Ramsay Chef Jason Atherton to Open London Restaurant (Update1)

Jason Atherton, the chef who created Maze for Gordon Ramsay before quitting last week, plans to open a fine-dining restaurant in London later this year.

“It will be a 60-cover fine-dining restaurant in Mayfair with a twist,” Atherton said today in a telephone interview. “I’m extremely excited to be getting back into the kitchen and I can’t wait for the autumn.”

Atherton, 38, declined to comment on a release from Lotus public relations saying that the restaurant would be called Pollen Street Social. Pollen Street is close to Hibiscus, owned by Atherton’s friend, French chef Claude Bosi.

Before founding Maze in 2005, Atherton headed Verre, the Dubai restaurant of Gordon Ramsay, who says he learned hard financial lessons after expanding too quickly overseas. He has opened branches of Maze in New York, Cape Town, Melbourne and Doha. An outlet in Prague closed. Another Ramsay ally, chef Mark Sargeant, quit in 2009 and Marcus Wareing went in 2008.

Atherton declined to give details of the new restaurant except to say that while it will involve small plates and be a continuation of his style, it won’t be another Maze. Bosi attended his friend’s final dinner at Maze on April 30 and then joined him for a drink in the bar of Claridge’s.

The Lotus release was in connection with the Identita chefs’ congress in London, where Atherton will speak on June 7.

Separately, Michel Roux Jr., chef-proprietor at Le Gavroche, will open his new restaurant on May 10. Roux at Parliament Square, in the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, is a venture between the institution and Restaurant Associates, part of the U.K. and Ireland wing of Compass Group Plc, the world’s largest catering company.

The chef will be Daniel Cox, 2008 winner of the Roux Scholarship. The opening date was announced today in a press release from Redleaf public relations.

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

To contact the writer on the story: Richard Vines in London at rvines@bloomberg.net.

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