The winning Welsh National Culinary Team at last year’s Battle for the Dragon contest.
Welsh chefs face another stiff test of their skills when they defend the Battle for the Dragon trophy against rivals from Germany and Italy next month.
The three national culinary teams, comprising their country’s top chefs, will do battle in the heat of the kitchen at the Welsh International Culinary Championships hosted by Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, Rhos on Sea from February 14-16, 2012.
Welsh Culinary Association chairman Peter Jackson, executive chef at Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, is delighted to welcome both Germany and Italy back to the prestigious culinary contest, which is recognised by the World Association of Chefs’ Societies.
Germany won the Dragon Trophy with a gold medal in 2006, beating Wales and France, while Italy collected a bronze medal in 2008 when Sweden edged out the host nation.
Italy will lead off the 2012 contest on Tuesday by cooking a three-course lunch for 80 people with Welsh Lamb as the main course. Germany are next in the kitchen on Wednesday, cooking Welsh Pork as their main course and the Welsh National Culinary Team completes the line-up on Thursday, cooking Welsh Beef as their main course.
A panel of experienced international judges will run the rule over the teams in the kitchen, which is attached to the Orme View Restaurant, where the lunches will be served. Tickets for the lunches quickly sold out.
Germany is one of the top five ranked national culinary teams in the world while Italy is a top 10 country.
The Welsh National Culinary Team will be lead by captain Wayne Roberts, executive chef at Portmeirion Hotel, David Kelman, executive head chef at the Ellenborough Park Hotel, Cheltenham, Toby Beevers, head chef Hawarden Farm Shop, Sally Owens, lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, Rhos on Sea, Dion Jones, senior chef de partie at Carden Park Country Hotel, Golf Resort and Spa near Chester and Christopher Owen, sous chef at the Castle Hotel, Conwy.
The Welsh chefs will cook a starter of terrine of seafood and smoked salmon, panfried scallops, seaweed and watermelon. Main course is fillet of Welsh Beef, braised tongue tartlet, tian of Welsh Beef, warm artichoke gel and seasonal vegetables. The dessert is winter raspberry and chocolate delice with a conference pear souffle and cocoa nib ice cream.
The Welsh National Culinary Team is sponsored by the Welsh Government, C&C Catering Equipment Ltd, Brakes, Unilever Foodsolutions UK, Villeroy and Boch and Friedr. Dick, Germany.
It’s a big year for the Welsh team as they prepare for the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany in October. Some elements of their Battle for the Dragon menu may be retained for the Olympics and Roberts says it will be a major challenge to beat both Germany and Italy.
“The German team always turns up strong and well rehearsed and they will no doubt be innovative in preparation for the Culinary Olympics,” he said. “Every four years, they tend to come up with something that hasn’t been seen in Wales before.”
The Battle for the Dragon contest is one of the showpiece events at the annual Welsh International Culinary Championships, which are organised by the Welsh Culinary Association and sponsored jointly by the Welsh Government, Unilever Food Solutions and Hybu Cig Cymru/ Meat Promotion Wales.
Other major attractions at the championships include the prestigious National Chef of Wales Final, which will be contested by four of the nation’s top chefs on February 14.
The finalists are former Junior Chef of Wales champion Chris Owen, 25, sous chef at the Castle Hotel, Conwy, Jonathan Reed, senior chef de partie at the Royal Sportsman Hotel, Porthmadog, Ryan Jones, 28, sous chef at Ffresh Restaurant at Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff and Karl Jones Hughes, head chef at Hotel Plas Hyfryd, Narberth.
The finalists face the ultimate challenge of devising and cooking a menu for a four-course dinner for four in three hours from a mystery box of ingredients, which they will see only the night before the contest. The ingredients will include some Wales the True Taste award winning products.
Apart from the coveted national title, £3,000 prizemoney is on offer in the contest – the winner receives £2,000 and runner up £1,000.
A Cake Cymru show for sugarcraft and cake decorating competitors will also be held for the second time. For more information visit www.welshculinaryassociation.com.
Designed to celebrate the nation's culinary skills and rich variety of quality food, the Welsh International Culinary Championships is a mouthwatering event packed with exciting competitions for learner, junior and senior chefs and waiting staff.
Young chefs and waiting staff are attracted from colleges across Wales and England, whilst the competitions also provide a national platform for senior chefs to demonstrate their skills.