The globetrotting Welsh National Culinary Team will be flying the flag for Wales at a major new international gastronomic contest in the Middle East in November. Wales is one of only 12 national teams invited to compete in the Dubai World Hospitality Championship from November 17-19.
The talented Welsh chefs will be competing against the world’s best teams at the high profile event.
Four teams per day over three days will each create an international themed edible buffet for 54 people, which will include one hot dish, a selection of other food items and four showpieces made from chocolate, bread, savory and ingredients of the chefs’ choice. Sixteen respected culinary judges from the World Association of Chefs Societies will run the rule over the entries, with prizes at stake for the top three teams and medals awarded to all competing teams.
Welsh team manager Graham Tinsley, executive chef at De Vere Carden Park near Chester and director of the Castle Hotel, Conwy, said it will be the first time the team has competed in Dubai and the contest presents a completely new challenge. At previous international competitions, the chefs have presented a buffet table with only a few edible items. This time, all the food items, including carved fruit and vegetables, must be edible, halal and must not contain alcohol.
“It’s a great honor that Wales is the only one UK nation to be invited to compete in Dubai and the Welsh chefs are really looking forward to the new challenge,” said Tinsley. “Everything is being laid on by the competition organisers, including the transport, accommodation, food, equipment and a kitchen at the famous Meydan Horse Racing Stadium, where we will prepare our buffet pieces. We are going to incorporate dragons and harps in the showpieces so that people are able to tell that our buffet has a strong Welsh influence. Some of the pieces, such as carved fruit and vegetables, will require a new set of skills. It’s a great opportunity for the Welsh chefs to compete against the best in the world.”
The team, selected for a blend of youth and experience, will be captained for the first time by Sally Owens, a lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos on Sea, who will prepare a cake showpiece for the buffet.
Barry-born Lee Jeynes, now the executive chef at the RACV Noosa Resort in Queensland, Australia, is jetting in for the competition and will bring with him another of the showpieces. The other team members are: Danny Burke, owner Shared Olive, Hawarden, near Chester, Gennaro Adaggio, head chef at La Dolce Vita, Shrewsbury, Harri Williams, of the Ellenborough Park Hotel, Cheltenham, Welsh Junior Chef of Wales champion Chris Tull from the Castle Hotel, Conwy and Etienne Lasalle from De Vere Carden Park near Chester. Toby Beevers, operations manager at Purchasing Systems Limited, Chester, and Mike Evans, from Coleg Llandrillo, will also help the team prior to the competition, but will not be travelling to Dubai.
The Welsh team, which has this year been invited by the Welsh Government to cook at major overseas VIP receptions in Barcelona and Russia, is building for the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg in 2014. Next up, after Dubai, will be of the Battle for the Dragon contest at the Welsh International Culinary Championships at Coleg Llandrillo next February. The team is sponsored by the Welsh Government, Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales), C&C Catering Equipment Ltd, Brakes, Unilever Food Solutions UK, Villeroy and Boch and Friedr. Dick, Germany.