The chef, who joined the Piccadilly hotel to head up the kitchen brigade in 2004, told BigHospitality that The Ritz was continuing to evolve.
“The Ritz Restaurant is in one of its best places in its 106-year-history,” he claimed. “I want our place to be really unique and I believe at this point in time we are. The Ritz has never been better value for money than it is at the moment.”
While describing development as ‘evolutionary not revolutionary,’ Williams said the impression that food at The Ritz was dated or the service stuffy was totally incorrect.
“When we came here I think the kitchen didn’t have a specific direction,” he said. “It was eclectic and focused too much on Mediterranean cuisine.
“I wanted to keep the French cooking style combined with British ingredients and culture and make that stronger and stronger and stronger. 95 per cent of the products we use come directly from this country.”
Les Arts de la Table
Williams’ comments came as he launched another feature to the hotel’s flagship restaurant menu.
Les Arts de la Table, which was introduced last month, is a three-course menu with Champagne which features classic dishes prepared in the main kitchen before being finished at the table where they are presented whole before being expertly served.
Dishes on the £75 per head menu include Bresse chicken demi-deuil which is prepared by placing a chicken inside a pig’s bladder before it is poached in bouillon. The dish is presented at the table where the inflated bladder is opened and discarded before the chicken is carved and served with the sauce and vegetables.
The chef, who also serves as the executive chairman of the Academy of Culinary Arts, said the new menu proved the team at The Ritz were open to trying new ideas.
He revealed he viewed his role as a facilitator of young talent – allowing chefs to develop and harness their skills and techniques.
“As a young man you get exposed to a lot of new flavours, textures and aromas. Then you learn how to cook and develop a recipe and between ages 24-33 you are in the experimental stage, stretching boundaries and putting different ingredients together," he said.
“This is the time when you need someone who guides you and that is what I try to achieve and do now.
“As you advance and stretch boundaries you suddenly learn to tone it down and strip everything back so you have the best taste that you as an individual will get. That becomes a little bit boring to youngsters but the reality is it produces the best food.
“I become the arbitrator, we evolve by people testing things but we keep a lid on it by me tasting it."