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New National and Junior Chef of Wales announced

26 Jan 2024 5 minute read
National & Junior Chef of Wales 2024

The new National and Junior Chef of Wales have been announced after receiving praise from judges at the Welsh International Culinary Championships.

The new National Chef of Wales is 28-year-old Josh Morris, senior sous chef Palé Hall Hotel, Llandderfel, Bala.

The former Junior Chef of Wales finalist, who is originally from Porthcawl, edged out eight rivals from across Wales in a high quality final to win the coveted dragon trophy, presented by Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths.

The presentation at the Welsh International Culinary Championships awards dinner on Wednesday 24 January after three days of hospitality and butchery skills competitions at the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales), Newport, organised by the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW).


“I didn’t expect that at all because the competition was so strong,” said an elated Josh, whose commis chef was Robin Evans, pastry chef at Palé Hall. “It means a lot to me because it puts my name out there a bit more.

“To be honest, I didn’t have the time for a lot of practice which meant that I just went into it blind. Having said that, I was very happy with my dishes.

“I was going to enter the competition for the last two years but I wasn’t ready in 2022 after being out of the kitchen for so long due to the pandemic and then the final clashed with my girlfriend’s birthday last year.”

National Chef of Wales winner Josh Morris celebrates with the dragon trophy

Josh’s starter was confit of Pembrokeshire potatoes, hay, truffle and baked potato dash. Main course was roasted Gower salt marsh lamb, lamb shoulder and Welsh leek hot pot, cavolo nero and black garlic tapenade. Dessert was white chocolate and meadowsweet parfait, cinnamon and Denbigh plums.

High standard final

For winning the competition, Josh has earned an invitation to attend the Worldchefs Congress and Expo, which will be held at ICC Wales in May, 2026.

Runner-up was Harry Paynter-Roberts, sous chef at Carden Park Hotel and Spa, Chester, who won a silver medal.

“All the chefs did amazingly well in a high standard final,” said Colin Gray, CAW vice president and judging panel chairman. “We should also not forget the commis chefs because they competed as teams of two.”

The chefs were challenged to cook a three-course menu for 12 people featuring six Welsh GI products. Their menus had to includea vegan starter followed by a main course using two different cuts of GI Welsh Lamb and a dessert featuring Denbigh plums, ice cream, chocolate and biscuit or tuille.

Junior Chef of Wales

Talented Mid Wales chef Sam Everton has chalked off a bucket list wish by becoming the new Junior Chef of Wales.

Sam, 25, a lecturer at Coleg Ceredigion in Cardigan and part-time junior sous chef at Y Seler, Aberaeron, said he felt “honoured” to receive the dragon trophy after competing against seven other young Welsh chefs in the final.

The final was held at the successful Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC), organised by the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) over three days at the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales), Newport.

After receiving the trophy and a gold medal from Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths at the awards dinner last night (Wednesday), Sam said: “I knew I did well in the final but I never imagined I was going to win.

“What an honour to represent Wales again to show that I am the best in my field. All the hard work and training has paid off. Winning this competition was in my bucket list and it’s a huge achievement.”

Sam Everton holds the dragon trophy aloft to celebrate winning the Junior Chef of Wales final

Sam, whose commis chef was one of his students, Tyler Richardson from Y Seler, has previously competed for Wales and the UK in WorldSkills competitions around the world.

Future plans

He plans to compete for the National Chef of Wales next year, as he bids to become the first chef to win the two titles in consecutive years since Danny Burke.

In the final, Sam cooked a starter of potato salad comprising laverbread gnocchi, infused root vegetables, Caerphilly cheese, toasted turnip top and watercress veloute.

His main course was a celebration of Welsh Beef with locally sourced sirloin, braised beef cheek, textures of mushroom and onion and truffled beef reduction.

Sam will now compete in the semi-final of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ 2024 UK Young National Chef of the Year competition.

Runner-up and silver medallist was Ged Jones, chef de partie at Carden Park Hotel, near Chester who lives in Connahs Quay, in his first competition.

The junior chefs had three hours to cook a creative, two course dinner for six people, with a starter suitable for a vegetarian diet and a main course using two different cuts of GI Welsh Beef. A minimum of four Welsh GI products had to be used in the dishes.

CAW vice president and judging panel chairman Colin Gray congratulated all the finalists. “They are the future of our industry and are all winners in our eyes for having the courage to compete,” he said.

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