Oli Williamson, winner of the 2021 Roux Scholarship, has been promoted to head chef at the Fat Duck in Bray.
The 31-year-old has taken the reins at Heston Blumenthal's three-Michelin-starred restaurant less than two years after joining the team in December 2020.
Williamson told The Caterer: "It's exciting and a bit surreal. I'm super grateful and humbled to be at this point in my career where I can take on a restaurant as prestigious as this.
"People keep telling me it's the collective years you put in, those hard times you go through when you're working really hard when you're young, that comes to this one moment. I feel fortunate to have worked so hard and got to this position."
Williamson was formerly head chef at the Michelin-starred Clove Club in London and joined the Fat Duck as pastry sous chef before moving into the kitchen as sous chef.
He will work closely with the restaurant's development team and executive head chef Edward Cooke, who was promoted from head chef last year, on new menu items.
Williamson is also focused on reducing plastic and waste in the kitchen. He said: "We don't use cling film any more, we use bio-degradable piping bags, gloves and vac pac bags. There was already an agenda to do that here but it's something I want to hammer home that I'm really proud of."
The chef won the 2021 Roux Scholarship in October following a tense day of competition that saw six finalists cook two dishes beloved by the competition's late founders, Michel and Albert Roux.
Williamson still plans to complete his three-month winner's stage at a three-Michelin-starred restaurant this year. "I'm thinking of going to Singapore or Tokyo, there are a few options," he said. "I'm going to discuss with Alain Roux and ask his advice. He's so welcoming and has hospitality in his blood."