The waiting is over for anxious chefs as the finalists are today announced for the National and Junior Chef of Wales competitions, the country’s two most prestigious culinary competitions.
The National Chef of Wales final will contested by nine chefs, including four finalists from last year’s competition. Robert Cave, head chefs at Rookery Hall Hotel, Crewe, Matthew Smith, chef lecturer at Cheshire South & West College and Wayne Barnard, senior chef de partie at Holm House Hotel, Penarth, will again contest the final.
Up against them in a high quality contest will be Dan Andree, head chef at Beach House Restaurant, Oxwich, Swansea; Jamie Tully, executive chef at Chartist 1770 at The Trewythen, Llanidloes; Sophie Rowe, chef de partie at Gaerwen Arms, Gaerwen, Anglesey; Matthew Owen, head chef at the Celtic Collection, Newport; David Williams, head chef at Cwm Gwendraeth, Llanelli and Dalton Weir, sous chef at The Cottage Loaf, Llandudno.
Dalton is bidding to complete the double by winning the Junior and National Chef of Wales titles in successive years.
The Junior Chef of Wales final will be contested by three chefs, including two of last year’s finalists. Falon Bailie, junior sous chef at Foyles of Glasbury and Katie Duffy, second chef at Llanelly House, Llanelli, will be competing against Oliver Herrington, demi chef de partie at Celtic Manor Resort, Newport and Abigail Williams, a student at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw Campus.
The finals of both competitions, organised by The Culinary Association of Wales (CAW), will be held at the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC) from February 21-23, 2023 at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s campus in Rhos-on-Sea.
The National Chef of Wales final will take place on February 21 and 22 and Junior Chef of Wales final will take place on February 23. The awards dinner will be held on the evening of February 23 at The Imperial Hotel, Llandudno.
At stake in the National Chef of the Wales final is £500 for the winner, £300 for the runner-up and £200 for third place. The winner will also receive a set of engraved knives from Friedr Dick and £250 worth of Churchill products.
In the final, chefs must cook their own creative menu for a three course dinner for 12 people within five hours, using a majority of Welsh ingredients. Their starter must be suitable for vegans, the main course must use two different cuts of PGI Welsh Lamb and the dessert must feature seasonal fruits, an ice cream, chocolate and biscuit or tuille.
Members of the public will have a chance to sample the dishes cooked by the finalists on February 21 and 22 by booking a limited number of tickets for £15 each at firstname.lastname@example.org , but hurry to avoid disappointment.
The Junior Chef of Wales winner will have a chance of a lifetime to attend the Worldchefs Congress 2024 in Singapore with CAW delegates.
He or she will also qualify for the semi-finals of the Young National Chef of the Year contest, organised by the Craft Guild of Chefs and receive support from the Junior Culinary Team Wales, a set of engraved knives from Friedr Dick and products worth £100 from Churchill.
The finalists will cook their own creative menu for a three-course dinner for four people within three hours, again using mostly Welsh ingredients. Their starter must be a seafood/fish appetiser, main course must use one prime cut and one secondary cut of PGI Welsh Beef and dessert must be seasonal, feature one hot element and include chocolate.
The WICC’s main sponsor is Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Government’s department representing the food and drink industry. Other sponsors include Castel Howell, Churchill, Major International, Riso Gallo, Dick Knives, MCS Tech Products, Hybu Cig Cymru/ Meat Promotion Wales and Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.
Arwyn Watkins, OBE, CAW president, said: “We are delighted with the high calibre of entries in both competitions and can’t wait to see these talented chefs in action in the finalists.
“The finals provide a fantastic platform to showcase their skills in Wales’ premier competitions for chefs.”
Dalton Weir who is bidding to add the National and Junior Chef of Wales double in successive years.