Eleven contenders will compete for the coveted Junior Chef of Wales title and a fantastic prize when two regional heats are held next month (January 2015) organised by the Culinary Association of Wales.
The bi-annual hunt for Wales’ culinary stars of the future begins with the North Wales heat at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea, where six chefs will be competing for a place in the final. The South Wales heat at Coleg y Cymoedd, Nantgarw on January 14 will be contested by five chefs.
Apart from the prestige of being the best young chef in Wales, the champion will also win an all-expenses paid trip to represent Wales at the Junior Forum at the World Association of Chefs’ Societies Congress in Athens, Greece in May 2016.
Chefs must be at least 17-years-old, not older than 23 on February 1, 2015 and must be of Welsh descent or working or studying for a catering qualification in Wales.
The winners of each heat together with the two highest scoring runners up will qualify for the final to be held at Coleg Llandrillo on February 16, on the eve of the Welsh International Culinary Championships.
Organised every two years by the Culinary Association of Wales, the Junior Chef of Wales contest is sponsored by the Welsh Government to promote the Food and Drink Wales brand.
The chefs were asked to submit their own creative menu for a three course dinner for four persons, using a selection of Welsh products. From the entry forms and menus, a panel of experienced judges selected the best entrants to compete in the regional finals where they will have three hours to cook their dishes.
The final was traditionally part of the three-day Welsh International Culinary Championships in 2013 it was held before to give it greater prominence.
Competing in the North Wales heat are: Arron Tye from Shared Olive, Hawarden, Mathew Morris from Bar Uno, Bangor University, Joshua Hughes from Quay Hotel, Deganwy, Sam Ricketts from Signatures Restaurant, Conwy, James Roberts from Ty Gwyn Hotel, Betws y Coed and Ryan Philipps from Castle Hotel, Conwy.
The South Wales heat contestants are: Benjamin Cooke from Brains, Cardiff, Andrew Tabberner from Coast Restaurant, Saundersfoot, Ian McCormack and Wensley Macauly both from Coleg y Cymoedd and Vivienne Read from Celtic Manor Resort, Newport.
Culinary Association Wales president Colin Gray, owner of Capital Cuisine, said he was delighted with the number of entries this year and looked forward to two keenly contested heats.
He explained that the competition could be a stepping stone to joining the junior Culinary Team Wales in the future.
“The Junior Chef of Wales contest provides the perfect platform for young chefs to demonstrate their skills and catch the eye of national team selectors,” he added. “Previous winners have gone on to compete for Wales at all the major culinary competitions around the world.
“For example, the Junior Chef of Wales winner in 2013, Chris Tull, captained the junior Culinary Team Wales at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg next month, where they won silver and bronze medals.”