The Culinary Association of Wales has a new president and is offering free membership to anyone employed in the catering industry.
Colin Gray, 54, from Bedwas, is keen to make the association an inclusive organisation that works in partnership with the catering and hospitality sector.
“I want to get everyone in the sector involved to make the association stronger and to speak with one voice,” said Mr Gray, owner of Capital Cuisine and Colin Gray Event Catering. “The more people we get behind it, the more we can achieve together.
“Free membership will open up a range of networking opportunities and a fee will be charged only if a member wishes to have a vote in the association.”
An international judge accredited by the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS), he is a former vice captain of the Welsh National Culinary Team and has represented his home country in competitions around the globe.
“I’m excited and honoured become president, having worked my way through the ranks over the years,” added Mr Gray, who succeeds association co-founder Peter Jackson. “Without Peter’s tenacity and hard work since its formation, the association wouldn’t be where it is today.”
One of the first decisions taken under his presidency was to re-form the association’s Mid Wales region. Gareth Johns, co-owner of the Wynnstay Hotel, Machynlleth, is chairman, Arwyn Watkins, managing director of Cambrian Training Company, Welshpool is secretary and Nick Davies, co-owner of the Lion Hotel, Llandinam is treasurer.
The association plans to hold four major annual events – the National Chef of Wales or Junior Chef of Wales competitions, which are held in alternate years, the Welsh International Culinary Championships at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos on Sea, a summer ball and a Christmas event. In addition, there will be separate events held in the three regions – North, South and Mid Wales.
Mr Gray has pledged to support the senior and junior Welsh National Culinary Teams to achieve success on the international stage.
He spent nine years competing with the senior team, winning gold and silver medals at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg in 2002. While a team member, he also cooked for heads of state, royalty, senior politicians and celebrities at major events at home and abroad.