Welsh National Culinary Team members Toby Beevers and Sally Owens prepare the dessert during the Battle for the Dragon contest.
Sam Warburton and his Wales rugby teammates are not the only Welsh stars facing the best of Europe in February. Chefs from the Welsh National Culinary Team are preparing for a cook-off against the best chefs from Germany and Italy in North Wales tomorrow (Tuesday).
The national culinary teams from the three European countries compete in the Battle for the Dragon at the Welsh International Culinary Championships hosted by Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, Rhos on Sea from February 14-16, 2012.
It’s an important year for all three teams, with the forthcoming Culinary Olympics, the world’s top contest for chefs, being hosted by Germany in October.
Welsh Culinary Association chairman Peter Jackson, executive chef at Bodnant Welsh Food, said he was delighted to welcome both Germany and Italy back to the Battle for the Dragon, a contest 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. Wales won the trophy last year.
Italy will lead off the 2012 contest on Tuesday, St Valentine’s Day, 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 lunches will be served over three days. Tickets for the lunches quickly sold out.
The Welsh National Culinary Team, captained by Wayne Roberts, includes 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, senior sous chef at The Quay Hotel and Spa, Deganwy.
Germany is one of the top five ranked national culinary teams in the world while Italy, like Wales, is a top 10 country. Roberts is expecting a strong challenge from both teams.
“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 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.
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.
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 junior and senior chefs to demonstrate their skills.
The Battle for the Dragon menus are:
Starter: Cod with mussels and tomato and anchovy sauce, red prawn raviolo on celeriac purée and lentils.
Main course: Welsh Lamb loin covered with pancetta with pumpkin pavé, meat croquette and mixed vegetables and mushrooms.
Dessert: Chocolate and caramel mousse with cinnamon-flavoured pears,
hazelnut financier, orange semi-freddo and raspberry sauce.
Starter: Leg of goose, walnut, pumpernickel, quail egg, quail breast, parsley and truffles.
Main course: Fillet and leg of suckling pig, ceps, potatoes, chervil root, tomato and carrot.
Dessert: Assiette of plum and Tonga bean, garnished with chocolate and mace.
Starter: Terrine of seafood and smoked salmon, pan-fried scallop with seaweed and watermelon.
Main course: Fillet, braised tongue tartlette and tian of Welsh Beef, warm artichoke gel and vegetables of the season.
Dessert: Winter raspberry and chocolate delice, conference pear soufflé and cocoa nib ice cream.