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Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Jason Atherton, Pollen Street Social

01 July 2011
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Jason Atherton, Pollen Street Social

Overall ranking: 62 (ranked 61 in 2010)

Chef ranking: 17 (ranked 19 in 2010)

Jason Atherton - Snapshot

Jason Atherton is the chef-owner of Pollen Street Social in London and the former chef-patron of the one-Michelin-starred Maze and Maze Grill in London, which he ran for Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH) from 2005 until 2010. During his tenure at Maze, Atherton oversaw GRH's launch of Maze restaurants across the world, including in New York, Cape Town and Prague.

Jason Atherton - Career guide

Jason Atherton started life in the hospitality industry working with some of the biggest names in the chef world, including Boyd Gilmour; Pierre Koffmann, at La Tante Claire; Nico Ladenis; Marco Pierre White, at both Harvey's and Restaurant Marco Pierre White at the Hyde Park hotel; Stephen Terry; and Oliver Peyton.

In 1998 Atherton backpacked to Spain and became the first British chef to complete a stage at Ferran Adrià's three-Michelin-starred El Bulli restaurant, after initially agreeing to work unpaid.

Atherton returned to London to work alongside Stephen Terry at Claudio Pulze's Frith Street restaurant, winning a Caterer Acorn award in 2000 for his work at both Frith Street and as executive chef at the Cantina Vinopolis. After opening L'Anis in Kensington in 2001 with Pulze, on its closure in 2002 he joined Gordon Ramsay Holdings as executive chef of the Verre and Glasshouse restaurants at the Hilton Dubai Creek, Dubai.

In 2005 Atherton opened Maze at the Marriott Grosvenor Square hotel. The restaurant won a Michelin star and three AA rosettes within a year of opening. Three years later he opened the spin-off Maze Grill steakhouse restaurant next door, a concept that subsequently spread to Australia.

In April 2010 Atherton announced that he was leaving GRH to start his own business, and after opening his first independent restaurant venture, Table No 1 by Jason Atherton, at the Waterhouse at South Bund hotel in Shanghai, he returned to the London dining scene in May 2011, launching Pollen Street Social in London's Mayfair.

Jason Atherton - What we think

Jason Atherton was the first British chef to complete a stage at Spain's iconic three-Michelin-starred El Bulli under Ferran Adrià. This helped to inform his cooking style, based around modern fusion cuisine.

Caterer revealed he was quitting the group. Atherton's departure was - outwardly at least - less acrimonious than former colleague Marcus Wareing's, but GRH must have been sorely disappointed to lose him.

The plan was always to open a London restaurant of his own, says Atherton, and a few consultancy positions helped him achieve that aim. In May 2010 Atherton opened a 60-seat restaurant in a Singaporean-owned boutique hotel, serving modern European dishes in tapas-sized portions. He told *Caterer* that Table No 1, which is headed up by former Maze and Maze Grill chef Scott Melvin, had been influenced by his time spent in Spain. Then in July 2010 he teamed up with contract caterer Compass's fine-dining arm Restaurant Associates to help create bespoke concepts for individual clients.

In May 2011, Atherton launched the eagerly anticipated Pollen Street Social in London's Mayfair. The restaurant, which deals in fine-dining dishes in a more relaxed, informal environment, has garnered positive reviews so far. But with nine year's tutelage in the art of running restaurants and building an international brand, courtesy of GRH, one can only assume that Atherton has plans for more sites over the coming years.

Jason Atherton's ranking in the 2010 Caterersearch.com 100 >>

Food at Jason Atherton's Pollen Street Social includes 'vivid and extravagant flavours' >>

Jason Atherton gets ready for solo opening >>

Jason Atherton opens Pollen Street Social today >>

Chef revelations: Jason Atherton >>

Jason Atherton opens restaurant in Shanghai >>

Jason Atherton website >>

Pollen Street Social website >>

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