FOURty Seconds with Jason Atherton

03 Jan 2016
2 min read
This year chef Jason Atherton has been a very busy bee indeed; in May he opened The Clocktower, New York, followed swiftly by Social Wine & Tapas in London’s Marylebone. Then in September, Jason opened Marina Social, a stunning waterside restaurant within the new Intercontinental Dubai Marina, FOUR speaks to the man behind the Social empire to see how things are going…

What are your earliest memories of being interested in food?

My mum ran a guest house so I helped out with the breakfast as a kid, that was really my first step into the kitchen.

What would you say has inspired your cooking the most?

My culinary hero’s –ChefFerran Adria andChefThomas Keller.

Describe your culinary style at the moment…

I don’t like to box myself off.I like to create and work with all styles of cuisine.

You have been recently working on some new projects, more recently with InterContinental, Dubai,can you tell us a bit more about what this entails?

Yes I recently opened my very first restaurant in Dubai – Marina Social at the InterContinental Hotel. It was a very exciting launch for me, I’ve wanted to open a restaurant in Dubai for some time and getting this opportunity has been incredible. It will be the my first venture in Dubai and will serve a British-Mediterranean inspired menu of tapas-style dishes, served from a beautiful open kitchen at the waters edge.

What would you say is the dining concept for the new venues?

The cuisine is British-Mediterranean inspired tapas dishes.The restaurant has an open kitchen and dessert bar so the guests can watch thechef’s create their magic.We also have a buzzing bar and social room offering sharing cocktails and a large selection of whiskeys.It’s a relaxed space where you can enjoy great food in amazing surroundings but without any of the stuffiness.

Why did you decide on this approach?

You have to look at each restaurant differently and decide what works, it’s all based around location, weather, culture, local ingredients etc… This style of restaurant for me was a perfect fit for Dubai.

What are your most indispensable ingredients?

Salt – it’s a given!

What kind of experience do you aim to give guests at your restaurants?

I want my guests to have an amazing dining experience. To enjoy great food but in a relaxed fashion. There are no rules at Marina Social, you can come in for a drink, pop by just for dessert, it’s whatever the guest wants.

What would you say has been the most memorable moment in your culinary career so far?

Training at El Bulli underChefFerran Adria was an amazing experience for me and one that definitely shaped my culinary career,

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self, starting out acareer in the world of food?

Have more patience, listen and learn every day from your seniorchef’s. Oh and maybe take a day off every now and then to relax!

What’s next for you?

We are launching in Sydney in early 2016 – another first for us! After that we are opening a very exciting Japanese concept in London. Let’s just say 2016 is already shaping up to be another busy one!

What is your guilty pleasure?

Beans on toast.

What restaurant is currently at the top of your list to dine at?

I alwayslookforward to dining at Eleven Madison – it never fails to impress.

Find out more about the culinary career of Jason