By Angela Green
Earlier this week, 12 young hospitality professionals competed for the title of Welsh champion in the Wales regional round of World Young Chef Young Waiter (YCYW) competition, held in Swansea by University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD).
The competition, hosted by UWTSD and supported by primary sponsors Compass Cymru and Swansea.com Stadium took place on 10-11 September at the university’s SA1 Waterfront Campus and the Swansea.com stadium.
After meeting fellow competitors and undertaking a day of workshops, on the second morning chef contestants had just four hours to prepare a three-course lunch from scratch to a table of discerning judge-guests, while waiter contestants prepared the dining room, answered questions from judges and had to serve the meal and accompanying beverages smoothly.
The results were announced at a gala dinner later that evening at the Swansea.com stadium, after a raffle for the competition’s charity partner The Burnt Chef Project raised over £1,000 to support mental health in the Hospitality industry.
The winning chef was Sam Everton, who is a Hospitality lecturer at Coleg Ceredigion and works in the kitchen at Y Seler in Aberaeron part time, and the winning waiter was Carys Webster, who is a Chef-de-Rang (section waiter) at Grove of Narberth.
In second place was chef Alex Dunham and waiter Adele Sutherland, and in third place was chef Ellie Osborne and waiter Robbie Hughes. The competition was extremely close this year, with the judges commending all the contestants for the skills they exhibited over the course of the two days.
Dr Jayne Griffith-Parry, Director of Hospitality programmes at UWTSD said: “The YCYW competition is all about educating and supporting young people’s development, whether they are learning in a professional setting or within a Higher Education environment.
“It was fantastic to see a student from our International Gastronomy Management programme reach the Welsh final this year, as well as competitors from establishments we have strong links with who provide work placements for our courses. Building professional networks is so important in this industry and it is our pleasure at UWTSD to bring the contestants together for this event and help them expand their potential.”
Winner of the Waiter category, Carys Webster, said, “I’m still in shock after winning YCYW Wales. I came to the competition to expand my knowledge and learn as much as possible, and I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to compete alongside so many amazing people and hear their hospitality stories in the Welsh national round. I don’t think my win will sink in for another few days, but I know I want to do Wales proud at the world finals in Monaco and give it all we can as a team!”
Chef winner Sam Everton said, “When I entered the competition, I only expected some personal development and a bit of fun. Winning was a huge bonus! I’m honoured to be representing Wales on the global stage and very happy to be paired with Carys. I’m looking forward to working with her to deliver world class service and food – hopefully we can bring back-to-back world championship trophies to Wales.”
Jane Byrd, Managing Director of Compass Cymru said of the event: “The Young Chef Young Waiter (YCYW) competition is a truly excellent opportunity for professionals in the hospitality industry in Wales to showcase their skills, and it’s been an honour to support in the judging this year.
“I’ve been blown away by the talent that I’ve seen. The future is bright for all these finalists and I wish them every success.”
The 2023 world finals will be held in Monaco on 23-24 November. Next year’s Welsh regional competition will open next spring for entries from hospitality professionals under the age of 28 who live and work in Wales.
UWTSD offers a range of exciting programmes within tourism, events and hospitality that provide employability opportunities and cutting-edge guest services skills required to succeed in a rapidly expanding global market. All programmes have a strong industry flavour, helping students build outstanding career networks with market leaders around the world.
For more information explore the university’s Hospitality course pages.