We’ve long been fans of Jason Atherton, who was the first British chef to complete an internship at El Bulli and who then worked underneath hot-headed Gordon Ramsay for years before branching off to do his own thing. His “own thing” now involves running 17 restaurants and being a father to two kids, among other achievements. Certainly not one scared of getting his hands dirty, Jason is a workaholic who still manages to balance a healthy family life with a successful career. We sat down with him at his Hong Kong restaurant Aberdeen Street Social to find out more.
Welcome back to Hong Kong! Are you here planning a new restaurant?
No, I’m just here to visit the current ones. I have no plans at the moment; I’m keen to wait to see what new trends will be coming into Hong Kong within the next few years. At the moment, I think it’s more important to concentrate on the restaurants I already have. Saying that, if I’m to open a new restaurant then HK will be high on my list, as it’s so cosmopolitan and fun.
You’ve lived in Spain, the Middle East and France, so you know all too well the life of a hard-working expat; what are your top tips for working long hours?
The expat life can be a hard compromise, but it’s all about that work-life balance. I think one of the most important things is to never look at work as a chore; you won’t be happy if you do that.
How do you keep healthy while travelling and working?
I cut out bread on Mon – Fri and try to save the treats for weekends when I’m with the kids. I also work out most days, even when I travel. I always make sure my hotel has a gym and treat my workouts like an appointment or a meeting; that way I never miss them.
What other restaurants do you visit when you are in Hong Kong?
What can we expect from Aberdeen Street Social next?
In the next few months, we’re changing the way the restaurant is set out. At the moment, downstairs is very casual and upstairs is more fine dining. What we want to do is find somewhere in between; so you can now go upstairs for some of the bar snacks and a glass of wine rather than having to commit to a seven-course meal. Our new cocktail menu is nearly ready to be launched and, of course, new dishes are constantly popping up.
Aberdeen Street Social is at G/F, PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street, Central.
2866 0300 | aberdeenstreetsocial.hk
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