Lucknam Park head chef Tom Westerland is National Chef of Wales 2018 after having been runner up two years running.
The final brought to a close the four-day Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC) held at Grwp Llandrillo Menai’s Rhos-on-Sea campus in Conwy.
Westerland’s winning menu opened with a starter of Glamorgan sausage, salad of heritage beetroot, glazed pecans and beetroot ketchup. His main course was fillet of Welsh Wagyu beef, beer-braised onion, cavolo nero, black trompette, crispy onion and lapsang souchong. Dessert was Penderyn whisky cheesecake, Bramley apple, blackberry sorbet and hazelnut crumble.
The finalists were given three hours to prepare and cook a three-course menu for four people using Welsh ingredients wherever possible.
Westerland said: “This award means everything to me and it shows what three years of hard work, perseverance and development can do for you.”
He is the second chef from Lucknam Park to win the award, following Ben Taylor in 2016. “I have been staring at my boss’s trophy for three years and now I have one of my own,” he added.
In addition to receiving the dragon trophy, he won a three-day culinary tour with Koppert Cress in the Netherlands, which will include a masterclass from a two Michelin-starred chef, cooking in a development kitchen for the company’s chief executive, and an introduction to new developments and trends. He also received £250 worth of Churchill products and an engraved set of knives made by Friedr Dick.
Runners-up were: Dion Wyn Jones, head chef at Carden Park hotel in Chester; Matthew Ramsdale, sous chef at the Chester Grosvenor, Chester; Matthew Smith, executive chef at Hawkstone Park hotel in Weston-under-Redcastle, Shrewsbury; Gavin Kellett, sous chef at the Vine Tree in Llangattock, Crickhowell; and John Quill, director of JQ Catering Services in Barry.
The awards were announced and presented at a dinner held at the Llandudno Bay hotel.
Culinary Association of Wales president Arwyn Watkins said: “This week has really demonstrated what is possible when we work in partnership with like-minded people.”
The WICC are organised by the Culinary Association of Wales, and the main sponsor is Food and Drink Wales.