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Ready, steady, cook: Chefs face off in Wales’ premier culinary competitions

21 Feb 2022 3 minute read
Andrew Tabberner, going for the Junior and National Chef of Wales double.

Ten chefs will cook off in the finals of Wales’ two premier culinary competitions which begin tomorrow (Tuesday), with big prizes awaiting the winners.

The prestigious National and Junior Chef of Wales contests, organised by the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW), bring together talented Welsh chefs from across Wales and England in the quest of the two coveted dragon winners’ trophies.

The finals will be held at the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC), hosted by Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s campus in Rhos-on-Sea, which begin tomorrow (Tuesday) and run until Thursday. The WICC return after an absence of two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Former Junior Chef of Wales winner Andrew Tabberner, 29, chef co-owner of Gaerwen Arms, Gaerwen, Anglesey, will be looking to complete the double in the National Chef of Wales final, which will take place over Tuesday and Wednesday.

Previous finalists

Tabberner joins Matthew Smith, 38, sous chef at Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen Hotel, Llanidloes and Wayne Barnard, 39, sous chef at Manor Parc Country Hotel and Restaurant, Thornhill, Cardiff, in the line-up as previous finalists.

They will be competing against Thomas Herbert, 24, from Bridgend, chef de partie at Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Chippenham and Robert Cave, 38, from Wrexham, senior sous chef at Rookery Hall, Worleston, Nantwich.

Tabberner and Cave compete in the first part of the final tomorrow, followed by the other three finalists on Wednesday.

The five chefs will be given five hours to prepare and cook their own four course menu for 12 people, featuring mostly Welsh ingredients. A vegan starter will be followed by a fish dish, a main course using two different cuts of Welsh Lamb and a dessert featuring seasonal fruits, ice cream, chocolate and biscuit or tuille.

For the first time at the WICC, invited guests and sponsors will have a chance to taste the finalists’ dishes.

At stake in the final is £1,000 for the winner, £500 for the runner-up and £300 for third place. The winner will also receive a set of knives from Friedr Dick and £250 worth of Churchill products.

The Junior Chef of Wales finalists, on Thursday, are Katie Duffy, 17, an apprentice at Stradey Park Hotel, Llanelli, Stephanie Grace Belcher, 21, sous chef at Peterstone Court Hotel, Llanhamlach, Brecon,  Falon Bailie, 17, apprentice chef de partie at Foyles of Glasbury, Glasbury, Dalton Cain Weir, 22, head chef at Watson’s Bistro, Conwy and Cai Morris, 21, chef de partie at The Bull, Beaumaris.

The junior chefs will have three hours to prepare and cook a three course meal for four people, including mostly Welsh ingredients, a seafood starter or fish appetiser will be followed by a main course featuring one prime cut and one secondary cut of Welsh Beef and a seasonal dessert including chocolate and one hot element.

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