By Angela Green:
Maciej Pisarek, 26, a demi chef de partie at The Savoy won second place representing Great Britain at the International Young Chef Competition 2023, earlier this month in Istanbul, Turkey.
Following his success in May, when he won the Young Chef of the Year title in the UK heats, and the chance to compete in the Chaine’s world-wide finals, Pisarek has been honing his skills this summer with coaching from his mentor, The Savoy’s Executive Pastry Chef Nicolas Houchet.
It was a tough call. The twenty-two talented representatives from across the globe were lined up in unfamiliar kitchens, and given a previously unseen basket of market ingredients, which included mandatory duck, red mullet, eggplant and figs, and four hours in which to design and prepare a three-course meal for four.
Pisarek kept his cool, and skilfully created and presented his menu. Red mullet with shrimps, and eggplant dumplings; duck breast with caramelised pear, creamed leeks and duck leg rillettes; and his interpretation of fig tart with fig and persimmon gel.
It wowed the judges and propelled him into second place in the world, closely behind the winner Joseph Baffo from the USA and ahead of Australia’s Amber Heaton. Afterwards, he commented: “I am very honoured to have represented Great Britain. It was an amazing experience, and one I could share with other passionate young chefs from around the world. I am really happy to have come second – it just shows that hard work always pays off.”
Before he came to the UK from Poland two and a half years ago, demi chef de partie Maciej Pisarek had already won accolades in his native country as a commis chef, including the Bocusse d’Or and Poland’s Culinary Cup. This May, too, during the Chaine’s UK heats, he became the Macadamia Chef of the Year for the best use of South Africa’s macadamia nuts in his winning menu. And won a place in the Craft Guild’s National Young Chef of the Year finals.
Commenting on Maciej’s success in Turkey, Philip Evins, Bailli Delegue for the Chaine des Rotisseurs GB said: “We realised how talented – and calm – Maciej is when we saw him cook and win the 2023 UK title. It was an honour to see him perform with such skill in Istanbul against fierce competition and we in the UK are all delighted with his global success.”
Sentiments echoed by Maciej’s mentor Nicolas Houchet from the Savoy who reflected: “The whole team is incredibly proud of Maciej achievements in Istanbul, through hard work, dedication and perseverance, Maciej has proudly represented Great Britain and the Savoy during a demanding and challenging competition.”