Four days of competitions and mouthwatering cooking by some of best chefs in the UK have begun at the Welsh International Culinary Championships in North Wales today (Monday).
Around 300 chefs and waiting staff are expected to compete at the annual showcase of culinary talent held at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea, which began with the Junior Chef of Wales andSkills Competition Wales professional cookery finals this morning.
Organised by the Culinary Association of Wales, the WICC has Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government’s department representing the food and drink industry, as its main sponsor.
The event is packed with exciting competitions for learner, junior and senior chefs and waiting staff.
The Junior Chef of Wales finalists are James Corbett, 20, commis chef at Llangoed Hotel, Llyswen, near Brecon, Josh Hughes, 20, chef de partie at Deganwy Quay Hotel, Deganwy, Ben Mitchell, 19, demi chef de partie at The Grove, Narberth and Aaron Griffiths, 23, chef de partie at St George’s Hotel, Llandudno will be competing for the Junior Chef of Wales accolade.
They will be given three hours to cook a three course meal for four people and will be keen to impress a stellar panel of judges, which includes Michelin star chefs Hywel Jones from Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa, near Chippenham, Will Holland, from Coast Restaurant, Saundersfoot and Shaun Hill, from The Walnut Tree, near Abergavenny and Culinary Association of Wales secretary John Retallick.
National pride will be at stake when talented chefs from Culinary Team Wales take on rivals England and Scotland in the Battle of the Dragon contest, which starts on Tuesday.
Each team has to cook a three course menu for 85 diners, with Wales leading off on Tuesday, followed by England on Wednesday and Scotland on Thursday. The teams’ dishes and cooking skills will be closely examined by a panel of experienced international judges, who will announce the Battle for the Dragon winners at the WICC Awards dinner at Llandudno Bay Hotel on Thursday night.
Tickets for each Battle for the Dragon lunch cost £23 or £21 each when booking all three and are available from Sarah Williams, marketing officer at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, on Tel: 01492 542 322.
It’s a special year for all three national teams as they build towards the Culinary Olympics, the premier global event for chefs, in Germany in October.
The competitions end on Thursday afternoon with the National Chef of Wales final which will be contested by Jack Davison, 23, sous chef from Deganwy Quay Hotel and Spa, Deganwy, Benjamin Taylor, 34, head chef and Thomas Westerland, 24, chef de partie, both from the Michelin starred Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa at Colerne, near Chippenham and Nathan Davies, 25, head chef at the Belle Vue Royal Hotel, Aberystwyth.
The growing popularity of baking, sugarcraft and cake decorating is reflected in the Cake Cymru show, with entries expected from across Wales and England for the show.
There will be a live web stream of the WICC at www.gllm.ac.uk/welshfood and viewers can also follow the action on the CAW’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Culinary-Association-of-Wales-Cymdeithas-Coginiol-Cymru-233215000086016/ on Twitter at https://twitter.com/WELSHCHEFS and http://welshculinarychampionships.tweetwally.com/ and on YouTube athttps://www.youtube.com/channel/UCljjcHbTK-fz2ZdtgsxGNVQ