How I Got Here: Maciej Lyko

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Maciej Lyko Polish Sommelier of the Year Launceston Place

Related tags: Wine, Sommelier, London, Front of house

The head sommelier at Kensington's Launceston Place was recently awarded first place in The International Sommelier Association’s Best Polish Sommelier Competition 2019.

Why restaurants?
For many reasons - but mainly because it’s a great place to work. Restaurants are busy and dynamic, and every day is different. You get to look after all sorts of guests, talk in detail about wines and be creative about wine pairings with new dishes. I am very lucky to be surrounded by so many talented colleagues and it’s a pleasure to work with them every day. We keep learning together.

Tell us something you wish you had been told at the start of your career?
Most importantly, to be patient! To master a subject like wine, you must take your time and gain plenty of knowledge and experience. You cannot learn it all overnight!

What do you do in your spare time?
I like to travel as much as possible and visit Vineyards. I feel it is important to use my time wisely, so try to combine pleasure with the opportunity to learn something new. I am also preparing to take the Master Sommelier exam which takes up a lot of my time.

What’s your favourite restaurant or group of restaurants (besides your current one)?
I really like The Ledbury – I’ve been there twice and both times it was a great experience. The food, wine and service were all excellent.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in restaurants?
It is important for me to be passionate about what I do, because doing something that you love makes you happier. I would possibly have gone into veterinary medicine to care for animals.  

What motivates you?
The people around me. When you work within a highly motivated team, you don't find it difficult to motivate yourself. Even if you have a 'bad' day you still want to give 100 percent.

Where was your last holiday?
Crete. It’s a beautiful place, full of great people, and ideal to recharge your batteries.

Which colleague, mentor or employer has had the biggest influence on your approach to the restaurant business?
Piotr Pietras MS who was a huge inspiration when I was his assistant sommelier at Launceston Place. I was very lucky to work alongside him.

What keeps you up at night?
Nothing actually, I sleep very well.

Best and worst business decisions?
I don't think about my decisions in terms of what was good or bad. Every decision brings you a different challenge that you can learn from.

What are you reading at the moment?
Apart from books related to wine, I am reading 'The Third Journal' by J. Pilch.

What piece of advice would you give to those looking to climb the rungs in the business?
Work very hard, and be patient and humble. Hard work pays off.

If you could change one thing about the restaurant industry today, what would it be?
Young people don't want to work long hours and that is why restaurants struggle to find staff.

Related topics: People

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