Born in East Ham, London (and a life-long Hammers supporter as a result), Alyn Williams came from a family that celebrated food. His father had a great passion for gardening, and in his two allotments grew all manner of vegetables – peppers, celeriac, purple kohlrabi, every type of bean – things you didn’t typically see growing up in 1970s East London. Although his father came from a family of simple tastes, he bought cookbooks and taught himself. Producing wonderfully vegetable-heavy dishes from a variety of cuisines, he ground his own spices for Indian dishes and made beautiful, seasonal Italian minestrones. His mother made countless compôtes and jams, with berries from the allotments and any extra they had picked at fruit farms – even filling the draws of the house with fruit that awaited processing.
Weekend dinnertimes were social events, with the family sitting and talking for hours. Sundays were dedicated to roast dinners, while Saturdays often featured offal in its many forms. Alyn Williams credits his family – his dad in particular – with not only instilling a love of vegetables and fresh ingredients, but also gently educating his palate and establishing an appreciation for the joys of happy, leisurely dining.