always used Knorr products to make the stock at his three-Michelin-star restaurant, she has a few personal comments. "His eyes never leave your face. You hold your breath waiting for him to blink ... but he doesn't."
If White ever did use any instant bouillon products before signing the promotional contract with Unilever in 2007 (he reportedly received US$1.9 million from the company), he never mentioned it before 2007.
White's tour as Knorr's "brand ambassador" began in England, where smaller papers also swooned (and pitched on his behalf), and major newspapers took a pass. The disgusted Telegraph blasted him on its blog, ordering him to "get back in the kitchen." Newspapers in the U.S. have not yet had the honor of a visit from the brand ambassador. When it comes, I hope they will be more diligent and critical.
It is the manifestly unhealthy and inferior nature of the Knorr stocks (cubed, dehydrated, concentrated) juxtaposed with White's disproportionately total endorsement that disappoints me. Early interviewers who questioned his sincerity were met with unanswerable bluster: "It's the best fucking ingredient in the world, let's not kid ourselves. Knorr chicken-stock cubes? Genius product."