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Talented chef misses out on national award but says experience was ‘amazing’

Marcin 'Magic' Pomierny, of the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich, who made the finals in a best chef of the year contest. Photo: Paul Dickson

Marcin 'Magic' Pomierny, of the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich, who made the finals in a best chef of the year contest. Photo: Paul Dickson

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A talented Norwich chef has missed out on claiming the title of best in the country but said it was amazing to make it to the top 10.

Marcin Pomierny from the Maids Head Hotel. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYMarcin Pomierny from the Maids Head Hotel. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Marcin ‘Magic’ Pomierny, head chef at the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich, was a finalist in the National Chef of the Year competition 2020.

The 35-year-old reached the semi-finals of the contest, which well-known chef Gordon Ramsay has previously won, in both 2018 and 2019.

The top three were revealed on Wednesday, September 30, as Nick Smith, from Vacherin, in London, Derek Johnstone, from Borthwick Castle, near Edinburgh, and April Lily Partridge, of The Ledbury, in Notting Hill.

But Mr Pomierny, who cooked a menu including locally sourced ingredients, said it was an honour to have made it so far.

“It was amazing to be in the final top 10 in the UK,” he said. “The judging panel was great, featuring some of the best chefs in the country – the chairman of judges was Paul Ainsworth.

“I enjoyed the final a lot and was 100pc happy with my dishes. Am I doing it next year? I don’t know yet and will be giving it consideration over the coming months.

“The competition is a big commitment. It begins in February and finishes in September, with a lot of thinking time, preparation and practicing. Combining it with being head chef at the Maids Head, along with two young children at home, is quite a juggling exercise.

“But I was very happy to be involved and will definitely think about entering again.”

The talented chef, a former EDP chef of the year, trained in Poland, where he was born, and studied catering for diabetes as an additional subject, before moving to Norwich in 2005.

He began his career as a kitchen porter at Tatlers, doing the washing up and food preparation. He later worked at Pulse, The Library, McIntoshes Kitchen, Rare steakhouse and The Mad Moose, before moving to the Maids Head in May 2013 as a sous chef.

The competition is organised by the Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year competition.

In a video of the finalists, Mr Pomierny said while lockdown had been trying for business, it had been nice to spend so much time with his family - joking that his wife enjoyed a three-course meal every day.

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