Born and raised in South Shields, the son of a fisherman, John started his rise to Michelin star studying catering at South Shields College and then Westminster College, London.
His first job in London aged 16 was at the Royal Garden Hotel. By 27, he was Premier Sous Chef with Mario Lesnik at Claridge’s, before moving on to the Berkeley and then to the Ritz where he is Executive Chef.
At the Ritz, John has built on the principles and beliefs of Auguste Escoffier, being inspired by classic dishes with a modern touch for today’s market.
He is hugely respected by his peers. At the launch of the 2017 edition of the Michelin Guide, John received a standing ovation when it was announced that the Ritz had been awarded a Michelin star. John told The Caterer, when asked why they had won it now:
“It’s the 110th anniversary of the Ritz this year and it’s a real accolade and we are just over the moon. It is something that you work for and I believed that we were good enough and I just wondered why. And we need a star because if you are a world class hotel, you need to have a star.
We have been cooking the same, we haven’t changed. The Ritz tells us what to cook because of the building and the style. I think it is very important that it remains classical but also that it remains relevant for today’s modern diner. But I have got very good people and I have had very good people for a long time. I haven’t got the answer but I have always known that the cooking was good enough so the only thing I can take from it was consistency has got better.”
John has received many awards and accolades. He was the first British chef to be awarded a CMA for services to French cuisine by the French Government. In 2008 he was awarded an MBE for services to hospitality and is a Master of Culinary Arts.
John is a passionate educator, passing on his skills to the next generation. He has been chairman of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts for 13 years. John has been a great advocate of Kings Fine Food, using King’s Oscietra in one of his signature dishes and Amedei chocolate in his desserts. He was a longstanding colleague and friend of John King and has been a great support to Laura.
Celebrating on Derby Day at the RAC Club L to R Sergio Rebecchi, Laura King, John Williams, Brian Turner, Michel Roux Jr and Phil Corrick
Laura commented: “John is an absolute star and being recognised by The Michelin Guide was a long time coming. The Ritz continues to be one of my all time favourite restaurants. John’s food never disappoints.”