Jason Athertons Dubai love affair – from Gordon Ramsay job to meeting wife

Michelin star chef Jason Atherton is heading to Dubai to take viewers on a food tour, celebrating the cuisine and culture of the Middle East.

In the 10-part series, Jason gathers recipes and ideas along with special guests to unveil the secrets of Dubai’s culinary culture.

“We want to showcase that Dubai is so much more than just shiny five- star hotels and glitzy restaurants,” he says. “It actually has a lot of backbone, a lot of culture and also a massive underground food culture. There’s nothing more enticing on a Saturday morning than being taken into a different part of the world without having to leave your armchair.”

Jason, 51, is no stranger to Dubai and first went there 23 years ago to work for another famous chef. “I went to work for Gordon Ramsay in 2000 as one of his executive chefs,” he says.

“He then asked me to go and move to Dubai to go and run his restaurant out there and we were launched in 2001. At the time I had heard of Dubai, but it wasn’t the famous city it is today.”

Previously, Jason has been a guest on Saturday Kitchen and has hosted the BBC show, The Chefs’ Brigade . But he jumped at the chance to present this series as Dubai holds a special place in his heart.

“Gordon sent me out and I lived there for four years. I met my wife, we got married – I had a bit of a love affair with Dubai.”

The travelogue-style series explores different themes in each episode. While there are lots of different foods to explore, Jason says filming the show was short but sweet.

“We filmed the whole series in 10 days,” he reveals. “It was unheard of. I had a 10-day slot in my calendar before I went to Qatar to cover the World Cup and I arrived in Dubai, unpacked and we were on set for 6am. That’s how chefs work, so I really enjoyed it, because it was a challenge.”

At home in Wandsworth, south-west London, Jason lives with his wife Irha and three daughters, who he says can all cook to a “decent” standard.

“They love to cook,” he says. “My middle one, she loves to bake. Our eldest is self- sufficient – she can make her own food to a pretty decent level. So when she goes off to uni, which is next year, then she can take care of herself and that’s what I want them to do.”

Jason Atherton's Dubai Dishes begins on 15th July at 10.10am on ITV1.

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