1 Michelin Star Chefs: John Williams, executive chef, The Ritz

The Staff Canteen

John Williams is executive chef of the one Michelin starred The Ritz in London.

A veteran of the industry, John Williams has been in the hospitality trade for more than 40 years joining The Ritz London as executive chef in 2004. In 2016 the restaurant was awarded its first long overdue star in the Michelin Guide UK 2017.

The Ritz

the Ritz London

150 Piccadilly, St. James's, London W1J 9BR

Website: www.theritzlondon.com

Tel: 020 7493 8181
Email:  [email protected]

Opening hours: 

Lunch: Monday - Sunday: 12.30pm - 2.00pm 

Pre-theatre Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 5.30pm - 6.30pm

Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 7.00pm - 10.00pm; Friday and Saturday 'Live at The Ritz' Dinner Dance: 7.00pm - 10.00pm

Executive chef: John Williams MBE
Restaurant manager: Luigi Cagnin
Head of wine and beverage: Giovanni Ferlito  

Facebook: The Ritz London

Twitter: @theritzlondon

Instagram: @theritzlondon


The son of a Tyneside fisherman, John developed his passion for food at an early age. Taught by his mother to cook, and continuing with cookery classes at school, his culinary career began in 1974 with his first position as a commis chef at the Percy Arms Hotel in Otterburn as he studied for his City and Guilds at South Shields College.

John Williams
John Williams

While qualifying as a chef at Westminster College in London, John started work at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, working his way through the kitchen operation until his appointment as chef de cuisine in 1982. Two years later he accepted the position of chef director at the Restaurant Le Crocodile in Kensington before joining the distinguished Savoy Group of Hotels and Restaurants in 1986.

During his impressive 18 year tenure with the Savoy Group, he served as premier sous chef at Claridge’s and maître chef des cuisines at The Berkeley, before his move to head up Claridge’s kitchens as maître chefs des cuisines in 1995.

He later joined The Ritz in 2004 where he remains today overseeing a kitchen brigade of over 60 chefs.

The Royal Family

Proving popular with The Royal Family, John has been awarded a myriad of accolades including the Royal Warrant for Banqueting and Catering Services from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, The Ritz was the first and only hotel to receive this prestigious accolade. In 2008 he was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honour List by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for his services to hospitality and has catered for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s 70th and 80th birthday banquets as well as several private dinners for the Royal family at The Ritz and state functions at Buckingham Palace.

Awards and accolades

The chef was appointed executive chairman of The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts in 2004 and is the committee chairman for the Academy’s Annual Awards of Excellence and is also a member of the Adopt a School Committee, a scheme driven by The Prince of Wales aimed to introduce children to the five senses through food tastings across 10,000 schools throughout the UK.

john williams low res

John Williams and his team at

the Michelin Guide 2017 launch

John is also holder of a Pierre Taittinger International Award and the Craft Guild of Chefs Award in 2000 and represented Great Britain in the prestigious Bocuse D’Or culinary competition and continues to mentor the English team. In 2005, Williams became the first British chef to be conferred with a CMA (the equivalent of an MBE) by the French Government.

As well as acheiving a star in the Michelin Guide UK 2016, The Ritz also holds 3 rosettes from the AA Restaurant Guide and a spot in the Good Food Guide's Top 50 Restaurants 2018. John was awarded the Chef of the Year at the AA Hospitality Awards in 2017.

Other interests

A natural in front of the camera, he has appeared as a judge on celebrity MasterChef twice, as well as taken part in the MasterChef: The Professionals television programme and made appearance on Saturday Kitchen. He has also served as a guest judge on BBC2’s Great British Menu.

Videos with John Williams:

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th November 2017

1 Michelin Star Chefs: John Williams, executive chef, The Ritz