Time is running out to enter both the 2016 National Chef of Wales and Junior Chef of Wales contests, as the deadline approaches on Sunday, October 18.
For the first time, both competitions will be held next year with the winners qualifying to represent their country in prestigious UK contests.
The Welsh culinary contests, which have traditionally been held on alternate years, will also for the first time be open to Wales born chefs who are now working outside the country. Previously, the contest have been restricted to chefs living, working or studying in Wales.
The finals of both contests will be held during the Welsh International Culinary Championships at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea, Colwyn Bay from February 15 to 18, 2016. The Junior Chef of Wales contest opens the championships on the Monday and the National Chef of Wales final brings the curtain down on the four-day event on the Thursday afternoon.
In addition to having the prestige of being the best chefs in Wales, the winners will go through to the UK semi-finals of the Junior Chef of the Year and National Chef of the Year contests.
Entries are now being welcomed for the Welsh contests, with the closing date set for October 18. Entries should be sent to: Sally Owens, Culinary Association of Wales, 4 Bryn Hafod, Colwyn Bay, Conwy LL28 5YJ or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entries must be accompanied by the chef’s own creative menu for a three-course dinner for four persons together with a £15 fee for junior chefs and a £30 fee for senior chefs. A panel of judges will select chefs for regional heats from the submitted menus and competitors will be given three hours to cook their dishes.
The final will comprise two regional heat winners and the two highest scoring runners up. To qualify for the Junior Chef of Wales contest, chefs must be a minimum age of 17 and not be older than 23 on February 1, 2016 and either be born in Wales or working or studying for a catering qualification in a college or establishment in Wales.
National Chef of Wales entrants must be over the age of 23 and the same rule applies about their birth and employment or study.
The competitions are organised by the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) and main sponsor is Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government’s department representing the food and drink industry.
CAW president Arwyn Watkins said the changes to allow Wales born chefs to compete in the two contests were designed to attract the very best Welsh chefs and to further raise the standard of the prestigious competitions.
He hoped talented Welsh chefs working in London, elsewhere in the UK and even abroad, would welcome the opportunity to compete at the main showcase of culinary skills in Wales.
He explained that the idea of holding the competitions at the start and end of the Welsh International Culinary Championships was to create more interest throughout the five-day event.
The association will also be inviting Wales tourism Minister Ken Skates to present the awards at the championships presentation dinner on the evening of February 18.