Eight finalists cook off for coveted National Chef of Wales title

The coveted title of National Chef of Wales is at stake as eight finalists cook-off to bring the curtain down on the Welsh International Culinary Championships tomorrow (Thursday).

The final is being split into morning and afternoon heats at Grwp Llandrillo Menai’s Rhos-on-Sea campus, with the winner being announced at the WICC presentation dinner tomorrow night.

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Matthew Smith

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John Quill

The finalists are: Jake Mann, 26, The Bull, Beaumaris; John Quill, 45, JQ Catering Services Ltd, Barry; Dion Jones, 30, Carden Park Hotel, Chester; Matthew Ramsdale, 25, The Chester Grosvenor, Chester; Matthew Smith, 34, Hawkstone Park Hotel, Weston-under-Redcastle, Shrewsbury; Wayne Bernard, 35, Pier 64, Penarth Marina, Cardiff; Tom Westerland, 26, Lucknam Park Hotel, Colerne and Gavin Kellett, 33, The Vine Tree, Llangattock, Crickhowell.

They will be given three hours to prepare and cook a three-course menu for four people using Welsh ingredients wherever possible. A panel of experienced judges will select the winner after closely supervising both heats.

Westerland has been runner-up for the past two years, while Smith and Ramsdale were both finalists in 2017.

The National Chef of Wales winner will secure a three-day, all-inclusive culinary tour with Koppert Cress in Holland, which will include a masterclass from a two star Michelin chef, cooking in a development kitchen for the company’s chief executive and an introduction to new cress developments and Dutch cuisine new market trends.

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Tom Westerland

In addition, the winner will receive £250 worth of Churchill products and an engraved set of knives made by Friedr Dick.

More than 350 chefs from across Wales and England have competed at the WICC over four days as all the nation’s culinary competitions have been brought together in one venue for the first time.

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Dion Jones

In addition to the National and Junior Chef of Wales contests, the Skills Competition Wales culinary finals and the Major International Regional Competition conclude today (Wednesday) and the Battle for the Dragon contest reaches its climax tomorrow when England’s national junior team follows Wales into the kitchen.

The growing popularity of baking, sugarcraft and cake decorating is reflected in the Cake Cymru show, which has attracted quality entries from across Wales and England.

Winners of the showpiece competitions will be announced at the presentation dinner at Llandudno Bay Hotel, Llandudno, which will be attended by Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs.

The WICC are organised by the Culinary Association of Wales and main sponsor is Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government’s department representing the food and drink industry.

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