The victorious German national culinary teams pictured at the dragon trophy.
Favourites Germany were jubilant last night (Thursday) as they held off a strong challenge from Italy and host nation Wales to record their second victory in the Battle for the Dragon contest.
Repeating their 2006 performance, the German chefs collected gold medals while Wales and Italy received silvers on the final day of the Welsh International Culinary Championships hosted by Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, Rhos on Sea.
The Battle for the Dragon contest is one of the showpiece events at the three-day championships, which are organised by the Welsh Culinary Association to showcase the nation's culinary skills and rich variety of quality food. Joint sponsors are the Welsh Government, Unilever Food Solutions and Hybu Cig Cymru/ Meat Promotion Wales.
It’s an important year for all three national teams, with the forthcoming Culinary Olympics, the world’s premier contest for chefs, being hosted by Germany in October.
The contest judges were Ulrich Frede from Sweden, Ann Brown from Scotland and Peter Jackson, Welsh Culinary Association (WCA) president.
Mr Jackson said: “The German team lived up to their billing as favourites and were clear winners, while the other two teams were very close. All three teams made much better use of quality Welsh products in their dishes this year.
“This contest was a good stepping stone for the teams with the Culinary Olympics in mind. The Battle for the Dragon contest is now firmly established on the international culinary calendar and we are having to turn away countries wishing compete.”
Reflecting on the championships as a whole, he said: “We have had a fantastic three days. The event and the standard of competition gets better every year. For example, we had 13 entries for the themed table setting class and they all received a gold medal.”
Italy opened the Battle for the Dragon competition on Tuesday followed by Germany on Wednesday and the Welsh National Culinary Team yesterday. Each team had to cook a three-course meal for 80 diners.
The Welsh National Culinary Team, captained by Wayne Roberts, included 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.
The winning German menu opened with a starter of leg of goose, walnut, pumpernickel, quail egg, quail breast, parsley and truffles. Main course was fillet and leg of suckling pig, ceps, potatoes, chervil root, tomato and carrot. Dessert was assiette of plum and Tonga bean, garnished with chocolate and mace.
The Welsh team cooked a starter of terrine of seafood and smoked salmon, pan-fried scallop with seaweed and watermelon. Main course is fillet, braised tongue tartlette and tian of Welsh Beef, warm artichoke gel and vegetables of the season. Dessert is winter raspberry and chocolate delice, conference pear soufflé and cocoa nib ice cream.
Italy’s menu opened with a starter of cod with mussels and tomato and anchovy sauce, red prawn raviolo on celeriac purée and lentils. Main course was Welsh Lamb loin covered with pancetta with pumpkin pavé, meat croquette and mixed vegetables and mushrooms. Dessert was chocolate and caramel mousse with cinnamon-flavoured pears, hazelnut financier, orange semi-freddo and raspberry sauce.