2010 promises to be a big year for the Welsh National Culinary Team as the globetrotting chefs prepare to compete on home soil before flying to take on the best in the world in Asia this spring.
The successful team has been invited to compete for the first time at the FHA Culinary Challenge in Singapore, hailed as Asia's most established culinary competition, from April 15-25.
Held once every four years, the Challenge is open to national culinary teams, who battle for the prestigious and famous Lion Trophy. Wales is one of only eight countries that have been invited by host nation Singapore to compete. The others are Switzerland, Australia, Germany, Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Malyasia and New Zealand.
Selected for the Welsh team is former captain Lee Jeynes, originally from Barry, who emigrated to live in Australia last year and is looking forward to meeting up again with his ex-team-mates. Jeynes is soon due to take up an executive chef post at Quay West Resort, Noosa, Queensland.
"Lee is closer to Singapore than we are and is a very experienced competitor," explained team manager Graham Tinsley, co-owner of the Castle Hotel, Conwy and Nant Hall, Prestatyn.
"For this competition, we need our strongest squad, as we have never competed in Asia before, and I am pleased that Lee has made himself available for selection. His knowledge of the commodities out in Singapore is going to be invaluable to the team.
"Of all the main international competitions, the FHA Culinary Challenge is the only one that the Welsh team has not been to. It's probably the most challenging competition for us because of the travelling distance and the heat and high humidity, which will affect the way we prepare dishes for the cold table display.
"It's an elite competition and Wales is lucky to have been chosen to compete. We usually only see the teams from Singapore and Hong Kong when they compete in the Culinary Olympics or Culinary World Cup in Europe and they are very professional. Singapore is a world top three team and, in their own country, they are going to be absolutely fantastic.
Mr Tinsley leads the Welsh squad, which includes a new face in Sue Leacy, head chef at The Quay Hotel and Spa, Deganwy. The team, which is captained by Wayne Roberts, executive chef at Portmeirion Hotel, also includes Nick Davies, a director of Cambrian Training Company, Welshpool, Jeynes, Toby Beevers, executive chef at Chester University, Sally Owens, Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, Gennaro Adaggio, La Dolce Vita, Shrewsbury who lives in Welshpool, Hefin Roberts, Ye Olde Bull's Head, Beaumaris, Chris Owen, Castle Hotel, Conwy, Danny Burke, development chef for Brakes Creative Foods, Flint, and Mark Jones, chef at Henbury Hall, Macclesfield.
The competition is split into two sections: Each of the competing teams must cook three courses for 80 people in the hot kitchen, whilst they will be required a prepare range of display items for the cold display table. Wales competes in the hot kitchen on April 20 and the cold buffet table on April 22.
The Welsh team warms up for the Singapore event by competing on home soil against Celtic cousins Scotland and Ireland in the Battle for the Dragon contest during the Welsh International Culinary Championships at Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, Rhos-on-Sea from February16-18.
Their chosen menu for both competitions opens with pressed cod and parsley terrine, creamed shellfish tartlet, poached quails egg with lemon hollandaise, crab and carrot puree, asparagus and marinated cucumber salad.
Main course is roast cannon of Welsh Lamb with creamed Savoy cabbage, butternut squash puree, herbed coated potato and an offal fritter. The menu is rounded off with a dessert of dark chocolate mousse with a soft passion fruit centre, white chocolate and vanilla sponge with chocolate sauce, mango sorbet and tropical fruit salsa.
The Welsh chefs are holding a practice dinner at Deeside College on Thursday, January 21 when they will be cooking the menu for the first time.