Behind the scenes with Maciej, our Head Chef at The Delaunay
Meet Maciej, our Head Chef at The Delaunay
Maciej joined The Wolseley Hospitality Group as Sous Chef for the opening of Fischer’s in Marylebone in 2014 and then five years later, took the position of Head Chef for the opening of Soutine in St John’s Wood. In spring 2023 he moved on to join us at The Delaunay where he heads up a team of 36 people, including The Delaunay Counter.
Where does your passion for cooking originate?
I’ve been enthusiastic about food and cooking ever since I can remember. I grew up in the south east of Poland in between Warsaw and Krakow and I was influenced by my grandmother’s food, which included handmade dumplings, often with a mushroom sauce or chicken broth. As I grew up, I began to follow professional chefs online – I could always be found studying YouTube videos. I had a thirst to learn.
Did you always want to be a professional chef?
Yes. I really can’t think of anything else I wanted to do, or would rather do now. I left Poland relatively young, at seventeen, to pursue that passion, inspired in part by what I had learned in my family’s kitchen, but also by what I believed was possible. I headed straight for London’s Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts to get my qualifications. Being a chef is known for being stressful, but in fact, the kitchen is where I feel most comfortable.
Tell us a little about your career?
It’s hard to believe that I’ve spent nearly a decade with The Wolseley Hospitality Group; it’s been quite a journey from the start. When I joined Fischer’s as a Sous Chef, I had already cut my teeth in the industry. I like to keep challenging myself, so it was ideal for me to progress to Head Chef there, then on to Soutine and now The Delaunay. Each restaurant is very different and involves diverse cooking styles, so I am always testing myself. Being Head Chef is also a logistical job, because it often means running a large team. It’s important to keep a cool head.
What do you enjoy most about running a kitchen?
Of course, what I love about it centres around food, but I also find the camaraderie special – I enjoy motivating the team, researching and developing menus and leading from the front. I’m a hands-on person, so I know that office work wouldn’t suit me. In the kitchen, you can be creative and play with tastes and flavours. It’s about leaving ego at the door and working as one unit. I particularly enjoy preparing the dishes that require precision and intricacy, such as Beef Stroganoff or a classic sauce for Kedgeree.
What does a typical day look like?
It varies. Sometimes, I’m here from 6.30am until well after lunch service; at other times, I start at lunchtime and run the kitchen until last orders. As well as being in the kitchen and overseeing a team of 36, I’ll be heading up briefings, liaising with the marketing team or the directors, checking orders and conducting tastings,. Hours can be long, but if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.
Tell us about your culinary approach at The Delaunay?
The menu at The Delaunay is very established and we don’t play with our well-known dishes, but there is always room to add seasonal plates. At the moment, I’m enjoying cooking with mushrooms, whether serving them pickled, or raw in salads during the summer, or creating rich sauces in the winter. I’ve also added some sharing mains to the menu, such as John Dory with samphire and clam chowder.