Jason Atherton is one of the UK’s most prolific and accomplished chefs, who found success with a clutch of restaurants in London, as well as several international outposts. The chef wasn’t always destined for culinary greatness though, having being raised in Skegness and never having stepped foot inside a restaurant until he was 14 (it was a high-street pizza joint, according to Atherton).
These days, the award-winning chef is responsible for running a multi-million pound restaurant empire, but he’s also found the time to star in the BBC’s The Chef’s Brigade; a new cookery show which sees a group of amateur chefs work alongside Atherton in restaurant kitchens and learn from him.
The series is currently airing every Tuesday on BBC2 at 9pm.
Want to learn more about Jason Atherton, his restaurants and his career? Here’s everything you need to know.
Who is Jason Atherton?
Jason Atherton is a chef and restaurateur who was born and raised on a caravan park in Skegness. From humble beginnings, he has since gone on to achieve phenomenal success in his career. Throughout the years, Atherton has worked under big name chefs such as Pierre Koffmann and Marco Pierre White, before joining the Gordon Ramsay Group. In 2010, Atherton left the company to establish his own restaurant group, The Social Company. He runs the ever-expanding group with his business partner and wife Irha, who he also shares two young daughters with.
Where can you find Jason Atherton’s restaurants in London?
One of the dishes at Pollen Street Social
Jason Atherton’s restaurant group The Social Company currently operates six restaurants and four bars across London. Some of his restaurants also boast Michelin stars, while his critically acclaimed Pollen Street Social has scooped SquareMeal’s Best London Restaurant award twice, once in 2012 and again in 2017.
For the full list of Jason Atherton’s London restaurants and bars, see below:
Which of Jason Atherton’s London restaurants have closed?
Although Atherton operates an expansive restaurant empire, not all of his ventures have been successful. The chef previously had invested in the British-leaning Temple & Sons restaurant next door to his City Social, but this closed its doors in August of 2018. He also previously ran Sosharu and Social Wine & Tapas, which closed in August of 2018 and June 2019 respectively, despite being well-received by critics.
What is Jason Atherton’s TV show, The Chef’s Brigade, about?
Atherton in the kitchen as part of The Chef's Brigade. Image: Expectation Entertainment Limited
The Chef’s Brigade airs on BBC Two and features Atherton training ten young cooks who have the potential for a career as a chef, but are lacking in the technical skills needed to excel in professional restaurant kitchens. The show technically isn’t a competition, with Atherton aiming to mould the group of contestants into a finely-tuned chef’s brigade, rather than pitting them against each other. However, those that don’t pull their weight are at risk of being sent home.
What’s the deal with Jason Atherton and Gordon Ramsay?
Back in 2001, Jason Atherton joined the Gordon Ramsay Group as executive chef, having flown over from the company’s Dubai restaurant Verre. Four years later, Atherton assisted Ramsay with the launch of Maze in Grosvenor Square, which would go on to achieve mega success and spawn sibling sites in London and across the world (with glitzy international outposts such as Qatar and Melbourne).
In 2010, Atherton parted ways with the company. In an exclusive interview with SquareMeal at the time, he revealed that the pair “fell out over money”. In a more recent SquareMeal interview in 2018, Atherton admitted that he is no longer in touch with Ramsay, but did say that “Gordon is an incredible talent” and that “he is one of the best chefs this country has ever produced.”
Interestingly, Atherton’s newest restaurant The Betterment at The Biltmore Hotel will sit opposite Ramsay's recently-opened Lucky Cat, which has replaced Maze Grosvenor Square after 14 years of service.
What other restaurants does Jason Atherton own around the world?
The dining room at Atherton's Marina Social in Dubai
As well as overseeing a number of restaurants in London, Atherton’s The Social Company also has a significant global presence. The Social Company currently counts nine restaurants in its international portfolio, which spread themselves across six different countries in three separate continents.
For the full list of Jason Atherton’s international restaurants, see below:
- The Pig and Palm, Cebu
- Commune Social, Shanghai
- Canton Disco, Shanghai
- Hiya, Shanghai
- Shanghai Tavern, Shanghai
- Marina Social, Dubai
- Pearl Social, Doha
- King’s Social House, St Moritz
- The Clocktower, New York
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Featured image: James Wicks