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
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    SFL Group: Video Project Manager

    £24,000 pa, plus benefits: SFL Group: Looking for a hard-working and self-moti...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Reservations Assistant - French Speaking

    £16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding travel c...

    Recruitment Genius: Duty Manager - World-Famous London Museum

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Do you have a strong record of ...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Assistant

    £24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will have demonstrable unde...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss