Williams, who has been Head Chef at Queenstown’s Rātā for close to four years, brings a wealth of culinary expertise to the role and a philosophy of simple food done well; the perfect complement to Executive Chef Ryan Henley.
Williams, who has worked at Michelin Star restaurants including a stagiaire at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck, says the opportunity to work with Henley is what attracted him to the role. “I respect Ryan’s ethos and approach to working with quality produce from local suppliers. I look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with Ryan, as well as the freedom and scope to do something a bit different. To have someone to bounce ideas off, in addition to a talented team in the kitchen is so exciting. It’s the perfect foundation for creating something incredibly special and unique to each venue.
“QT continues to be ahead of the game when it comes to hotel restaurants. The work Ryan and the team are doing has a clear direction while maintaining an element of experimentation and surprise. The partnerships they’ve already formed, such as the hives from Tiaki Bees on the hotel roof to supply the restaurants with honey, set the venue apart.”
Henley, who joined QT Queenstown earlier this year, says Williams’ approach to food aligns with the direction the hotel’s restaurants are taking. “Jonathan is an incredibly talented chef who values consistency as the foundation of a diner’s experience – simple, refined dishes perfectly executed every time. I am looking forward to working with him to create incredible, memorable cuisine for guests.”
William’s appointment comes at the perfect time, as Lil Red returns on 20 January with a spring menu featuring seasonal Central Otago produce, locally farmed meats and caught-to-order seafood for a foraged feast in a homegrown hideaway; think aged Mt Cook Salmon, Black Origin Waygu, New Zealand Scampi Tostada and Classic Pavlova with a QT twist.