Last Saturday, December 5, at his home in San Francisco, died the author of numerous books on cooking, the founder of Williams-Sonoma Charles «Chuck» Williams. In October it celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The name Chuck Williams relates the story of modern American cooking.
He was born in 1915 in Jacksonville (Florida). As a child my grandmother in the maternal line, which was its own small restaurant in Lima (Ohio), taught him to cook different dishes. During the great depression the family moved to southern California, where Chuck’s parents divorced, and my sister died in an accident. Chuck studied and worked on the farm, and after graduation moved to Los Angeles.
During the Second world war, he served four years as an aircraft mechanic in India and East Africa. After the war he returned to Los Angeles, and then moved to SONOMA, North of San Francisco.
In 1953, traveling to France, Chuck came to the conclusion that Americans are not paying enough attention to their kitchens. In 1956, he opened California’s first store, Williams-Sonoma, which proposed high quality products for home kitchens and Housewives, with the emphasis on «French cuisine». Special attention was given to kitchen equipment. In 1958, Williams moved the company’s office in San Francisco and gradually built up a successful chain of stores.
Since 1971, Williams-Sonoma publishes directories of kitchen utensils and equipment. Currently the company has more than 200 stores in the U.S. and Canada.
Nearly 60 years of business activity Chuck Williams wrote over 40 books on cooking, which has sold over 10 million copies copies. In total, he participated in over 100 published cookbooks (some of which have been translated into Russian language).