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Daniel Williams

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Williams recently took over running The Half and he had big dreams for the establishment.

Picture: Supplied

A MAN with a big heart and big dreams is how residents will remember renowned chef Daniel Williams.

Williams died on Saturday night and the news was received with shock around Kimberley.

One of Williams’ closest friends and colleague, Meyer Botha, was “gutted” by Williams’ passing, but added that he only had good memories.

“I was completely shocked and gutted to receive the news of his death. This was the first time in I can’t even remember how long that he had the night off,” said Botha.

“I have not known Daniel for very long – maybe two, two-and-a-half years – but in that time he had a tremendous impact on not only my life but for his staff as well.

“I have worked under a few bosses in my life, but I can honestly say it was only pleasure working with him. Not only will I miss him tremendously, but so will the staff at the Occidental and The Half.

“I still can’t believe he is gone.”

Williams recently took over running The Half and he had big dreams for the establishment.

In a Facebook video posted recently, he laid out his plans for The Half. The plan and the dream was to turn it into an upmarket steakhouse but also to retain its charm and the nostalgia associated with The Half.

Williams also saw this as an opportunity to upskill students from Butler’s Hotel School as well as to make use of local producers’ products.

Williams was also known for his big heart. “One thing I will always remember about Daniel was his big fund-raising effort for the victims of the Knysna fires. The event became so large, people had to be turned away. If I remember correctly, over R100 000 was collected.”

Williams was also known not to have “idle” hands. “He believed in not wasting time. His hands were always busy, be it fixing bikes or making use of his culinary skills.”

Botha added that one of his fondest memories was the love Williams had for his wife Elise.

“He was also extremely close to his father. This is really a big shock,” Botha said.

This sentiment was affirmed by a posting by his father, Mike, on his Facebook page. “Rest peace my boy. You make me proud and you were a great man. You will be missed by many.”

Family members were too distraught to speak to the media.

Williams’ brother, Michael, however, in a Facebook post said: “Boet you left us too early … words cannot describe this feeling. You left a legacy behind you. I promise to look after Dad, Mom, Sara and Elise. The best example of a true gentleman and the best big brother I could have asked for. RIP Boet.”

Williams’ was very involved in Butler’s Hotel School which offers accredited City & Guilds of London Diploma Courses for Food Preparation and Culinary Arts and in Food and Beverage Management.

Williams worked hand-in-hand with his students to ensure sound culinary training as well as excellent practical on-the-job experience at Butler’s Restaurant, as well as the Occidental and The Half.

– Staff Reporter