Jason Atherton is a big deal. On a name dropping basis alone he’s worked with the likes of Marco Pierre White, Nico Ladenis and Pierre Koffman. He survived a decade long tenure in one of Gordon Ramsay’s kitchens, before launching his own restaurant group The Social Company with a mission to deformalise fine dining (great food, no stuffiness). Now the Michelin-starred chef is bringing his social skills to Dubai, opening Marina Social at the Intercontinental Dubai Marina on September 3. Here we chart the journey of a man who went from caravan park to celebrity status….
The dish that really made you feel like a chef… I made a Steak Diane when I was 16. It was the first dish I’d made from scratch without being told what to do. I did the flambée bit and thought it was really cool. I was working at a little restaurant called The County Hotel in Skegness, Lincolnshire at the time. It all just worked and the customer said it tasted great. I felt like I’d really achieved something.
The best meal I’ve ever had was… the new tasting menu at Eleven Madison Park in New York City. It’s just on another level, amazing. I absolutely loved it. The chef Daniel Humm makes a three course dessert with ewes milk. You start off with a cheese course, then he makes a pre-dessert with the whey and a dessert with the milk. It was one part of many special memories from that meal. I was blown away.
The one thing I can’t stand… Okra, it’s slimy. People say put it in a chilli, a curry, fry it up. No, I don’t care what you do it never tastes good. All Okra needs to be taken to the moon and blasted.