Ben Taylor, head chef of the Michelin-starred Lucknam Park hotel and spa near Bath, has won the National Chef of Wales competition.
Taylor, who is from Newcastle Emlyn, will now go on to represent Wales in the semi-finals of the UK National Chef of the Year contest.
He has also won an all expenses paid one-week culinary trip to the Netherlands, courtesy of Koppertcress and Paul da Costa Greaves. This will include an ‘inspirational day' with a cress coach, a place in two Michelin-starred restaurants in North Amsterdam and South Rotterdam, a set of knives courtesy of Dick Knives, £250 worth of products from Churchill China, and Gourmet Classic shopping vouchers.
Taylor triumphed over competitors Thomas Westerland from Cardiff, who is the chef de partie at Lucknam Park; Jack Davison from Deganwy Quay hotel and spa; and Nathan Davies from Aberystwyth. The chefs had three hours to cook a three-course menu for four, and were required to use shellfish in their starter, Welsh venison in the main course, and rhubarb for dessert.
The winning menu included a starter of poached tail of Welsh lobster, claw tortellini, soy and ginger broth; a main course of hickory-smoked loin of venison with faggot, mushroom purée, glazed onions and Savoy cabbage; and dessert with caramelised banana soufflé, banana yogurt ice-cream, salted toffee popcorn and butter chocolate sauce.
The final marked the end of the four-day Welsh International Culinary Championships, held at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea, and organised by the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW).
This year was the first time the contest had been opened to Welsh-born chefs working outside the country, which allowed Taylor and Westerland to enter.