Oli Williamson to step down as head chef at the Fat Duck

17 February 2023 by
Oli Williamson to step down as head chef at the Fat Duck

Oli Williamson is to step down from his role as head chef at the Fat Duck next month ahead of plans to move abroad.

His last day at the restaurant will be 11 March, after which he will head to Singapore for a stage and then permanently move to France, where his wife is from, to be nearer to family in the Bordeaux area.

Williamson joined the Fat Duck in 2020 and was promoted to head chef in 2022 after winning the 2021 Roux Scholarship.

He told The Caterer he was feeling a "mix of emotion" about leaving the famous three-Michelin-starred restaurant.

Williamson said: "I'm sad because I've loved my job here. Managing and leading this team is a huge logistical challenge but it's so rewarding seeing people grow. The challenge of making three-star food consistently is not a straightforward task by any stretch.

"There's also excitement at moving to another country and hopefully settling down a bit, and also anxiety of the language barrier. I have been learning French but it's pretty elementary at the moment but I'm confident immersion should help with that."

Before moving to France, Williamson will head to Singapore to undertake a three-month stage at Zén, chef Bjorn Frantzen's three-Michelin-starred restaurant, as part of his Roux Scholarship prize.

He added: "I've never been to Asia and always been very interested by it. I know Singapore's only a small part but to have the opportunity to go and travel to visit suppliers and understand another country and cuisine a bit better will be incredible."

The Fat Duck is still in the process of recruiting Williamson's replacement and said any announcements would be made in due course.

Edward Cooke, executive head chef at the Fat Duck, said: "We have thoroughly enjoyed having Oli here at the Fat Duck over the past two- and a-bit years, and it's been a pleasure to see him flourish from sous to head chef in that time.

"He's been a testament to the Fat Duck, with an inherent passion for creativity and inquisitiveness in the kitchen. We look forward to seeing what he does next and wish him well on his adventures in France."

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