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Welsh Chefs Excel To Strike Gold In Sharjah Competition

A team of six talented young chefs has struck gold for Wales at a prestigious international culinary competition in the United Arab Emirates.

Representing the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW), the team finished third overall against eight other countries in the Alen Thong Golden Coffee Pot Young Chef Challenge at The International Emirates Salon Culinaire, during Expoculinaire 2024 Sharjah.

Three gold medals were awarded, with Wales being edged out by winners China and runners up Hong Kong.

Proudly flying the flag for Wales were captain Calum Smith, 23, and Jordan Howorth, 25, sous chefs at Shrewsbury School, Shrewsbury, sous chef Harry Paynter-Roberts, 26 and head chef Sion Hughes, 26, from Carden Park Hotel and Spa, near Chester, Dylan Evans, 21, commis chef at L’Enclume, Cartmel and Connor Smith,19, commis chef at the Lion and Pheasant, Shrewsbury.

Dylan, Jordan and Connor, who is Calum’s younger brother, all made their international debut in the competition which aims to become the most notable gastronomic contest anywhere in the Middle East for young chefs under the age of 28 years.

Colin, who helped to coach and advise the Wales team before the competition, said: “I am really proud of these young chefs who stepped up to the mark and did a great job. The judges were very complimentary about how they worked together in a clean and hygienic way to get jobs done.

“All the chefs did well but captain Calum deserves special mention for taking the reins in the absence of a team manager and doing the hard work.”

CAW president Arwyn Watkins, OBE, added:
“When you consider this is a young Welsh team with three debutants, competing in a competition for chefs aged under 28, to win a gold is a fantastic achievement.

“Calum, as team captain, has done a tremendous job and has become a commanding leader.”

The last time Welsh chefs competed in this competition as a senior team in 2013, they came away with a gold medal.

It’s the second time that Wales has secured gold medals in the Sharjah competition, following the success of a senior team in 2013.