Food & Drink

Inside Chefs’ Cupboards: Jason Atherton and the 11 ingredients he can't live without

Posted by
Chris Sayer
Inside Chefs’ Cupboards: Jason Atherton and the 11 ingredients he swears by

The second instalment of our new series, in which we take a sneak peek into the home cupboards of culinary geniuses to discover the shelf staples they always have within reach

Remember the time we broke into ridiculously good chef Josh Katz’s home? Yeeeah you do. You were right there, giving us a leg-up onto the kitchen surface so we could raid his cupboards. You were keeping a look-out whilst we rummaged through his jars of pomegranate molasses and tins of anchovies, in an attempt to glean some top-drawer culinary intel on what real kitchen shelves should look like. 

Well, we’ve done it again. We’re rounding up the go-to home staples that another incredibly successful chef always has within his reach, and what you too should be keeping a steady supply of.

This time, it’s the turn of superchef and kitchenlord Jason Atherton: a man with shiny Michelin stars sat on his mantlepiece, restaurants in some of the world’s coolest and most beautiful cites, and with plenty of, er, baked beans in his cupboard…

1. Heinz Baked Beans

baked beans

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“Try finding a chef in London who hasn’t had beans on toast this week.”

2. Saffron 


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“A store cupboard should be divided into two sections – one basic everyday shelf, and one show-off shelf for ‘wow factor’ dinner parties. This is at home on my luxury shelf. I’ll add a pinch last minute to moules marinière, or just make a simple saffron aioli dip for the table. Don’t overuse it – a little goes a long way.”

3. Tabasco Sauce 


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“I do a lot of travelling, and a small bottle of this comes with me everywhere – it’s the best way to spice up bland aeroplane food. No other pepper sauce comes close. It’s the original.”

4. Manuka Honey 

Inside Chefs’ Cupboards: Jason Atherton and the 11 ingredients he swears by 1

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“It’s expensive, but it really is the best of the best. It’s the show-off item you need for when someone is snooping through your cupboards.”

5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

brindisa olive oil

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“The best I’ve ever come across is Arbequina, from Brindisa. There’s a vivid green colour to it and a great depth of flavour. Happiness is San Marzano tomatoes, burrata cheese, a splash of balsamic vinegar and a bigger splash of extra virgin olive oil. ”

6. Smoked Paprika  

smoked paprika

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“It’s up there with HP Sauce as one of the manliest additions to a store cupboard. I buddy it up with cayenne pepper for a hot, earthy duo.”

7. Sherry Vinegar 

sherry vinegar

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“I think vinegars are grossly underused in kitchens. They should be used as another seasoning, after salt and pepper. I use a splash to cut through rich sauces and give acidity to dressings.”

8. Sriracha


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“It’s just so good with chicken. We actually use this in my restaurant in the Philippines as a dipping sauce.”

9. HP Sauce

HP sauce

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“Nothing goes better with a bacon sandwich. As a kid I’d put this on everything – it’d drive my mum crazy. These days, I make a gravy with it for the pork, apple and black pudding sausage rolls we serve at Temple & Sons.”

10. Madagascan Vanilla 

vanilla pods

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“Don’t discard the pod once you’ve scraped the seeds out – pop it into your caster sugar for homemade vanilla sugar. You really get what you pay for with vanilla, so make peace with spending a little more.”

11. Capers

Inside Chefs’ Cupboards: Jason Atherton and the 11 ingredients he swears by 2

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“When I want to add a salty edge without having to actually add any more salt, I reach for these. If you’re cooking fish, these should be within reach. Try frying them in a little hot oil to give a crunchy texture, too.”