The eight semi-finalists that will compete in the National Chef of Wales contest have been announced.
This stage of the Welsh competition will whittle down the participants to four, with these finalists going on to take part in the overall final for a chance to be crowned National Chef of Wales.
The contest will give the chefs three hours to cook a three-course meal using an original menu, and will take the form of two heats, with the winners and first runner up of each heat going through to the final at the Welsh International Culinary Championships 2016 at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea, Colwyn Bay on Thursday, February 18, 2016.
The awards will finally be presented at a championship presentation dinner at the Llandudno Bay hotel, Llandudno, on the same evening by Wales' deputy minister for farming and food Rebecca Evans, and the winner will automatically go through to the UK semi-finals of the prestigious National Chef of the Year contest.
The chefs taking part are:
Dion Jones (pictured), head chef at the Lion and Pheasant hotel, Shrewsbury
Benjamin Taylor, head chef, Lucknam Park hotel and spa, Colerne
Thomas Westerland, chef de partie, Lucknam Park hotel and spa, Colerne
John Quill, owner, JQ Catering Services, Cardiff
Andreas Leisinger, senior sous chef, St Georges hotel, Llandudno
Jack Davison, sous chef at Deganwy Quay hotel and spa, Deganwy
Nicholas Collins, director of Grate Catering and the Pickled Radish @ the Laleston Inn near Bridgend Nathan Davies, head chef of the Belle Vue Royal hotel, Aberystwyth
Jones, Quill, Westerland, and Leisinger will go up against each other first, and the second heat will challenge the other four. Jones was the first British chef to win the International Escoffier Challenge Grand Final in France in 2012, while Deganwy was runner up in the contest two years ago.
The judges will be chairman John Retallick, Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) secretary; Colin Gray, chef patron of Capital Cuisine and CAW vice president; Michael Bates, executive chef at the Celtic Manor, Newport; Shaun Bailey, senior chef lecturer at NPTC Newtown campus; and Eric Bruce, chef patron at Restaurant Severn, Ironbridge.
The Welsh International Culinary Championships will also challenge four finalists for the Junior Chef of Wales: James Corbett, commis chef at Llangoed Hall, Llyswen, near Brecon; Benjamin Mitchell, commis chef at the Grove, Narberth; Joshua Hughes, chef de partie at Deganwy Quay Hotel, Deganwy; and Aaron Griffith, chef de partie at St Georges Hotel, Llandudno. The winner of this will also go through to the UK semi-finals of the National Junior Chef of the Year contest.
The Culinary Association of Wales organises the contests, while the main sponsor is Welsh government organisation Food and Drink Wales.
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