John Williams has spent the past 35 years working in some of the London’s most famous five-star hotels, including Claridge’s and The Berkeley. However, it is at The Ritz, the famous Piccadilly hotel that he joined in 2004, where his trademark refined cooking has become legendary.
The softly-spoken chef from South Shields has earned himself a reputation for being one of this country’s finest cooks of classic French food, with the dishes served at The Ritz some of the best examples of haute cuisine this country has seen. He’s cooked for royalty and The Ritz was finally awarded its first star in the 2017 Michelin guide, an accolade many of his peers believed to be well overdue.
Williams is respected for his unflinching dedication to his craft, regardless of what other restaurant trends are out there, his deep knowledge of classic cooking and a dedication to upholding those traditions but also a willingness to innovate and modernise. He describes the haute cuisine of which he is so passionate as epitomising true gastronomy and purity, something which requires constant refinement, and recognises his food must be classic yet still evolve.
This philosophy has helped make a meal at The Ritz one of the most magical dining experiences possible. It has also encouraged a legion of chefs to master the classical cooking techniques and recipes and keep them alive, with one protégé describing him as ‘one of the last true kings of cooking’. He was awarded awarded an MBE for services to hospitality in 2008.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is sponsored by Quandoo