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Wales to consider bidding for global event after European conference success!

Read time: 4 Min
Wales, 14th December 2017

Wales
made such a success of hosting a major
European chefs’ conference at the weekend that the nation is to consider
bidding for a global event in the future.

 

The Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) hosted delegates
from 20 countries at the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS) European
conference at the Celtic Manor Resort on Sunday and Monday with support from
the Welsh Government and Visit Wales.

 

Arwyn
Watkins, CAW president, said it was a huge honour to welcome the conference to
Wales and referred to the £83.7 million project at the Celtic Manor Resort to
build an international convention centre, which would be open in 2019. The
centre, which will be delivered and managed by a joint venture company owned by
the resort and the Welsh Government, will be able to cater for banquets with up
to 3,500 guests.

 

“The
Celtic Manor Resort would like the Culinary Association of Wales to consider, in
the future, hosting the WorldChefs congress, possibly in 2022 or 2024,” he told
delegates. “It is something that we are seriously considering, but would rely
on your support.”

 

He
said the European conference, which had been planned for two years, had made a
very big impression on the visiting chefs and he was delighted by the positive
feedback he had received.

 

The
CAW had set out to show the important partnership between chefs and the food
and drink supply chain in Wales whilst also exposing the European delegates to
Welsh culture. “It just goes to show what you can achieve when you work hand in
hand with producers,” he added.

 

A
Welsh food and drink showcase was displayed throughout the conference with a
team of staff representing the producers available to answer questions and
provide samples.

 

Michael
Bates, the Celtic Manor Resort’s executive chef, prepared an eye-catching
selection of food for lunch and a dinner celebrating the best of Welsh
ingredients when Llantrisant Male Voice Choir entertained the guests.

 

Dragan
Unic, from Sweden, WACS’ continental director for Northern Europe, declared:
“This is one of the best conferences that we have ever held. I know all the
guys (delegates) really appreciated it as well.

 

“I
think the lunch on Sunday was the best we have ever had and the dinner was also
great. The venue is magnificent.”

 

Miroslav
Lubek, from the Czech Republic and Domenico Maggi, from Italy, the continental
directors for Central and Southern Europe respectively, also praised the Welsh
hospitality and venue. “The conference was fantastic and the people here are
super,” said Mr Lubek.

 

Mr
Maggi, whose wife is Welsh, said: “I would like to congratulate the Chefs
Association of Wales because they have put on an event of the highest standard
with great attention to detail.

 

“The
food was brilliant and this makes me very proud because I feel half Welsh. The
conference shows that well organised small countries can do an even better job
than big countries. 

 

“I
think being a small country sometimes allows you to create a team spirit of
collaboration and that shone out with everything that was done for this
conference. It was really fantastic and an example for others to follow.”

 

Brian
Cotterill, British Culinary Federation life president, was also impressed.
“Congratulations to the Culinary Association of Wales on organising a great
conference,” he said. “They have done a splendid job, which is very much
appreciated.”

 

Speakers
included Keith Smyton, head of the Welsh Government’s food division, who
represented Wales’ Cabinet Secretary for
Environment and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths.

 

He said the food and drink sector in Wales employs 223,000 people,
contributes £17 billion a year to the economy and is more than half way towards
achieving the Welsh Government’s target of 30% growth or an extra £7 billion by
2020.

 

Details were revealed at the conference of the WACS Global Chefs
Challenge to be held in Prague from October 6-8. Wales will be represented by
Simon Crockford from the Celtic Manor Resort, who became National Chef of Wales
champion earlier this year.

 

He will be joined in Prague by Junior Chef of Wales Steffan Davies fromGidleigh Park, Exeter, who will compete in the Hans Bueschkens Young Chefs Challenge. They will each
be allowed to a commis chef and the CAW will be invited to nominate a judge for
the competitions jury.

 

Both competitions will challenge chefs to prepare three courses for six
people, with a starter based on seabass and scallops, the main course based on
veal loin and fois gras and dessert comprising one baked item, chocolate and
fruit. The only difference between the competitions is that the dessert for the
Young Chefs Challenge must include an element with 40 per cent chocolate, fruit
and sauce.

 

Delegates were encouraged to support the Nestle-sponsored International
Chefs Day on October 20, which will see chefs around the world work with
children on the theme ‘Superheroes’ to 
promote
healthy eating.

 

At
a time when politicians are locked in debate about a hard or soft Brexit as the
UK negotiates its exit from the European Union, Mr Watkins said the conference
could not have come at a better time for Welsh food and drink producers.

 

“Any
opportunity Wales gets to speak to our European counterparts has got to be
advantageous,” he said. “It’s important to keep the dialogue open during the
Brexit negotiations.

 

“The
more that we can get chefs’ leaders from across Europe to recognise the quality
of food and drink from Wales, the better chance we have of keeping that supply
line alive in the future.

 

“A
lot of countries represented at the conference are not members of the European
Union and are therefore likely to be targets for future trade agreements.”

 

Picture
caption:

 

Culinary
Association of Wales president Arwyn Watkins (front right) with WACS
continental directors Domenico Maggi, Dragan
Unic and Miroslav Lubek with delegates at the
European Chefs Conference at the Celtic Manor Resort.

 

Culinary
Association of Wales president Arwyn Watkins (left) with WACS continental
directors (from left) Domenico Maggi, Dragan
Unic and Miroslav Lubek at the European Chefs
Conference at the Celtic Manor Resort.

 

Delegates
with their country’s flags during the European Chefs Conference at the Celtic
Manor Resort.

 

Ends

 

For
more information please contact Arwyn Watkins, Culinary Association of Wales
president, on Tel: 01938 555893 or Duncan Foulkes, publicity officer, on Tel:
01686 650818.

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