Celtic pride will be at stake when chefs from the Welsh National Culinary Team welcomes Scotland and Ireland for this year's Battle for the Dragon contest.
It's a big year for the Welsh chefs who follow the contest with their first ever trip to Singapore for the FHA Culinary Challenge, hailed as Asia's most established culinary competition, from April 15-25.
The Battle for the Dragon contest is one of the showpiece events at the Welsh International Culinary Championships held at Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, Rhos-on-Sea from February16-18.
The championships are organised by the Welsh Culinary Association and sponsored by the Welsh Assembly Government and Hybu Cig Cymru/ Meat Promotion Wales.
The Battle for the Dragon is a hot kitchen contest held over three days, with each of the three competing nations allocated three hours to produce a mouthwatering three-course meal for 90 people under the supervision of a panel of international judges.
Ireland are first in the kitchen on Tuesday, February 16 when they will cook Welsh Pork in their main course, Wales follow on Wednesday with Welsh Lamb and Scotland complete proceedings on Thursday with Welsh Beef.
Tickets for each of the Battle for the Dragon lunches, which cost £27.50 each, can be booked with Jane Cater at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 01492 542305.
The Welsh team's menu 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. Dessert is dark chocolate mousse with a soft passion fruit centre, white chocolate and vanilla sponge with chocolate sauce, mango sorbet and tropical fruit salsa.
To prepare for the contest, 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.
Team manager Graham Tinsley, co-owner of the Castle Hotel, Conwy, is keen for Wales to win the Dragon Trophy for only the second time in five years and aims to make home advantage count against visiting Scottish and Irish chefs. Previous Dragon Trophy winners are New Zealand, Germany and Sweden
"In the past, we have used the contest to give competition experience to some of our junior chefs," he explained. "This year, we have selected a strong team in preparation for Singapore.
"Scotland are a bit of an unknown quantity as they are forming a new team, but it's certain that they will be competitive. Ireland have only once ever finished ahead of Wales in an international competition, but it will be all down to the day and which team has prepared best."
The Welsh team will be captained by Wayne Roberts, executive chef at Portmeirion Hotel and includes Nick Davies, a director of Cambrian Training Company, Welshpool, Toby Beevers, executive chef at Chester University, Sally Owens, Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, Gennaro Adaggio, La Dolce Vita, Shrewsbury, Hefin Roberts, Ye Olde Bull's Head, Beaumaris.
In the other showpiece event at the Welsh International Culinary Championships, four chefs will put their skills to the test in the National Chef of Wales Final on February 16.
The finalists are James Hamilton from Fairyhill Hotel, Reynoldston, Gower, Iain Sampson, head chef at Peterstone Court Country House Restaurant and Spa, Llanhamlach, Brecon, Chris Owen from Castle Hotel, Conwy and 16-year-old Connah's Quay schoolboy Luke Thomas.
Designed to celebrate the nation's culinary skills and rich variety of quality food, the three-day championships are packed with exciting competitions for learner, junior and senior chefs and waiting staff.