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J. Willard Marriott Award of Excellence

Named for our founder and created in 1987, this award recognizes the company's finest associates who, through their extraordinary service, exemplify the timeless core values of our culture.

Anna Pazdera

Executive Head Chef

London Heathrow Marriott Hotel

Most people may use a banana in their dessert and throw away the peel — maybe even compost the peel. But Anna Pazdera, Executive Head Chef at the London Heathrow Marriott Hotel, takes it a step further by repurposing the banana peel to be a featured menu item like “banana skin burgers.”

An innovative trailblazer in the culinary world, Anna is known for her passion for sustainability in her hotel’s kitchen. She created “meatless Monday” menus for the associate cafeteria to help build awareness of plant-based menu options. She revamped the hotel restaurant’s breakfast menu to eliminate food waste — all without sacrificing quality of service or food. She implemented “Sustainable Thursdays” in the hotel’s M Lounge, giving guests an opportunity to witness first-hand how sustainability can be delicious.

Anna is also very proud of her work on the hotel’s Food Waste Lab. She developed the idea for the lab as an opportunity to try unusual and creative techniques to accomplish zero waste, developing new items like soap and plant food boosters from food items that would ordinarily have been waste. Guests are invited to visit the lab to check out the new ideas Anna and her team are testing.

In 2008, Anna planned to visit London from her home in Poland to briefly help care for her brother following his surgery. While caring for him, she applied for a role as Kitchen Porter at the Heathrow Windsor Marriott and quickly fell in love with cooking. She decided she enjoyed the energy and the opportunity in the kitchen and made plans to continue her career with the Heathrow Windsor Marriott. She was named the Breakfast Chef in 2010 and then joined the London Heathrow Marriott Hotel as Junior Sous Chef in 2015. By 2017, Anna was named Senior Sous Chef and immediately following the pandemic, she was promoted to Executive Head Chef.

Anna admits that she is generally a shy person who doesn’t always believe in herself. Over the course of her career, she’s had several mentors encouraging her to put her self-doubt aside to see what could be possible. She pays that forward with intentionally mentoring young women in the culinary field, saying, “I just needed someone to train me and teach me what was possible. I love doing that for other women, too!”