Chef of the Week: Pawel Mikolajczewski, Head Chef at The Bristol Hotel in Bristol

How long have you worked at your current restaurant?
I have worked at The Bristol for three great years.

Where did your passion for cooking come from and where did you learn your skills?
My passion for cooking definitely derives from my family, both of my parents are great cooks.

What do you enjoy most about being a chef?
There are two things, firstly there is nothing better than to hear ‘a compliment to the chef’. Secondly, I love to employ young people in to the industry and teach them about our important trade.

Name three ingredients you couldn’t cook without.
Three ingredients that I can’t leave without are tomatoes, smoked paprika and dill.

Which piece of kitchen equipment couldn’t you live without?
An absolute must have kitchen equipment is a non-stick frying pan – important for any kitchen!

What food trends are you spotting at the moment?
Lately I can see some food styles related to central Europe that are infiltrating the British food scene – which is exciting!

What do you think is a common mistake that lets chefs down?
A lack of attention to detail often lets chefs down, that is one of the most important factors.

What is your favourite time of year for food, and why?
My favourite time to cook is always autumn because we have access to a great range of fruits, veg and most importantly – mushrooms are in season.

Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
I can’t answer this. I do not have a single dish that I’m most proud, every menu I make and every dish I create – I believe is an improvement on the last one. So many answer now would be the last dish I made!

How do you come up with new dishes?
I always walk with a pen and piece of paper in my pocket, so sometimes when an idea just come to your head you can write a down. Inspiration comes anywhere, it could come just from seeing a butternut squash.

Tell us three chefs you admire
I admire too many to mention but there is one who is absolutely a legend in my eyes… Keith Floyd.