Jason Atherton is one of Britain’s buzziest, most dapper chefs. After learning his trade under rant-master Gordon Ramsay, he struck out on his own to found Social Company, which now oversees a global restaurant empire that includes his flagship, Michelin-starred Pollen Street Social in London, and the Clocktower restaurant, inside New York’s Edition hotel.

What Jude Law knows about inflight food

Atherton logs around 500,000 miles in the air each year. His favuorite airline is Emirates. “It’s the one I fly the most, because I take connecting flights, via the Middle East, to Shanghai and Hong Kong," he says . When it comes to in-flight food, Atherton says Jude Law knows best. “It was (the actor) Law who told me to always take Tabasco on a plane.  Airplane food is always bland, so it’s great to give it kick. But I just try my hardest not to eat on planes (at all). I can normally do it up to about 12 hours. If I go to Australia, I have to eat, obviously, because it’s 24 hours on a plane for me. I just eat the protein, drowned in Tabasco, which tastes OK—well, it tastes of Tabasco, to be honest. Or I will take stuff with me: My favourite is a cold protein salad made from cooked salmon, brushed with a little bit of teriyaki sauce and fresh chili over the top, and some blanched vegetables. I make it at home and put it in my backpack—and eating it 6 or 7 hours later, it’s great," says Atherton

Tabasco improves airline food. Photo: iStock
Tabasco improves airline food. Photo: iStock

How to make sure your room service isn’t just fresh, but delivered first

Every general manager wants to change the world when it comes to room service. And I’ve said, “Look, if you actually think about it, room service is about getting it to the room as fast as possible." But if the room service guy has 20 orders to run up and down a massive building, he’ll tell me it’s going to take 40 minutes. Forty minutes too long, right? So if I order room service, I always, always say “I don’t want my food in a hot box. Leave it on the table with a cloche on top." Because any food in a hot box, pasta or steak, will stew and go soggy, of course—but they will bring your food first, because it can’t be left to sit around (and get cold).

Follow the one-year rule when picking a new restaurant anywhere

I’ve opened 17 restaurants in my life. And I can tell you right now, I’ve never got a restaurant right from Day 1. Impossible. But after about a year, a restaurant matures and really starts to find its feet. The staff gets to know their regular customers, the chef knows the suppliers really well—when they’re not scared stiff waiting for the critics to walk through the door. You want all of that hullabaloo to die down, so you get a real experience of what that restaurant could really do. So make sure a restaurant you book is at least one year old. Speak to most top chefs, and they’ll say exactly the same thing.

How to hack a hotel room upgrade with two words.

Ask for a corner room of any hotel, and they’re generally bigger. Think about how they utilize the space in a building: the corner suites are usually bigger than the middle suites, and more interesting, too: You get better views. (Ed note: they also may be more expensive.)

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