My Top 5 Career Moves: Patrick Williams
We asked chef Patrick Williams of recently opened (and sizzling hot) Peckham restaurant Kudu to share the 5 career moves that got him where he is today.
Junior Sous Chef at La Colombe, Cape Town
‘After completing my education at South Africa’s Chefs Academy, I went on to work at La Colombe in Cape Town. I started there as a Chef de Partie in 2007, by 2010 I was promoted to Junior Sous Chef. I learnt so much about fine dining and I was asked to attend the ‘Amazing Korean Table’ competition in Korea to support the Head Chef in competing against chefs such as Pierre Gagnaire, Massimo Bottura and Corey Lee.
In 2010 I was part of the team who helped La Colombe get to the 12th Best Restaurant in the word. Working at La Colombe taught me the groundwork of fine dining cuisine.’
La Colombe, Silvermist Wine Estate, Main Road, Constantia Nek, Cape Town, 7806, South Africa
Sous Chef at Camphors at Vergelegen, Cape Town
‘After working for 5 years at La Colombe, it was time for me to learn something new. I decided to go and work for Chef P.J Vadas at Camphors at Vergelegen. There I was promoted to Sous Chef and worked under P.J. Vadas.
Working as a sous chef here helped me learn management skills as I was looking after a brigade of chefs ensuring the smooth running of my section. Chef P.J Vadas was an inspiration and I learnt a lot from him, he was my mentor. Together we helped the restaurant get to eighth place in the ‘Top Restaurants in South Africa 2013’.’
Camphors at Vergelegen, Lourensford Road, Golden Acre, Somerset West, 7130, South Africa
Opening Team at The Manor, London (now Sorella)
‘In 2014, I moved to London to work for Chef Robin Gill as part of his opening team at The Manor in Clapham. I had felt that I had learnt as much as I could in Cape Town and, the next step for me there would have been a head chef position, which I didn’t feel ready for.
I still wanted to learn more techniques and see different things. Working for Robin helped me expand my knowledge on fermenting and foraging, and showed me a different side to serving refined food but also in a relaxed environment. Nobody was doing that yet in Cape Town.’
Sorella, 148 Clapham Manor Street, SW4 6BX
Sous Chef at Paradise Garage, London (now closed)
‘After 2 years at The Manor, Robin asked me to help at his new restaurant Paradise Garage as sous chef in 2016. It was a chance for me to be creative and to start putting some dishes on the menu, which I was excited about.
With the help of my partner Amy, I started to gain more confidence with working in the UK and understanding what people want to eat here. She’s been amazing in helping me realise that you can achieve anything you want if you put your mind to it and that possibilities are endless.’
‘In 2017, I felt ready to open my own restaurant; I wanted to combine the techniques and skills I had learnt in Cape Town with cooking that I had seen while working in the UK. It had also been Amy’s dream ever since she was a child so it made absolute sense to open a restaurant together. She’s the business and brains and I’m the chef so we’re the perfect team.
We both wanted to create a friendly, casual neighbourhood restaurant shaped by the seasons. I use my South African roots to inspire the dishes but the core is modern European and we try and make it as accessible as possible. We want to show people that you don’t have to go to a fine dining restaurant in the centre of town and pay extraordinary prices to have a fantastic dining experience. For us, it’s a lifestyle choice as well as a business so we try and infuse all our passion and love into Kudu and hopefully that comes across to our customers.’
Kudu, 119 Queens Road, SE15 2EZ