Chef Jason Atherton, whose Michelin Star-spangled restaurants traverse the globe, knows just what he’ll be gorging on this Christmas. And he’s happy to share...
Between running 18 restaurants, filming The Chef’s Brigade and writing four cookbooks, it's a wonder Jason Atherton has time to breathe. "I've been cooking for 34 years and I've given this industry a lot of my time," he says, with masterly understatement. "If you’re not strict with yourself, you'll end up being a slave to the machine you built. My house and my time off with my family are my only luxuries." Which is why he takes holidays, specially Christmas, so seriously.
As you might expect, eating is one of his greatest pleasures. Mixing the traditional with the inventive, and touching on his wife's Philippines heritage, family meals throughout the festive season are served with culinary flair. "We always find a day to make sure we do a lechón [a traditional Filipino celebratory dish of roast suckling pig]." Then, on Christmas Day itself, he can’t help but take the traditional roast to the next level. "I did a five-bird roast last year," he says. "I deboned five birds, put them in the water bath at work, then did the roasting at home. The kids were like, 'What is this?' Luckily, they really like their food."
But it's not all elaborate meals and traditional family dining; even world-class chefs indulge in the occasional guilty pleasure. A regular in the Harrods Food Halls, Atherton shares his go-to festive treats.
"I have them with good sliced bread (it has to be white), cooked ham and grated mature Cheddar. The crisps go on top with a little bit of brown sauce; it makes that crunching sound when you push it all down. I had one last night!"
"Since filming The Chef’s Brigade and travelling through Spain, I've really developed a taste for sherry – a nice Manzanilla to start, and something like a Fernando De Castilla for afters. Sometimes I'd choose a glass over a dessert."
"I love a good chocolate truffle, especially when it's handmade. And the flavour always has to be salted caramel."
"Nothing beats settling in with a cup of tea and a decadent chocolate biscuit. That’s when you know you've made it."
"I'm partial to strong British cheeses, and smoked garlic crackers make the perfect accompaniment."
Sea Salt Flakes
"Good flaky sea salt just has a better natural flavour – and it even goes well with chocolate."
- Photographer Ben Harries
- Grooming Shukeel Murtaza