Food & Drink

Jason Atherton's Restaurant in Cebu Will Make You Travel for Food

The international celebrity chef's spot in Cebu is a love letter to his wife, Irha.
Comments

Jason Atherton never set out to become a celebrity chef, but by all accounts he’s doing an excellent job in the role he fell into. Since the opening of his first restaurant, Pollen Street Social in Mayfair, London, back in 2011, which received its first Michelin star barely six months later, he hasn’t looked back. To be honest, he just hasn’t had the time. Five years later, with restaurants and counting around the world—in London, New York, Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Sydney, and Cebu—it would be easy for an outsider looking in to think that celebrity status came swiftly for Atherton, but the rise to the top of his game was, in reality, decades in the making.


ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Chargrilled miso carrots served with baba ganoush and walnut pesto and a signature cocktail at the Pig & Palm

Working in kitchens since his teens, Atherton cut his teeth with some remarkable culinary legends, among them Marco Pierre White, Ferran Adria, and Gordon Ramsay. After opening Maze in London for Ramsay, and taking that same concept to five more locations around the globe, he decided it was time to venture out on his own and founded his own restaurant group, The Social Company. With the restaurants’ immediate success, his star shot up fast, and subsequent restaurant and commercial deals presented themselves.

“I cut back on the TV because really, I didn’t see the value. I just want to be a cook,” he shares with us at his newly opened restaurant, The Pig & Palm, in Cebu. “Running restaurants, cooking food, and watching people enjoying themselves is what I’m really interested in. I’m not one of those named chefs who doesn't look after their restaurants. I do. When I’m here, I’m in the kitchen and behind the stove.”

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW


Coff’ Medicine cocktail and local mullet with baby clams

While his media profile has largely been defined by his good looks and sharp fashion sense, his meteoric rise is credited solely to his fine work in the kitchen—every last one of them. And although he never intended to be a brand name with a number of dining concepts, his restaurants have appealed to a broad-ranging clientele, from men in suits to the sneaker-wearing creative class. For better or for worse, there has come to be a certain level of expectation when it comes to an Atherton-led dining establishment, and The Pig & Palm is no exception. With his wife Irha, and business partners, Cebu property developers Chris and Carla McKowen, and architect Lyndon Neri, who is also responsible for the design of the interior space, Atherton has opened his first Philippine restaurant to much fanfare. “It has always been Irha’s dream, to bring some of the success of our restaurant group back to her hometown in Cebu. As my wife and co-director of the company, it gives me no greater joy than to open a Social destination here as my love letter to her,” he says.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW


Coconut rice pudding and Dill or No Dill cocktail

Together with his Manila-born head chef, Tim de la Cruz, whom he met in London after de la Cruz was a contestant on MasterChef UK, the pair has created a menu that offers thoughtful yet approachable dishes using mostly locally sourced ingredients. The result is an offering that is personal and distinct to Cebu yet part of the larger Social Company with casual and understated but strategically refined dishes Atherton is known for.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
Comments
View More Articles About:
Recommended Videos
About The Author
Alicia Colby Sy
Executive Editor
View Other Articles From Alicia
Comments
Latest Stories
 
Share
For all its loaded dialogues and stunning imagery, The Two Popes deserves the undivided attention of its audience.
 
Share
This annual spectacle has been a Christmas tradition for many Filipino families since its inauguration in 2009.
 
Share
After a decade in fashion, he looks back with his first book on everything from dressing Michelle Obama to impressing Gloria Steinem.
 
Share
"One would do things like open all the windows, only for the other to go around shutting them," Lady Glenconner, Margaret's former lady-in-waiting, wrote.
 
Share
Josh Boutwood has returned with his signature restaurant, Test Kitchen.
 
Share
“A natural number one whose tragedy it is to have been born a number two.”
 
Share
The infamous Upper East Side murder has yet to fade from public memory.
 
Share
Six standout new releases of the month-and one old favorite to revisit.
 
Share
Who stands where during such events is determined by what is known as the order of precedence.
 
Share
We get a closer glimpse at what the industrialist was like as a father.
Load More Articles
CONNECT WITH US