Two teams of talented Welsh chefs will be carrying the nation’s hopes when they compete at the Villeroy & Boch Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg later this month.
The senior and junior Culinary Team Wales will both be in action in the ‘hot kitchen’ on the first day of the prestigious contest, which runs from November 22-26, and will prepare a cold buffet display on the third day.
The Wales senior team is captained by Sally Owens, a lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo and includes Hefin Roberts, head chef at Ye Olde Bull’s Head Inn, Beaumaris, Danny Burke, owner of Shared Olive, Hawarden, Ryan Jones, creative development chef at Fei Foods Limited, Llansamlet, Simon Crockford, a head chef from the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport and Leigh Marshall, sous chef at the Castle Hotel, Conwy.
The support team includes Gareth Dwyer, a chef manager for Baxter Storey from Llanberis, Mark Jones, a self-employed chef now working for a family in London, Karl Jones-Hughes from the Celtic Manor Resort and Barry-born Lee Jeynes, executive chef at the RACV Noosa Resort in Queensland, Australia.
The junior team, which is coached by Michael Evans, a lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea, is captained by Chris Tull, head chef of Signatures Restaurant, Aberconwy and includes Jonathan Pring and Ffion Lewis from the Celtic Manor Resort, Jack Davidson, demi chef de partie at Coast, Saundersfoot and chef de partie Joe Jones and pastry chef Etienne Lasalle from De Vere Carden Park.
Tull, 24, who won the Junior Chef of Wales contest last year, said he was focusing on building teamwork in the run up to the Culinary World Cup. A practice dinner at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport had gone well last week and preparations are on target.
The junior team’s final practice dinner will be at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea on November 4 when they hope to replicate the 70 covers that they will be cooking in Luxembourg.
“We are spending time getting to know each other because teamwork and team spirit are important when you are working in the kitchen at a major competition,” said Tull. “I think we have a strong team.
“In every section there are people who have worked together. Jack and I went through college together, Jonathan and Ffion are from the Celtic Manor and Etienne and Joe work together at Carden Park. We would love to win a gold medal in Luxembourg, particularly in the hot kitchen.”
Culinary Team Wales manager Graham Tinsley, executive chef at De Vere Carden Park near Chester and a director of the Castle Hotel, Conwy, will help both teams prepare for the competition but has to take a back seat at the event, as he has been invited to judge for the first time.
“The Culinary World Cup is my favourite because it’s an evening competition and there’s always a good, friendly atmosphere there,” he said. “Wales has won two gold medals at the competition in the past and both our teams will be looking for more success.”
The first ever Culinary World Cup took place in 1972, created by the Vatel Club Luxembourg, the Grand-Duchy’s association of professional chefs. This year, more than 2,000 chefs and pastry chefs from more than 100 teams across the globe will be taking part in different categories of the competition.
Thirty national teams are competing in the senior competition with 15 in the junior section.
The teams are sponsored by the Welsh Government, Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales), Churchill, Friedr. Dick, Germany, Brakes and Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea.