Overall ranking: 6 (43 in 2012)
Chef ranking: 2 (9 in 2012)
A celebrated chef-restaurateur with 17 restaurants worldwide, Jason Atherton rose to fame in the noughties when, alongside mentor Gordon Ramsay, he created the Maze concept and opened the brand in London, New York, Cape Town, Prague, Doha and Melbourne. Since launching his first business in 2010 in Singapore (now closed), Atherton has gone on to open eight restaurants in London, three with Michelin stars, alongside eateries in Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Cebu in the Philippines, Sydney and New York. His US restaurant, the Clocktower, which opened in the New York Edition hotel in 2015 in partnership with Ian Schrager and Marriott International (his second such venture with lifestyle brand Edition, following the launch of the brand’s London hotel in 2013), was awarded a Michelin star in October 2017, bringing his tally in the little red book to four.
What we think
Atherton initially caught people’s attention after becoming the first British chef to complete a stage at Ferran and Albert Adrià’s avant-garde, three-Michelin-starred restaurant elBulli in 1998. Returning to the UK to reunite with former colleague Stephen Terry at Frith Street, Atherton went on to open L’Anis in Kensington with Frith Street owner Claudio Pulze before being courted by Ramsay to open an outpost in Dubai. He went on to create the Maze and Maze Grill concept for the Gordon Ramsay Group, launching the first in London in 2005. He quit the group in 2010 to prepare to open his own venture.
In May 2011, Atherton launched Pollen Street Social. Today, despite operating 15 further restaurants around the globe, it remains the only restaurant he can be found cooking at, such is his pursuit for excellence there. In 2016, the Mayfair restaurant was awarded the highest AA Restaurant Guide accolade of five rosettes, and in 2017 Atherton won the Restaurateur of the Year – Group Catey to add to his Restaurateur of the Year – Independent Catey, becoming the only operator to clinch both awards. Earlier in the year, the 46-year-old had been presented with the Business Achievement Award at the British Travel & Hospitality Hall of Fame.
Having first been awarded a Michelin star (at Maze, London) in the 2006 guide, he told The Caterer last October that receiving one in New York had blown him away.
Atherton’s constant globe-trotting has enabled him to capture the zeitgeist with every single opening he has presided over, and yet he still remains extraordinarily grounded.
Speaking to The Caterer, he said: “After all these years, I’ve been travelling all around the world, but when I get out of the airport at JFK, I think, ‘I’m a boy from Skegness, what am I doing with a restaurant in New York?’ It’s insane.”
Jason Atherton awarded a Michelin star in New York >>