November 2017, Wales: Thirteen chefs have thrown their hats in the ring to cook for the right to be recognised as the best in Wales.
Five chefs have been selected to contest the Junior Chef of Wales 2018 title on Monday, February 12, whilst eight chefs will compete in two heats for the National Chef of Wales 2018 title on February 15.
Both finals will be held at the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC), which are held across four days at GrÅµp Llandrillo Menai, Rhos-on-Sea and organised by the Culinary Association of Wales.
The Junior Chef of Wales finalists are: Harry Paynter-Roberts, 20, Manchester House Restaurant, Manchester; Arron Tye, 22, Carden Park Hotel, Chester; Oliver Thompson, 19, The Bull, Beaumaris; Luke Jordan, 20, who works at Slaughters Manor House, Cheltenham and Martin Thomas, 21, Marine Parade, Cardiff. Paynter-Roberts is looking to go one better after being a finalist this year.
The Junior Chef of Wales winner will receive a week’s work experience at a Michelin starred restaurant, automatically qualify for the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Young National Chef of the Year contest and receive a set of engraved knives from Friedr Dick.
National Chef of Wales finalists are: Jake Mann, 26, The Bull, Beaumaris; John Quill, 45, JQ Catering Services LTD, Barry; Dion Jones, 30, Carden Park Hotel, Chester; Matthew Ramsdale, 25, The Chester Grosvenor, Chester; Matthew Smith, 34, Hawkstone Park Hotel, Weston-under-Redcastle, Shrewsbury; Wayne Bernard, 35, Pier 64, Penarth Marina, Cardiff; Tom Westerland, 26, Lucknam Park Hotel, Colerne and Gavin Kellett, 33, The Vine Tree, Llangattock, Crickhowell.
Westerland, who was runner-up for the past two years, will be hoping it’s third time lucky this time. Smith and Ramsdale were also finalists last year.
In addition to the coveted title, the national chef winner will receive a study tour with Koppert Cress, £250 worth of Churchill products and an engraved set of knives made by Friedr Dick.
The finalists were selected by a panel of judges from their entries, which included the chef’s own creative menu for a three-course dinner. They will be given three hours to serve up a three-course dinner for four people in the finals.
To qualify, chefs must be of Welsh descent or work or study in Wales. National Chef of Wales entrants must be over the age of 23 and Junior Chef of Wales competitors must be between the ages of 17 and 23 years on February 1, 2018.
Next year’s WICC is set to bring all the nation’s culinary competitions together in one venue for the first time. In addition to the National and Junior Chef of Wales competitions, the event will also host the Battle for the Dragon contest between Wales and two international junior teams together with the culinary finals of Skills Competition Wales and the Major International Regional Competition.
Arwyn Watkins, Culinary Association of Wales president, said: “We are delighted to have once again received applications from so many high calibre chefs for Wales’ top culinary contests and look forward to keenly contested finals in February.
“The Welsh International Culinary Championships is the perfect place for all the nation’s culinary competitions to come together for the first time. I welcome the co-operation and collaboration by the competitions’ organisers and it promises to be a fantastic showcase for culinary and hospitality skills over four days at Coleg Llandrillo Menai.”
Main sponsor of the WICC is Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government’s department representing the food and drink industry. Other sponsors include Meat Promotion Wales/Hybu Cig Cymru, Castell Howell, Major International, Harlech Foods, Nuttals, Churchill, MCS Tech, Rollergrill, Koppertcress and Dick Knives.
Material provided on behalf of Culinary Association of Wales.