William Morris | Vermilion

“I CANNOT IMAGINE DOING ANYTHING OTHER THAN COOKING. IT’S THAT SIMPLE. THERE'S JUST SOMETHING CATHARTIC ABOUT TRANSFORMING SIMPLE INGREDIENTS INTO SOMETHING SUBLIME THAT SPEAKS TO ME”

William Morris

Executive Chef


CHEF WILLIAM MORRIS BRINGS OVER 18 YEARS OF CULINARY EXPERIENCE TO HIS POSITION AS EXECUTIVE CHEF OF VERMILION. A FIXTURE IN THE WASHINGTON, D.C. CULINARY SCENE FOR YEARS, MORRIS HAS SPENT TIME IN MANY OF THE CITY’S MOST PROMINENT AND FAMOUS KITCHENS. AT VERMILION, KNOWN FOR ITS UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO LOCAL, SUSTAINABLE SOURCING, WILLIAM CONTINUES TO CELEBRATE THE VERY BEST PRODUCT FROM THE REGION WITH HIS SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD AND HONEST COOKING.

RETURNING TO ALEXANDRIA IS A HOMECOMING OF SORTS FOR WILL, WHO GREW UP IN THE NEIGHBORING AREA. IT WAS JEAN-LOUIS PALLADIN THAT FIRST TRIGGERED HIS INTEREST IN FOOD. TO GAIN THE NECESSARY TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE, MORRIS BEGAN A CULINARY APPRENTICESHIP WITH CIARAN DEVLIN AT THE TOWER CLUB. GAINING INTERNATIONAL EXPOSURE ALONG THE WAY, HE CONTINUED HIS EDUCATION IN LONDON, WHERE HE STAGED AT MICHELIN-STAR RESTAURANTS NOBU, LE MANOIR AUX QUAT’SAISONS AND MARCO PIERRE WHITE.

WHEN MORRIS RETURNED TO D.C. IN 1999, HE JOINED THE TEAM AT AQUARELLE AT THE WATERGATE WITH CHEF JACQUES VAN STADEN, WHO HAD GARNERED FOUR STARS AND FOUR DIAMONDS FOR THE RESTAURANT. IN 2003, MORRIS ACCEPTED THE POSITION AS SOUS CHEF AT ANOTHER WASHINGTON POWER DINING DESTINATION THE PALM, WHERE HE WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DAILY OPERATION OF THE KITCHEN.

AFTER TWO YEARS, MORRIS WENT ON TO WORK AT ARDEO RESTAURANT IN CLEVELAND PARK BEFORE ACCEPTING THE CHEF DE CUISINE TITLE AT PS 7’S. WORKING WITH PETER SMITH PROVIDED MORRIS AN OPPORTUNITY TO EXPAND HIS KNOWLEDGE OF WHOLE ANIMAL BUTCHERY AND CHARCUTERIE.

IN 2009, MORRIS JOINED THE WORLD-RENOWNED MINA GROUP TO HELP OPEN THE MODERN STEAKHOUSE BOURBON STEAK IN WASHINGTON,
D.C. MORRIS ACTED AS THE EXECUTIVE SOUS CHEF, MANAGING FOOD PREPARATION AND SPEARHEADED THE POPULAR ANNUAL PIG ROAST “PORC OUT.” DURING MORRIS’S TENURE AT THE AWARD-WINNING BOURBON STEAK, THE RESTAURANT RECEIVED A GLOWING REVIEW FROM WASHINGTON POST RESTAURANT CRITIC TOM SIETSEMA AND CONSISTENTLY PLACED ON WASHINGTONIAN MAGAZINE’S 100 BEST RESTAURANT ISSUE.

IN 2012, AFTER A STINT AT CHEF ROBERT WIEDMAIER’S BRASSERIE BECK, MORRIS RECEIVED AN OPPORTUNITY TO RETURN TO MINA GROUP AS A CORPORATE SOUS CHEF. IN THIS ROLE MORRIS TRAVELED TO VARIOUS MINA RESTAURANTS SUCH AS ARCADIA IN SAN JOSE, CA AND SALTWATER AND BOURBON STEAK AT THE MGM GRAND IN DETROIT, WHERE HE ASSISTED IN RECIPE DEVELOPMENT.

AMONG HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS, MORRIS ASSISTED MINA GROUP’S CHEF DAVID VARLEY IN COCHON 555, WINNING BOTH THE LOCAL DC AND NATIONAL COMPETITION AT ASPEN FOOD & WINE IN 2010. UNDER HIS DIRECTION AS EXECUTIVE CHEF, VERMILION HAS BEEN REGONIZED AS ONE OF THE TOP 100 RESTAURANTS BY WASHINGTONIAN, TOP 50 RESTAURANTS BY NORTHERN VIRGINIA MAGAZINE AND RECEIVED TWO-AND-A-HALF STARS
IN THE WASHINGTON POST’S FALL 2013 DINING GUIDE WHERE MORRIS WAS NAMED A “RISING STAR.”