6 June 1977 |
Dinbych (Denbigh), Denbighshire, Wales
|Cooking style||Modern British and European|
|Education||Coleg Llandrillo Cymru
Marco Pierre White
Michel Roux Jr
Bryn Dwyfor Williams (born June 6, 1977) is a chef originally from Dinbych (Denbigh), North Wales. He is the head chef and sole proprietor of Odette's Restaurant, Primrose Hill, London. He shot to fame as merely a sous chef in 2006 by beating established and well-known chefs to cook the fish course for the Queen's 80th birthday celebrations on the television programme Great British Menu. He is now widely regarded as one of Wales' best chefs and one of Britain's new crop of "celebrity" chefs.
The middle child of three brothers born in Ysbyty H M Stanley Hospital, Llanelwy (St Asaph), Denbighshire to Welsh-speaking parents. He received all his education through the Welsh medium before moving on to college. He attended Ysgol Gynradd Twm o'r Nant, Dinbych (Primary) and Ysgol Uwchradd Glan Clwyd, Llanelwy (Secondary). Williams lived in Dinbych until he was 18, then moved to London.
Williams's interest in food began as a young child during a primary school visit to a bakery in Dinbych. Seeing the individual ingredients turned into bread sparked an interest in food and its processes that would stay with him. He later worked at the same bakery as a teenager on Saturday mornings. He also developed a respect for food whilst growing vegetables, fishing and shooting for game on his uncle's farm as a youngster.
After leaving high school at the age of 16 he attended Coleg Llandrillo Cymru - studying catering - where he was awarded student of the year. In 2009 Williams was appointed Skills Ambassador for the college, a position specially created for him.
After 3 years learning his craft under Marco Pierre White at the Criterion, he was sous chef under the tutelage of another cunilary legend, Michel Roux Jr at Le Gavroche for a further three years. In 2001 he had an opportunity to experience European cuisine at first hand, working at the Patisserie Millet in Paris, which is also where the Roux family honed their skills. In the same year, he went on to work at Hotel Negresco, a two Michelin-starred restaurant in Nice.
Back in Britain, Williams moved to the Michelin-starred Orrery Restaurant on Marylebone High Street in London, working there for four years under the tutelage of head chef André Garrett. Whilst working at the Orrery he competed for the Roux Scholarship, having been encouraged to participate by Garrett who was himself a previous winner of the prestigious award. Williams finished second overall that year.
Following his success on the Great British Menu television series in 2006, Williams was offered the head chef's position at Odette's, a well-regarded neighbourhood restaurant in Primrose Hill, London since 1978. The restaurant had recently undergone an expensive refurbishment following its purchase by Vince Power, who was looking for the right name to head-up his latest culinary venture.
In 2006 he was a contestant on BBC Two's Great British Menu, impressing the judges throughout the stages of the competition. Williams interviewed his grandmother about dishes she used to eat as a child before settling on a menu. He beat Angela Hartnett in the regional round, and went on to win the public's vote to cook his fish course of 'Turbot with Oxtail' at Queen Elizabeth's 80th birthday banquet at Mansion House. He retained his crown when he beat Matt Tebbutt in 2007. He has since become a familiar face on Saturday Kitchen, also making appearances on Something for the Weekend and Market Kitchen.
Williams's first language is Welsh, and he has appeared in several programmes on the Welsh language television channel, S4C. He was one of three judges on the very popular Welsh-language cooking competition programme Chez / Casa Dudley, the third series started in Autumn 2008.
A six-part series of Cegin Bryn (Bryn's Kitchen) started on S4C in March 2012. The programme is based on his cookbook Bryn's Kitchen and features six key ingredients, cooked in 3 different ways whilst also tracking their journey from source to plate.
On the 21st March 2010 Williams appeared on Wales on the Menu on BBC Radio Wales, where food critic Simon Wright challenged the Welsh public to attempt to get their dish on Bryn Williams' top London menu. Williams was impressed enough by 23-year-old student Tom Watts Jones and his complex dish of self-caught Welsh rabbit that he offered him a permanent job as a commis chef.
Williams published his first book, Bryn's Kitchen, in March 2011.
Cardiff Blues, Wales and British and Irish Lions rugby player Martyn Williams appointed Bryn as one of the 7 Patrons of his Spirit of Wales testimonial year in 2010, to help raise money for vulnerable children and cancer victims. Other Patrons include Ian Woosnam, Ioan Gruffudd and James Dean Bradfield.
- Coleg Llandrillo Cymru. 2007. "College Announces Celebrity Ambassador". http://www.llandrillo.ac.uk/news/oct07/celebrityambassador.html
- The Guardian newspaper review of Odette's under Williams, 6 November 2010
- View London's review of Odette's January 2011
- Jay Rayner's review of Odette's January 2012
- Hill, A: "The Observer". Guardian News and Media Limited, 2006.http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/feb/26/monarchy.foodanddrink
- BBC News (2006). "Chef's royal fish dish wins vote".
- Wikipedia (2008). "Great British Menu - Series 1 (2006)".
- Odette's Restaurant - Primrose Hill
- Williams' biography on bbc.co.uk
- BBC's North East guides - Hall of Fame, Bryn Williams
- Great British Menu - BBC Website