The Wales culinary team narrowly missed out on winning the Battle for the Dragon trophy at the Welsh International Culinary Championships, held this week at Coleg Llandrillo for the eighth year in succession. After much deliberation, the New Zealand team was announced as the winners, with Wales and England named as runners up.
Designed to celebrate the nation’s culinary skills and food, the event was packed with exciting competitions, including the National Chef of Wales competition, Cake Cymru 2013 and the prestigious Battle for the Dragon, which was contested between three of the biggest names on the world culinary scene. The contest, organised by the Welsh Culinary Association, was the showpiece event at the Championships.
The three-day event attracted hundreds of chefs and waiting staff from Wales, England, Ireland and overseas who competed in dozens of culinary competitions. Members of the public turned out in force to sample the delights of the Championships. Every day, there were live hot and cold food competitions for learner, junior and senior chefs and waiting staff, and static exhibition classes. Many Coleg Llandrillo students competed, winning over 50 awards between them during the three days of competition.
Thousands of people in over twenty countries, including the competing teams’ friends and families who were not able to attend, followed the whole event live, as it was streamed live across the Internet on the College’s website.
The Welsh team, which won gold and silver medals at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg in 2010 and a silver medal in the Parade de Chefs at Hospitality 2011, just missed out on winning the Battle for the Dragon trophy. Previous winners are Scotland, Germany, Sweden and New Zealand. New Zealand now join Wales and Germany as double winners.
The three countries did battle, with each team being allocated five hours to produce a mouthwatering three-course meal for 90 people using quality Welsh ingredients. Competitors were under constant scrutiny from a panel of international judges.
New Zealand opened the competition on the Tuesday, followed by England on Wednesday then Wales on Thursday. The Welsh chefs cooked lamb as their main course, while the New Zealand team cooked beef and the England team, pork. Local people had the chance to sample the chefs’ culinary delights, with tickets selling out weeks before the event.
Other highlights included the grand final of the National Chef of Wales competition, where chefs who qualified from regional heats put their culinary skills to the test. After a tightly fought contest, the winner was announced as 22-year-old Chris Tull from the Castle Hotel, Conwy. Chris, who is a former Coleg Llandrillo Hospitality student, had three hours to prepare and cook a three course menu for four people, along with the three other finalists.
Welsh Culinary Association acting president Kevin Williams said: “This event gives members of the public the chance to come and watch some of the world’s top chefs in action and also to see the culinary talent that we have here in Wales. It was an honour to welcome the New Zealand and England teams to Wales, in what turned out to be a hard-fought battle.”
The Welsh International Culinary Championships are organised by the Welsh Culinary Association and sponsored by the Welsh Government, Unilever Food Solutions and Wales the True Taste.