Food heroes: Chef David Williams
PUBLISHED: 15:02 27 December 2016 | UPDATED: 12:29 30 August 2017
St Moritz chef David Williams has a catalogue of Michelin-starred experience including time at Joel Robuchan’s Jamin in Paris, running Chapter One in London and Alimentum in Cambridge
David Williams boasts meticulously high technical standards, but it is his passion for home-cooked honest food that makes his menus so noteworthy. He champions local suppliers and believes in celebrating the flavours of each ingredient using classic techniques and combinations on the plate that marry beautifully, making each dish a sensory and taste experience.
The seafood served at is plucked from the clear waters off the Cornish coast by local fishermen using the most sustainable and traditional methods; the rabbits and hogget on this menu will have grazed on the rich fertile grasses, berries and sea sprayed flowers in the fields around the hotel, adding layers of distinct flavour to the finished dishes.
Above all, the most important people are the people eating the food,’ says David. I want whoever is coming to eat here at the St Moritz Hotel restaurant to leave happy.’
How would you describe your food style?
My food style can vary aesthetically, but the underlining principle is honest, clearly defined flavours and marriages.
Who has been your greatest food influence?
In a professional capacity, it’s probably Robuchon and Keller. But one of the biggest influences of recent years has been my son. The responsibility of providing, nurturing and teaching my son (he’s now six) to look at food as a great adventure and not succumb to childish prejudices has really made me look at everything I love about food and cooking. We have a simple rule in our house:
you don’t have to like everything, but you have to try everything.
How important is seasonality in your menu?
It is a fundamental absolute when writing or constructing menus. Using the knowledge of understanding when ingredients are at their best.
What is your favourite flavour of Cornwall?
My personal favourite is Cornish crab, probably the best I’ve ever had.
What ingredient couldn’t you do without?
It’s impossible to choose one ingredient over another. A strawberry or a lobster, melting lamb shoulder or crisp salty samphire. Honestly, the ingredient I couldn’t live without is salt, because without it, flavours can be muted.
What was your most memorable meal?
There has been so many, so it’s really hard to chose just one. A couple that stick in my head are: the first meal at Sat Bains in Nottingham before he was awarded his first Michelin star (he now has two) and the fantastic piggy burger at Bar Boulud in London.
Why did you become a chef?
By accident really, I was a kitchen porter funding my way through art college when I became mesmerised by the food around me. It was the time of Marco Pierre White’s White Heat and I bought it, hook, line and sinker.
What is your food heaven?
Any delicious meal that involves large cuts of meat, friends, family, laughter and wine.
What is your idea of food hell?
Food cooked by someone who cares more about the aesthetic than the flavour, little dribbles of indistinguishable sauce and pointless garnishes. It drives me crazy when young chefs miss the point and are more interested in creating a laudable masterpiece than they are producing a delicious plate of food.
What’s going to be big in 2017?
I read recently, that the Nordic cooking scene will have less impact on us this year, but actually I think the principles behind their naturalistic food will continue. I think we will see a further simplification of cooking concepts, as brigade sizes continue to decrease and our industry comes to terms with its major staffing issues. I think out of necessity, superfluous cooking will fall by the wayside. w
Hot chocolate brownie
370g dark chocolate 72%
6 whole eggs
525g castor sugar
250g plain flour
150g cocoa powder
200g chopped white chocolate
200g chopped milk chocolate
- Pre heat the oven to 190 degrees centigrade.
- Over a pan of hot water melt the chocolate and butter together, with a wooden spoon mix until completely combined and glossy.
- In a metal bowl whisk the eggs and the sugar together until combined and smooth.
- Add the egg mixture to the chocolate and using a wooden spoon mix thoroughly.
- Sieve the flour and the cocoa together and gently fold into the chocolate until mixed thoroughly.
- Finally add the chopped chocolate, ensuring it is evenly distributed.
- Cut sheets of grease proof to fit you metal rings, allowing a little overlap.
- On a non-stick baking tray place the ring, already lined with paper.
- Put the chocolate mixture into a piping bag without a nozzle and fill the ring ¾ full.
- All excess mixture can be frozen in the piping bag.
- Cook for 18 minutes, allow to stand for 2 minutes.
- Then remove the ring- carefully as it will still be hot.
- And slowly peel the grease proof paper off. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
- I serve this with chocolate sorbet, marshmallows and a miniature hot chocolate complete with frothy milk.
- It would eat well served simply with a mug of hot chocolate that has a couple of good quality marshmallow squares floating in it.