The Wood Norton is an impressive Grade II listed Victorian hotel in a countryside setting on the outskirts of the riverside town of Evesham, in the shadows of the Malvern Hills and on the edge of the Cotswolds. Regarded by many as one of the finest hotels in the Cotswolds, The Wood Norton Hotel offers a truly wonderful blend of period charm and contemporary design.
Its restaurant, the Fleur De Lys Brassiere, offers one of the most luxurious dining experiences in the UK, accompanied by views stretching as far as Brendon Hill. The brassiere’s impressive menu has been carefully crafted by the award-winning head chef, Radoslaw Kuczynski, to capture the very best ingredients from the land, garden and sea.
We recently sat down with Radoslaw and discussed everything from his most important considerations when crafting a menu to his favourite dish to cook at home.
What inspired you to become a chef?
I came to the UK from Poland as a trained electrician, but I was in search of a new vocation. Food had always been a huge part of my life, and a real passion, so when a job opportunity arose to work as a kitchen porter, I jumped at the chance.
Whilst working in the kitchen environment, I was inspired by the chefs and their creativity in creating such beautiful dishes. My passion for food and fine dining grew further, and I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to prove I had what it takes to become a chef. I worked my way up, and from 2010 to 2011, I worked under chef Lorry Gear at the Artichoke Amersham who was a three Michelin starred chef. I have also worked in three AA Award winning restaurants, before becoming head chef at The Wood Norton.
What are the most important considerations when crafting your menu?
When crafting The Wood Norton seasonal menus, I take inspiration from around the world. I try my very best to include as much local produce as possible, as it is important to showcase the best food the area has to offer.
I would describe the menus I create as having some strong Asian and Middle Eastern flavours in particular dishes, whilst utilising classic French cookery skills.
I spend a lot of time thinking about the textures and colours of my dishes, as I believe that the way a dish looks is as important as how it tastes. By ensuring your dishes appeal to the eye as well as the taste buds, you can create an amazing dining experience for your guests.
What would you do if you weren’t a chef?
If I wasn’t a chef, I think I would still be working as an electrician. I am so glad I took the risk by changing my vocation and taking that job as kitchen staff, otherwise I would never be where I am today.
What is your favourite dish to cook at home?
When I am home, I love to cook food I know my family love. Italian dishes are my go-to, as my children love them, and I find them hearty, comforting and packed full of flavour.
What is your favourite ingredient?
That’s such a hard one! I like to incorporate local produce in my dishes, and as The Wood Norton is located in Evesham, which is known as the town of asparagus, that is one of my favourite ingredients to incorporate into my dishes.
What do you love most about being a chef?
I think I would have to say experiencing new ways to be creative with food is so much fun. I am always playing around with flavours and textures to see how these all play a role in the overall dining experience. I also enjoy talking to guests, and getting their instant feedback on my dishes when trying them for the first time.
What food is your guilty pleasure?
Definitely apple pie! Whenever I eat it, I get a real sense of nostalgia. My grandpa used to make it for me all the time when I was younger, so it always brings back so many happy memories.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
When I’m not in the kitchen, I love to spend time with my family. My children really are my inspiration, and they inspire me to be the best chef I can be!
Address: The Wood Norton Hotel, Worcester Rd, Evesham WR11 4YB
Phone: 01386 765611