Chefs from Culinary Team Wales opened their Culinary World Cup campaign in Luxembourg yesterday with a bronze medal for culinary art.
The Welsh chefs, who are competing against the world’s best culinary teams, worked through the night to prepare their cold table buffet display for the international judging panel.
The cold table is traditionally the weaker of the two competition elements for the Welsh chefs who are now busy preparing for the hot kitchen tomorrow evening when they will be going for gold.
The chefs would love to repeat the gold medal won by Wales in the hot kitchen at the Culinary World Cup eight years ago, particularly as it could be team manager and pastry chef Toby Beevers’ final competition, after 19 years of globetrotting.
Team captain Danny Burke, co-owner of Olive Tree Catering, Runcorn, said: “I think the cold table was an improvement on the last one we did at the Culinary Olympics, but the result was fair, it was bronze standard.
“The feedback from the judges was good and we took away constructive criticism.”
In the hot kitchen, the chefs are given six hours to prepare, cook and serve a three-course meal for 110 diners. Their menu comprises a starter of scallops, ceviche, compressed cucumber, Café de Paris, chicken skin granola seawater and sea herbs. Main course is hay-smoked loin of Welsh Lamb, lamb tagine, almond puree, pearl couscous and apricots. Dessert is white chocolate and lemon mousse with Welsh honey, raspberries, raspberry sorbet and mint.
“I think it’s one of the best menus the team has developed since I have been involved and this is my fifth Culinary World Cup,” added Burke. “The scallop starter is full of flavour and was the dish that Jason Hughes cooked for the Great British Menu and received a mark of nine out of 10.
“The main course is a Moroccan dish and different to anything we have done before. It’s Alan Davies’ dish and is a take on a tagine, with couscous, pomegranate, saffron, apricots, hay-smoked Welsh Lamb neck and loin all cooked in Moroccan spices.
“We have gone back to traditional ways of cooking, roasting the meat in a pan with spices and the flavour is awesome. We hope the judges like that we have gone for something different.
“We also have a strong dessert which has a good balance of flavours, textures and acidity. There are a lot of combinations that go well together.”
The other team members are Beevers, who works for PSL Purchasing Systems and lives near Chester, Jason Hughes, who is opening his own restaurant in Menai Bridge in partnership with Bocca in the new year, Alun Davies, former captain of the Combined Services and RAF culinary teams who is based in Winchester, Sergio Cinotti, co-owner of Gemelli and Gem42 restaurants in Newport and Alys Evans, an award-winning patisserie chef from Gilfach Goch.
Supporting the team are chefs Mark Robertson from Coleg Cambria, Deeside, Matthew Smith from Lake Vyrnwy Hotel, Llanwddyn, drivers Gareth Dwyer and Chris Simga and Grŵp Llandrillo Menai students Oliver Parry-Molloy, Morgan Read and Dalton Weir.
Also representing Wales at the Culinary World Cup is Colin Gray, of Capital Cuisine, Caerphilly, who is one of the international judges.
Culinary Team Wales is sponsored by the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Wales, Cambrian Training Company, Grwp Llandrillo Menai, Castell Howell Foods, Hybu Cig Cymru, Harlech Foods and Goodfellows.