The Senior and Junior English National Culinary Team and the Senior and Junior Welsh Teams have won a clutch of silver and bronze medals at the Culinary World Cup 2014.
The English senior team picked up a silver medal in the contest's International Buffet (cold) round, and a bronze in the Restaurant of Nations (hot kitchen) session. The Welsh senior team won two bronze medals, one in each section.
Both the English and Welsh junior teams also picked up medals; England took a silver in the Restaurant of Nations and bronze in the Buffet, while the junior Welsh team won a bronze in the cold buffet and a silver in the hot kitchen.
Similarly, BCF members Vipula Athukorale and Stephen Mather won a gold medal in the culinary arts class for works in fat, and a bronze for works in chocolate, respectively.
The 2014 event, sponsored by Villeroy & Boch, took place during the Expogast show in Luxembourg from 22 to 26 November, and featured 30 countries from across Western and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the US and Canada competing against each other.
The English senior team included Simon Hulstone, from Michelin-starred restaurant and brasserie the Elephant, Torquay; Adam Smith, head chef at the Burlington restaurant at the Devonshire Arms Country House Hotel, Yorkshire; Simon Webb from HSBC Bank, London; Andrew Ditchfield, head of pastry at the House of Commons, London; Clark Crawley from foodservice firm Gather & Gather, for Sky in London; and Ben Champkin, chef at L'Enclume, Cartmel.
Also on the English senior team were Nick Vadis, culinary director at Compass Group; Rob Kennedy, executive chef at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst; Matt Jones from the House of Commons; Neil Rankin, group pastry chef at Restaurant Associates; Ben Ford, head chef at Compass Group; Nathan Aldous, sous chef at Emmanuel College, Cambridge; and Javier Mercado, of Le Cordon Bleu Cookery School, London.
They cooked a menu of scallops, oysters and crab with a "salmon truffle" and buttermilk to start; roe deer with onion ash, smoked sweetbreads, lardo, foie gras and Jerusalem artichoke for main; and a British autumn apple tipsy cake with apple mousse, apple brandy jelly, bramble meringue and sorbet for dessert.
Hulstone, who has competed professionally for 24 years, has since said that he intends to retire from taking part in such contests himself, and will instead help mentor and train younger competitors.
The English junior team included Edward Marsh, Jack Gameson, and Luke DCaccia, all from University College Birmingham; Thomas Downes from Claude Bosi's Hibiscus restaurant in London and also from University College Birmingham; Craig Bateman from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, mentored by Gary Goldsmith and Mat Shropshall of University College Birmingham.
Commenting on the contest, Hulstone told The Caterer: "It's a tough competition, but I am very proud of the [English] team and what has been produced in very difficult circumstances."
The Welsh senior team included Sally Owens, lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo; Hefin Roberts, head chef at Ye Olde Bull's Head Inn, Beaumaris; Danny Burke, owner of Shared Olive, Hawarden; Ryan Jones, creative development chef at Fei Foods Limited, Llansamlet; Simon Crockford, head chef from the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport; Leigh Marshall, head chef at Castle Hotel, Conwy.
It also had Gareth Dwyer, chef manager for Baxter Storey from Llanberis; Mark Jones, private family chef in London; Karl Jones-Hughes from the Celtic Manor Resort; Lee Jeynes, executive chef at the RACV Noosa Resort in Queensland, Australia.
The junior Welsh team is coached by Michael Evans, lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea; with Chris Tull, head chef of Signatures Restaurant, Aberconwy; Jonathan Pring and Ffion Lewis from the Celtic Manor Resort; Jack Davidson, demi chef de partie at Coast, Saundersfoot; and chef de partie Joe Jones and pastry chef Etienne Lasalle, both from Carden Park, near Chester.
Welsh team manager Graham Tinsley, executive chef at Carden Park and a director of the Castle Hotel, Conwy, said: "The senior team [is] disappointed with the bronze medals but they are also full of enthusiasm about what they need to do to compete with the best in the world in the future." He added that the junior team had great potential.
The Culinary World Cup, often affectionately dubbed the Culinary Olympics, takes place every four years, featuring 30 senior teams and 15 junior teams. Many other teams from across the various countries take place in the regional competitions, and there are also separate contests on key skills such as pastry.
The teams come together under the British Culinary Federation (BCF), the national member of the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS).
The English teams also thanked their sponsors, including Steelite International; Major International; Electrolux Professional and Continental Chef Supplies, supported by University College Birmingham. The Welsh teams are sponsored by the Welsh Government, Hybu Cig Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales), Churchill; Friedr. Dick, Germany; Brakes; and Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea.