Three workmates from the Chester Grosvenor, Chester will be putting their friendship to one side on Monday when they compete in the National Chef of Wales 2019 semi-finals.
Matthew Ramsdale, 26, Sam Griffiths, 24, and Arron Tye, 23, are set to line up against each other in the cook-off to be held at Coleg Ystrad Mynach, Hengoed Campus.
Joining them will be Matthew Smith, 35, from Lake Vyrnwy Hotel, Llanwddyn; Gavin Kellett, 33, from Crickhowell; Sam Ricketts, 24, Llandudno Bay Hotel, Llandudno; Luke Henley, 32, private chef from Cardiff and Wayne Barnard, 36, from Pier 64, Penarth.
Tye is bidding to complete the double by adding the National Chef of Wales trophy to the Junior Chef of Wales title he won last year.
Returning to the competition after being finalists last year are Smith, Kellett and Ramsdale.
The chefs will be given three hours to cook and serve up a three-course menu for four people, using mostly Welsh products. They must cook a vegan starter, a main course using two different cuts of Welsh Beef and a dessert including chocolate as the main ingredient.
The four highest scoring chefs will qualify for the final to be held at the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC) at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Rhos-on-Sea on Thursday, February 28.
The winner will be invited to a study tour hosted by Koppert Cress in the Netherlands and will receive a set of engraved F. Dick Knives and £250 worth of Churchill tableware.
To qualify for the competition, chefs must be over the age of 23, of Welsh descent or work or study in Wales.
Arwyn Watkins, Culinary Association of Wales president, said: “We are delighted that so many Welsh chefs, both from within and outside of Wales, have entered this year’s competition.
“The calibre of entries is very impressive and it’s healthy for the association to see several new names in the semi-final heats. This competition provides a perfect platform for the best Welsh chefs to showcase their talent and skills.”
The WICC are organised by the CAW and main sponsor is Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government’s department representing the food and drink industry. Other sponsors include Castell Howell, Harlech Foods, Churchill, Koppert Cress, Dick Knives, Roller Grill, MCS Technical Products and Major.