StyleNest chat to Jason Atherton, Michelin star chef and father of two. Owner of Pollen Street Social and The Berner’s Tavern, we wanted to hear more about Jason’s involvement with notonthehighstreet.com’s new Dadpreneur Movement.
Launched by President and Founder of notonthehighstreet.com, Holly Tucker, the Dadpreneur Movement focuses on encouraging men to get creative. Putting an emphasis on maintaining a healthier work-life balance, participants can pay the bills by becoming a notonthehighstreet.com partner.
We find out about Jason’s own work-life balance, how he takes time out to relax, and quick tips to keep the kids happy at mealtimes.
Tell us more about the fantastic initiative you are working on with Not on The High Street encouraging men to create a healthier work life balance?
This campaign, notonthehighstreet.com’s Dadpreneur Movement, is something which is very close to my heart. Being a working father I know only too well how hard it can be to juggle the work-life balance. This campaign highlights the challenges for modern dads and also offers a solution that they may not have known was available. It allows dads to do what they love and also gives them more flexibility to spend time with their families – it’s win win really!!
Do you think it’s important to raise the profile of working fathers and their juggle not to miss too many milestones?
Absolutely, life is too short and in this modern world we all have a lot of pressure to succeed and support our families. Balance is key, hence why the Dadpreneur Movement is a great platform to raise awareness around the issue.
What has been your own experience as a working father?
Trying to balance work and family is not easy, it takes a lot of work and there’s no denying sometimes my family do take a back seat. However, saying that I take nearly every weekend off and spend the time hanging out with my girls. I’m working hard to provide for them but I also don’t want to miss out on seeing them grow.
Both your wife Irha and yourself have extremely successful careers, how do you support each other to find the right work life balance for your family?
Without Irha it would not work for me. She runs the head office and the family home and it’s no easy task. She is an incredibly understanding woman and we make it work for each other, compromise is key.
You recently launched your cookbook Social Suppers, offering cook at home meals and techniques inspired by your travels. Could you give our readers any handy tips for cooking meals with children?
You have to keep it fun for the kids, it’s not about getting things perfect; it’s all in the enjoyment of the preparation and most importantly getting kids excited about cooking. A lot of us have happy memories of cooking with our parents or grandparents, so if you can create happy memories through cooking and also pass on a useful life skill then it’s worth making the time.
The brand Social is continually evolving, with the development of Marina Social in Dubai over the coming months for example. Which has been your career highlight so far?
I’ve been very blessed in life with such success but I never take it for granted. I guess the highlight was the launch of my flagship restaurant Pollen Street Social. My wife and I re-mortgaged our home, put it all on the line for this one restaurant and it was a huge gamble. It paid off and I’m proud of myself for that, Pollen Street will always be my pride and joy.
2014 has been a busy year for you – how do you relax when you’re not working?
I love to exercise or play golf, which I got into when I was living in Dubai many years ago. Apart from that I’m a big lover of fashion and rather enjoy a Saturday afternoon browsing the stores.
What is your ideal way to take time out as a family?
We travel a lot as a family, my work schedule is crazy but when I travel with my girls I switch off and we just hang out have fun. It’s easier for me to switch off if I’m away from the restaurants. Luckily I have a great team around me so I can do this with the knowledge that everything will still be run to the same standards.
For meals spent together, does your family have a favourite dish?
Not a favourite dish as such but we do love cooking Asian food – the girls love spicy food! That and pancakes on a Saturday morning, a definite family favourite!
Can you tell us about any exciting upcoming projects you’re working on?
2015 is an exciting year ahead for us. We open in Dubai, New York and Sydney, so watch this space!