By Angela Green, Content Executive: Young Ukrainian student wins award for perfect 100% scores at the Welsh International Culinary Championships..
A 17-year-old from Ukraine has achieved perfect 100% scores in two skills competitions at the Welsh International Culinary Championships.
Yuliia Batrak, who lives with her mum Liudmyla and seven-year-old sister Alona, fled their home in Kiev following the Russian invasion of Ukraine just over a year ago. They have now made Colwyn Bay their home.
Yuliia enrolled on a VRQ Level 1 in Hospitality course at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s Coleg Llandrillo campus and was encouraged by her tutor Glennydd Hughes to enter the Welsh International Culinary Championships, organised by the Culinary Association of Wales and hosted by the college.
The decision proved a masterstroke as Yuliia won gold medals, securing a perfect score in both the knife skills for fruit and for vegetables and soup making classes.
To round off her success, she received the overall award at the Welsh International Culinary Championships awards dinner last Thursday night for best live open class competitor.
“In all the years that I have been involved in the industry, I have never known a competitor to compete in skills classes and not drop a point,” said Arwyn Watkins, OBE, president of the Culinary Association of Wales. “Yuliia scored 100 in both skills classes.”
Delighted Yuliia said: “I am so excited because I didn’t think I would win this award. When I entered these competitions, I had to get the gold medals because I have worked so hard.
“I must thank my tutor Glenn because he believed in me from the first day I started.”
Yuliia, whose father and brother are still in Kiev, thanked the people of Wales for welcoming her family. “Everyone is so welcoming to me and supporting Ukraine even though its 1,000 kilometres from the UK,” people here are so kind.”
Yuliia’s tutor Glennydd Hughes Glennydd was thrilled by Yuliia’s success. “I interviewed Yuliia when she arrived here, asked how her English was and gave her a chance. She showed great potential from the beginning and she stays behind to practise after all the students have left.”
Samantha McIlvogue, assistant principal of Coleg Llandrillo, said: “We are delighted that Yuliia has been awarded two perfect scores, particularly as this has never before been achieved in the history of Welsh International Culinary Championships competition.
“Competitions develop skills and build the confidence of our learners and are testimony to the fantastic training delivered by our staff. We are particularly proud of our learners’ achievements, having also won Best College 2023, Best Hygiene Award and Best Commis Chef.”
Yuliia Batrak receives her award from Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales and Arwyn Watkins, OBE, Culinary Association of Wales president.