Chef Adam Williams, the recently ap- pointed executive chef at Baltimore’s Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden
Yards, boasts plenty of seasoning for a
culinary artist still entering his prime years
in the industry.
His roots are firmly planted in his native
state of South Carolina, where he also
earned his Associate’s degree in Culinary
Arts (’04) and Bachelor’s degree in Food
Service Management (’06) at Charleston’s
esteemed culinary institute of Johnson
and Wales University. But since that early
experience, Williams has honed his craft
at four- and five-star properties ranging
from the Marriott Marquis in Washington,
D.C., and the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas,
to his recent work at Maui’s The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.
And this range of experience has helped
up his game to deal with the elevated
expectations of today’s attendees—and
“From the planner’s perspective, they
want to be wowed, from the tastings pre-event to the actual event,” Williams says,
adding that everyone is a foodie these days.
But that’s not a bad thing, says the affable chef.
“Everyone is more involved in the food
scene, and everyone sees the cooking
shows,” he explains. “But it lets you be
And with Williams’ view of today’s big-
gest challenge—higher expectations often
tied to lower budgets—he says creativity
in how the food is presented is huge these
“It’s all about presentation,” he says.
“You can have lower-cost items and pres-
ent them in a memorable way.”
Some examples of that approach include
individual small plates, a wave that seems
to be sweeping the culinary world. Among
some of Williams’ recent creations here are
butternut squash shooters with apple bits,
and brioche bread presented in modern
and unique ways.
“You can also do food-truck-themed
[buffet] stations, with truck cut-outs or
station decor around that theme,” he adds,
on ways to creatively impress attendees.
“Think of things like Korean BBQ, lobster
rolls, fish tacos, et cetera.”
Other trends he’s seen include groups
wanting wholesome options at breakfasts,
and unique break stations, with items that
let attendees indulge here and there but
also stick to their core routine of eating
For an insurance group with allergy
concerns, Williams recently created a
distinctive break station that had treats that
bring back childhood memories, including
Fruity Pebbles cereal, pretzel sticks and
chocolate-covered raisins. An infused-wa-
ter station offered a healthy alternative,
and showcased refreshing blends such as
blackberry-sage and strawberry-lime.
While Williams has worked with a num-
ber of different chefs and cultures, his focus
has returned to French cuisine, where his
skills were bolstered during his time at
Ritz-Carlton and where much of his teach-
ing and foundation as a chef were built.
He particularly loves braising ingredients
like short ribs and rabbit, a technique that
he says takes some time but adds layers of
flavor and always comes out great.
“I believe you eat with
your heart,” Williams says.
“And cook with passion.”
1 gallon mayonnaise
1 cup parsley flakes
1 cup old bay seasoning
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 ½ ounces Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. dry mustard
3 cups eggs liquid
2 tablespoons hot sauce
7 pounds lump crab meat
3 pounds jumbo lump crab meat
3 cups bread crumbs
Mix all ingredients above except for
crab and breadcrumbs and let sit
for about 30 minutes. In a separate
bowl you take the crab meat and
place in the bowl and add the wet mix,
being very gentle not to break up the lumps. Once the
wet mix is incorporated, fold in the bread crumbs. Let set
again so mix and season and crab can all begin to bind
together. After about 20 minutes you can start to mold
your crab cakes. Then in a hot pan with olive oil you can
sear the crab cakes on both sides, then finish in the oven
on 350 degrees for about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from
oven and serve.
ADAM WILLIAMS // EXECUTIVE CHEF
BALTIMORE MARRIOTT INNER HARBOR AT CAMDEN YARDS // BALTIMORE, MD.
MAKES 14 FOUR-OUNCE PORTIONS // SERVES 7