Celebrity chef under fire for £150-a-head London arms fair feast

Bryn Williams & injured Yemeni child

Celebrity chef Bryn Williams is facing a backlash. The Canary found he will be providing a slap-up meal at one of the biggest arms fairs in the world.

The Welshman will be dishing up £150-per-head dinners at the Defence Security and Equipment International (DSEI) arms fair in London.

Anti-arms campaigners have accused Williams of looking to ‘profit from death’ by putting on the feast at the controversial event.


DSEI takes place every two years at the ExCeL centre. It describes itself as:

The world leading event that connects governments, national armed forces, industry thought leaders and the global defence & security supply chain on an unrivalled scale.

In 2019, it runs between September 10-13.

Several countries on the UK government’s own human rights watchlist will attend. Nations accused of war crimes, including Israel and Saudi Arabia, are also on the invite list. This is despite UK courts ruling arms sales to Saudi illegal this summer.

Read on...

“Backing profit from death”

As The Canary reported, between 9 and 11 April, the UK government faced a judicial review over its continuing arms exports to Saudi Arabia. It investigated whether the UK was supporting ‘serious violations of international humanitarian law’ because these arms have been used by Saudi Arabia in its ongoing war on Yemen.

Scores of protesters have been arrested at the set up of the fair this week. Protests are expected to continue throughout the duration of DSEI.

CND general secretary Dr Kate Hudson said:

A key issue that should concern us all is the level of government expenditure on weapons – so much of the profits in the arms trade come from public spending…

I am sure we would all rather our public money was invested in feeding our children and caring for our elders. This is the message we have to get over when we oppose this arms fair: we are talking about supporting values that dignify all our communities and our society, not backing profit from death and untold suffering.

Celebrity Status

The lavish menu at DSEI will be based on meals from his Porth Eirairs restaurant in Colwyn Bay.

The Welshman rose to fame in 2006. Williams won a competition on the BBC series Great British Menu to cook for the Queen as part of her 80th birthday celebrations.

Since then he has appeared on a series of TV shows, including Saturday Kitchen and GMTV. He is the star of a new series currently airing on SC4, Cegin Bryn: Yn Ffrainc

Williams has also released a series of cookbooks and owns two fine dining restaurants in London, Odette’s Primrose Hill and Somerset House. 

Heat in the kitchen

The slap-up feast has been condemned by activists who’ve been trying to stop DESI. 

Welsh activist Helen Jones told The Canary:

I’m utterly disgusted to hear that Bryn Williams is getting rich off the back of mass murder…SC4 should drop his programme Cegin Bryn immediately. He is no role model.

The Canary contacted Williams for comment but none was received by the time of publication.

Featured images via screengrab/Saturday Kitchen and Felton Davis/Flickr

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  • Show Comments
    1. “One example that illustrates that the purpose of work – social prosperity – is not always the outcome – is the arms trade. The vast resources: human, material and financial, expended globally in the manufacture and subsequent use of armaments results in harmful outcomes for many people in many countries, and ravages the natural world, on which every person on the planet depends. However, the economic system, using the metrics of money and GDP (gross domestic product), evaluates the activity as socially-positive wealth creation. These metrics, and others, are being misused to value what the world does to create adversity in the same way as it does to create prosperity.”

    2. Not only the slap-up dinner should be banned, but the whole shebang. It’s an eyesore. Oneness is quite right, our measures are wayward. Humanity has taken a wrong turn. Paraphrasing Shakespeare writing of a different dubious activity, think what it is to clothe a back or cram a maw from such a vile trade. Violence is humanity’s great mistake.

    3. Those attending won’t be paying and ultimately taxpayers here and abroad will pick up the tab. The two groups who keep reminding us there’s no such thing as a free lunch are executives and politicians, about the only two groups who actually get a free lunch.

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