My Life In Food: Jason Atherton

 

Atherton was the first British chef to complete a stint at El Bulli in Spain in 1998. He has worked under Pierre Koffmann and Marco Pierre White, eventually joining the Gordon Ramsay Group, for whom he opened Maze in 2001. Last year he opened Pollen Street Social, to great acclaim.

What are your most and least used pieces of kitchen kit?

In my kitchen at work the Thermomix is the most used thing. It's like a high-powered blender that heats things as it liquidises them. It is unrivalled when it comes to making purées or flavoured oils or fresh hollandaise. My least used piece of kit lives in my kitchen at home: a pizza slice, one of those silly little sharp circular wheels. We hardly ever eat pizza and when we do, it's from a take-out, ready cut.

If you had only £10 to spend on food, where would you spend it and on what?

I'd make a good English breakfast. I'd get sausages and bacon from The Ginger Pig, some San Marzano tomatoes for grilling and some Heinz Baked Beans. Eggs are a must, too, and the bread would be sourdough from my restaurant. I'd have it with HP sauce (tomato doesn't cut it; I'm firmly an HP boy). I'd be heaven with that.

What do you eat for comfort?

Pork pies. I absolutely love them. I always have a stock of them, which I replenish from Waitrose or Selfridges or the Ginger Pig. They're just so savoury and you can leave them in the fridge for a few days and the pastry doesn't spoil.

If you could eat only bread or potatoes for the rest of your life, which would you choose?

I'd say bread. Potatoes are very much a Western staple, and that limits them in a way. Bread is global and has become hybrid with local flavours and ingredients. Go to Vietnam and you have the most amazing croissants. In the Philippines you have empanadas with sugar, butter and cheese on them – they don't sound great but they taste amazing. The only thing I'd miss would be mashed potato – it's been on every restaurant menu I've been involved with.

What's your desert island recipe?

It would be my vinaigrette. It's based on a recipe from the Philippines, where my wife is from. You take some crushed sugar cane, crushed garlic, chopped Birds Eye Chilli, shallots, soy sauce and lime and mix it together. You can use it on everything from fish to braised pork, to salad. It has a pleasing umami kick.

What's your favourite restaurant?

When I'm over visiting my restaurant in Shanghai, I go to a place called Jesse in the French quarter – the Shanghai dumplings they make are wonderful.

What's your favourite cookbook?

I like The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller, it is so well produced and good-looking. Each time you open it there is something to inspire right there on the page.

Who taught you to cook?

I think every chef I have worked for has inspired me in some way. But the person who really taught me to cook was me. You have to drive yourself and set your own standards. I say to all the young chefs who come to work for me that to succeed you need to take pride in everything you do – even if it is just making a slice of toast.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Receptionist, Bar and Waiter / Waitress & Housekeeping

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The positions above are available either part ...

    Guru Careers: Fitness Centre Supervisor / Duty Manager

    £25K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Fitness Centre Supervisor / Duty Manager ...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £24000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Museum is dedicated to exp...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager

    £20600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Museum is dedicated to exploring th...

    Day In a Page

    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
    I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

    I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

    Latest on the Labour leadership contest
    Froome seals second Tour de France victory

    Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

    Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
    Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

    The uses of sarcasm

    'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
    A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

    No vanity, but lots of flair

    A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
    Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

    In praise of foraging

    How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food