Overall ranking: 61
Chef ranking: 19
Jason Atherton - Snapshot
Jason Atherton is the former Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH) chef who quit in 2010 to open new restaurants under his own name. He launched Maze with GRH at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square hotel in 2005, gaining a Michelin star the following year. He opened sister restaurant Maze Grill at the hotel in 2008. During his tenure at Maze, Atherton oversaw GRH’s launch of Maze restaurants across the world, including in New York, Cape Town and Prague, which is now closed.
Jason Atherton - Career guide
Jason Atherton started life in the hospitality industry working with some of the biggest names in the chef world, including Boyd Gilmour; Pierre Koffmann, at La Tante Claire; Nico Ladenis; Marco Pierre White, at both Harvey’s and Restaurant Marco Pierre White at the Hyde Park hotel; Stephen Terry; and Oliver Peyton.
In 1998 Atherton backpacked to Spain and became the first British chef to complete a stage at Ferran Adrià’s three-Michelin-starred El Bulli restaurant, after initially agreeing to work unpaid.
Atherton returned to London to work alongside Stephen Terry at Claudio Pulze’s Frith Street restaurant, winning a Caterer Acorn award in 2000 for his work at both Frith Street and as executive chef at the Cantina Vinopolis. After opening L’Anis in Kensington in 2001 with Pulze, on its closure in 2002 he joined Gordon Ramsay Holdings as executive chef of the Verre and Glasshouse restaurants at the Hilton Dubai Creek, Dubai.
In 2005 Atherton opened Maze at the Marriott Grosvenor Square hotel. The restaurant won a Michelin star and three AA rosettes within a year of opening. Three years later he opened the spin-off Maze Grill steakhouse restaurant next door, a concept that subsequently spread to Australia.
In April 2010 Atherton announced that he was leaving GRH to open his own, as yet unnamed, restaurant in central London, and in May he opened his first independent restaurant venture, Table No 1 by Jason Atherton, at the Waterhouse at South Bund hotel in Shanghai.
Jason Atherton - What we think
Jason Atherton was the first British chef to complete a stage at Spain’s iconic three-Michelin-starred El Bulli under Ferran Adrià. This helped to inform his cooking style, based around modern fusion cuisine.
With the success he enjoyed at both Maze and Maze Grill in the UK and internationally – excluding the failed franchise in Prague – Atherton could have been forgiven for staying within the confines of Gordon Ramsay Holdings. But a chef of his talents was always going to strike out on his own at some stage, and so it came to pass in May 2010, when Caterer revealed he was quitting the group.
In May 2010 Atherton opened a 60-seat restaurant in a Singaporean-owned boutique hotel, serving modern European dishes in tapas-sized portions. He told Caterer that Table No 1, which is headed up by former Maze and Maze Grill chef Scott Melvin, had been influenced by his time spent in Spain.
Atherton is expected to open a restaurant in Mayfair in autumn 2010.
Atherton’s resignation was the latest in a series of high-profile chef departures from GRH, including Marcus Wareing, who left to run his eponymous two-Michelin-starred restaurant at the Berkeley hotel, and Mark Sargeant, who recently joined pub group the Swan Collection as creative director. Atherton’s departure was – outwardly at least – less acrimonious than Wareing’s, but GRH will have been sorely disappointed to lose him.
Jason Atherton - Further information