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Putting on The Ritz!

John Williams MBE wins The AA Chef's Chef of the Year 2017

Huge congratulations to John Williams MBE on winning the coveted AA 2017 Chef’s Chef of the Year. is extremely proud to have once again sponsored this prestigious award. Neil Pattison, Sales Director of, who presented the award at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel said “John is clearly loved and respected by his peers. He’s an extraordinary talent and deserves this accolade 100%. We really hope that this win serves as an inspiration to the next generation of upcoming UK chefs.”

From modest beginnings in a Tyneside fishing family to executive head chef at The Ritz, John Williams’s career as a hotel chef has headed ever upwards from the time he saw one of the pioneering TV chefs, The Galloping Gourmet himself, Graham Kerr,  in action and decided that cooking was the way to go. Trained on a classical cookery course at a technical college, Williams still believes in the value of learning the basics and importantly, nurturing up-and-coming talent through apprenticeships, an ethos he promotes in his role as Chairman of the Academy of Culinary Arts (ACA).

Starting his career at a country-house hotel in Northumberland, the siren call of the capital lured him to the Royal Garden Hotel, Kensington where an inspirational eight-year sojourn with Rémy Fougère developed his craft and laid the solid classical French foundations that we still see today.

Williams knew early on that his future career was at the helm of a brigade in a big hotel kitchen rather than in a restaurant. Securing a place amid the tradition, heritage and history of Claridge’s and under the aegis of Mario Lesnik, Williams further honed his skills for nine years. This was followed by a stay at The Berkeley before Williams felt the irresistible lure of arguably the world’s grandest of grand hotels, The Ritz, in 2004, where he remains Executive Chef. John Williams is a chef who prefers the heat of the kitchen to the sparkle of the TV studio lights, he counts Michel Bourdin and Brian Turner amongst his own mentors, and has consistently raised the bar for the UK’s young chefs through his motivational work via the ACA.