Jason Atherton is a leading light in Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-star-studded stable of protégés, but the 36-year-old chef was making his own waves in the culinary world before he joined forces with the Hell’s Kitchen star.
The Sheffield-born chef studied at Boston College in Lincolnshire before starting a six-week training course with the Army Catering Corps, which he hated. Jason Atherton landed the role of commis chef at Skegness’ County hotel before heading to London to work his way through a stellar list of leading restaurants and chefs.
After working as a commis chef at Boyd Gilmour’s self-named restaurant, Jason Atherton progressed his career under Pierre Koffmann (at La Tante Claire) and Nico Ladenis (Chez Nico) before joining, briefly, Marco Pierre White’s team at Havey’s. He also worked at Restaurant Marco Pierre White at the Hyde Park hotel (where White secured his third Michelin star).
Education: Boston College, Lincolnshire; Army Catering Corps
Atherton learned how to run a kitchen during his three years as sous chef at Stephen Terry’s Coast restaurant in London and secured his first position as head chef at Oliver Peyton’s Mash & Air in Manchester.
In 1998, Atherton became the first British chef to complete a stage at Ferran Adria’s three-Michelin-star El Bulli restaurant after backpacking to Spain to beg for (unpaid) work at the iconic eaterie.
He returned to London to work alongside Terry again at Claudio Pulze’s Frith Street, finding time to work for a while as executive chef at the Cantina Vinopolis. During this period, Atherton scooped a Caterer and Hotelkeeper Acorn award for young achievers in 2000.
He continued his collaboration with Pulze by opening L’Anis in Kensington to critical acclaim but made the bold decision to join Ramsay’s burgeoning empire in 2002 as executive chef of the Verre and Glasshouse restaurants at the Hilton Dubai Creek.
He remained in Dubai for three years returning to London to open the ground-breaking Maze restaurant at the Marriott Grosvenor Square hotel for Ramsay. With its take on serving tapas sized portions of contemporary French food with Asian nuances, it soon became one of the hottest restaurants in the capital enabling Atherton, as its chef-patron, to bring his experience at El Bulli and in the spice-influenced Dubai to play. The restaurant won a Michelin star and three AA rosettes within a year of opening.
The Maze concept quickly spread during 2007, with new branches opening at the London hotel in New York and the Hilton Prague Old Town hotel in the Czech Republic.
This April, Atherton boosted the Maze branding by launching an up-market New York style-grill alongside its existing fine-dining sibling at the Marriott. Maze Grill looks set to become equally successful.
His first book, Maze, the Cookbook was published in April 2008.
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25 March 2003 >>
Maze at Gordon Ramsay Restaurants >> Bloomberg: Richard Vines gives Maze Grill top marks >> Jason Atherton recipes on UKTV Food >>
Bloomberg: Richard Vines gives Maze Grill top marks >>
Jason Atherton recipes on UKTV Food >>