Edinburgh Malmaison chef Dominik Mazur shortlisted for Young Chef of the Year awards
A leading Scottish chef is in the running for one of the hottest accolades in the restaurant industry.
An Edinburgh chef is running for one of the biggest awards in the culinary calendar, contesting for the title of M Restaurants’ fourth annual Young Chef of the Year in London this month.
Dominik Mazur, Head Chef at Malmaison Edinburgh, was announced as one of eight finalists from across the UK who will compete for the prestigious title.
The competition encouraged chefs aged 18-29 to design a four-course menu that was then judged on its quality and approach to sustainability, ethical produce sourcing and zero waste.
Judge, Michael Reid, M’s quality director will form part of the team mentoring the young chefs throughout the competition.
Martin Williams’, a fellow mentor and M group chief executive said: “After what can only be described as the toughest, most challenging year hospitality has faced to date, we recognise that now more than ever is the time to celebrate, champion and support young talent.”
Dominik, who moved to Edinburgh from Poland aged 14, submitted his menu on a whim, after a former colleague sent him an email with the competition details. He whipped up a menu and fired it off spontaneously, thinking nothing would come of it.
He was therefore very surprised when he got the call up for the final, which will see him cook his four-course menu at a pop-up night at M Victoria Street, London.
Members of the public and a panel chef judges, including Adam Handling, Romy Gill and Richard Bainbridge, can look forward to Dominik’s menu, which serves as a tribute to the “great” team of chefs who work for the Malmaison chain.
For starter, he will serve a Salmon Cheesecake with citrus and tarragon dressing, an idea which came to him while browsing the aisles of the supermarket.
That will be followed by Thai Chicken Lollipops with Kaffir Lime & Manis Dipping sauce and then Wild Mushroom Stroganoff with Pickled Fennel.
A Chocolate Molten Soufflé with Honeycomb and sea salt Ice Cream will round off the meal.
Speaking of why he chose these dishes, Dominik said “These were some of my favourite classic dishes on our previous menus.
“I thought ‘I would like to elevate them and present them in my own unique style.’ They are dishes I feel comfortable around.
“We have a great team of chefs working for our hotel chain. This is a tribute to them and to our Malmaison food. On the night of the final, two of my good chef friends, Sergio Alves and Jake Davis, will be helping me in the kitchen.”
Although the menus cannot be altered, the chefs will be working hard to perfect the final presentation of the dishes in the final days leading up to the competition, with Dominik set to showcase on Wednesday October 14.
With 10 years in the industry, the young chef admits that he loves a challenge which helps him thrives under the pressure of the contest. However, he also hopes that this opportunity will promote the Malmaison hotel chain and prevent more people from losing their jobs in the current difficult climate.
Describing his upbringing in Poland as being “surrounded by food”, Dominik spent days in the kitchen with his grandmother. These basic skills he picked up as a child gave him a good foundation on which to develop his passion for cooking.
Following the early lessons from his grandmother, Dominik found inspiration in TV shows and chefs such as John Woodward and Gordon Ramsey.
He said: “I take inspiration from anyone who brings something unique to my perception of this world.”
While he acknowledges the downsides of one of the hardest industries in the worlf, such as the “lack of social life or the crazy shift patterns”, Dominik loves the fast pace and ever-changing nature of a bustling kitchen.
He said: “As chefs, we need to react quickly. It’s not one of those boring jobs where you sit for a few hours and then your task list for the day is done. It’s not the industry for lazy people, because there is always something to be done in the kitchen.
“I like the nature of the role as well as my great hotel team that stand by my side, day-in, day-out.”
The winner will receive coaching from Chef Michael Reid as well as work experience at one of the final judging panel’s restaurants.
Delighted to have made the final stage of the competition, Dominik is determined that regardless of the end result, he will always aim higher and never give up.
“Making the finals of such a great event really means a lot. I will do my best, and proudly represent both my hotel chain and Scotland. I will hopefully bring the crown back to where it rightly belongs in Edinburgh.”
Stewart Campbell, General Manager, Malmaison Edinburgh said: “The team at Malmaison Edinburgh are absolutely delighted with the news that Dominik has progressed to the final stages of Young Chef of the Year 2020.
"He’s a talented Head Chef, he worked his way up through the ranks and the Mal Chef Academy and I’m fortunate to have had the pleasure of working with him for over eight years at Chez Mal. We know he has what it takes to win the title and will be supporting him all of the way.”