The Thirty-A Review January 2021

c h e f p r o f i l e

Chef Williams of Café Thirty-A b y L i e s e l S c h m i d t

owner, and David Kessler, the General Manager, I knew that we were all of the same mindset. It was obvious to me that we would all work really well together.” Since July of 2018, Williams has been proving just that, taking possession of the kitchen in the perennially popular restaurant and continuing their tradition of serv- ing fantastic food, adding a few new dishes of his own to the menu while maintaining the classics for which they have become so well known. Influenced by his world travels, the new items focus on Mediterranean style cui- sine with an Island twist, showing Williams’s flair for international cooking and his deep understanding of unique flavor profiles. “My goal in working at Café Thirty-A has always been to continue offering the high- est quality dining experience in the area,” says Williams. Part of that dining experience is a new dish to the menu, Tadoori Marinated Salmon, which he created while he was working in Atlanta and has been always been a guest favorite, wherever it is served. As his creation, it stands to reason that the dish is also one of his favorite things to cook—and it’s also beautiful to look at. Perfectly seared salmon coated in a Tandoori spice rub atop a bed of Jasmine rice and accompanied by snow peas, cucumber sunomono, and honey raita, the plate is a colorful array of flavors that somehow harmonize the cuisine of Japan and India. Having owned a home in Panama City Beach since 2016, Williams was already in love with the area when he made the permanent move in 2018. Since then, his passion for the area has only increased—and it’s fed into his work. “We are thrilled to have Chef Tim as part of the Cafe Thirty-A family,” says owner Harriet Crommelin. “His talents are undeniable, and we look forward to many years working with him.” Adds Williams, “I enjoy the fact that every night and every shift brings its own set of challenges. I really enjoy seeing the team work together as a well-oiled machine.” Café Thirty-A is located at 3899 East Scenic Hwy. 30A, Seagrove Beach, FL 32459. Open daily at 4:30 p.m. For more information, call (850) 231-2166 or visit

Influenced by his world travels, the new items focus on Mediterranean style cuisine with an Island twist, showing Williams’s flair for international cooking and his deep understanding of unique flavor profiles. F or some, the draw of the kitchen is undeniable, giving them a visceral sense that they belong on the line: getting intimate with a knife and taming the flames under their pans to create something that feeds the body and touches the soul. They see, feel, touch, taste, and smell things others don’t, visualizing what a dish will look like and knowing just what ingredients to use in order to make flavors sing. It was that kind of instinct that has taken Chef Tim Williams far in his career—35 years of manning the stoves and directing a team that is carrying out his vision. And while he might not have ever imagined achieving great success when he got his first food service job as a sandwich maker back in 1982, Williams has since proved that he can impress even the most discriminating palates with his food. His Aha moment came in 1984. “When I was work- ing in a 65-seat restaurant owned by a young couple who were both CIA graduates and saw their intense attention to detail and their willingness to train me, I knew I had found my calling,” Williams says, recalling his first job in a real restaurant. And though he could have put his plans to become a chef on hold while he attended culinary school, Williams dove into cooking without a net, get- ting hands-on training in the kitchens of restaurants in Cape Cod, Colorado, Florida, and New York. For seven years, he learned at the hands of masters, then enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in

Chef Tim Williams

Hyde Park, New York, in 1991. The next 27 years took him to renowned restaurants across the country, notably claiming the title of executive chef for a restaurant group in Atlanta before becoming their corporate chef. Later, he joined the team at Dantanna’s for their opening in 2003, bringing his technique and attention to detail to the restaurant and making it an Atlanta hotspot. With such experience in his repertoire, it’s little wonder that, when Café Thirty-A was looking for a new chef in the summer of 2018, Williams got the job. “A mutual friend of mine and the restaurant’s gave them a copy of my resume,” he says of how his name was put in the running for the open position. And while his impressive history could easily have gotten the job, it was the man behind the resume who sealed the deal. “After a 90 minute conversation with Harriet Crommelin, the

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