Experienced Mid Wales chef, Gareth Johns, will be representing Wales in The Celtic Cook Off in West Cork on September 11.
Johns, co-owner of the Wynnstay Hotel, Machynlleth will be cooking against international chefs at the annual event, held at West Cork Hotel, Skibbereen, which this year has a theme of “Bringing New Chefs into the Kitchen”.
Other chefs are Scotland’s Joe Queen, executive chef of BHF, member of Masterchefs of GB and ex-president of The Federation of Chefs Scotland, the Isle of Man’s Richard Birch, of Tanroagan Restaurant, Cornwall’s Stewart Eddy, of the Victoria Inn, Ireland’s Frankie Mallon, of An Port Mor and Brittany’s Olivier Quenet, La Maison, Dublin.
Each chef selects ingredients for a dish of their own choosing from the wide range of West Cork produce. In addition, they can each bring one wild card ingredient from their own region.
Each chef prepares three plates of their chosen dish for six judges who work together in pairs. Members of the audience, chosen by ballot, will also be asked to taste and comment on the dishes.
On the night, two sets of three chefs cook in front of a live audience of more than 200 food enthusiasts with commentary and interviews from the event’s compere John McKenna of McKenna’s Guides.
The judges include Veronica Steele of Milleens Cheese; Virginia Sumsion, Loch Fyne Oysters; food writer Joe McNamee; Gary O’Hanlon, 2012 Celtic Cook Off Winner; and Aoife Cox, editor of the Daily Spud.
“We are really excited to have an international flavour to the judging panel not to mention a couple of real big hitters from the world of food writing in Ireland”, says Neil Grant, West Cork Hotel general manager.
“A direct result of previous years’ Celtic Cook Off activity has been the growth of a virtual Celtic food network where we all bond, share ideas, promote good food in the Celtic regions and keep in touch! There have been some amazing examples of this already as a result of this event where past competitors have partaken in joint ventures at food festivals all over the Celtic territories.
“I’m certain that we have a lot to learn from each other and that there is tremendous scope for co-operative promotion across the Celtic Regions of our world class artisan produce and food tourism.”