Snowdonia chef who cooked for Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mike Tyson gives pizza a Welsh twist


A star chef who has cooked for heavy hitters like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mike Tyson has come up with a brilliant idea for a classic Italian pizza, with a Welsh twist.

Culinary genius Kris Tkaczyk, who works at Snowdonia Adventure Park in the picturesque setting of Dolgarrog in the Conwy Valley, has fused food specialties from both countries to create a Welsh Rarebit pizza, featuring lamb and leeks.

And according to Kris, who works at the lagoon-side restaurant and at the resort’s on-site Hilton hotel, he wanted to create a special tribute to his home in Wales.

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The father-of-two hails from the small town of Piskorowice in southern Poland, where he inherited his love of cooking from his mother, a fantastic baker and pastry chef. After an initial training as an electrical engineer, he took over almost 20 years ago and, encouraged by his cousin already present, settled in Birmingham where his passion for gastronomy led him to change careers and become a chef.

Kris, 42, cut his culinary teeth working for his idol, starred super chef Marco Pierre White, at his restaurant in the city’s iconic Cube building. His skills as a pizza maker were honed working for Italian restaurant chain Zizzi, and his foodie odyssey included a stint at Spanish Tapas restaurant, La Tasca.

Kris said: “I realized I wanted to be a chef because I had a real passion for food and decided I wanted to work in as many places as possible. Chef Marco was a huge inspiration to me and I had the chance to meet him. He’s an incredible personality.

Adventure Park Snowdonia Chef Chris Tkaczyk makes one of his pizzas

“I also had the honor of making him breakfast, Omelette Arnold Benedict, although it was a nerve-wracking experience. I almost dropped the pan because I was so stressed.

“Chef Marco ate it and said it was good, so I guess I passed the test. I was over the moon. For me, it was better than getting a Michelin star when the chef Marco said he enjoyed it.

“I’ve cooked for many celebrities of my time, soap opera stars and footballers and I guess the most famous were Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mike Tyson, but for me Chef Marco was the one who meant the most to me. ”

Five years ago, Kris and her family moved to North Wales because they were looking for “a new adventure in a family environment”. Since arriving in Abergele, one of his claims to fame was cooking for the crew and producer of the second series of I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here when it aired from the bottom of the drive to Gwrych Castle.

Kris now enjoys life working at Adventure Parc Snowdonia, where he splits his time between the lagoon-side restaurant and the Hilton Garden Inn hotel.

Adventure Park Snowdonia Chef Chris Tkaczyk creating one of his pizzas
Adventure Park Snowdonia Chef Chris Tkaczyk creating one of his pizzas

He said: “What brought me to North Wales was because it offers so much for families and the food scene was great. North Wales is exactly like where I come from in southern Poland, so I thought it would be good for my children to grow up in a similar environment.

“It also allowed me to work at Adventure Parc Snowdonia, such an amazing place. My specialty here is pizza which I learned how to handle pizza and stretch pizza by hand when working with Zizzi.

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“We do stone-baked pizza here – the pizza goes straight onto the hot stone and that’s what makes it so special. It makes it crispy and delicious and the recipe for our own homemade pizza sauce is amazing too.

“I am developing a new range of pizzas with a multitude of different toppings. One of my favorite combinations is roast chicken, a bit of bolognese and chorizo, so it’s a meaty feast.

“I also want to pay homage to my adopted homeland in the best possible way, so I came up with a Rarebit Welsh pizza with lamb and leeks. This pizza is an expression of my love for North Wales.


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