Iain Sampson, head chef at Peterstone Court Country House in Llanhamlach, has been named the Best Chef in Wales.
Sampson won a tense cook-off yesterday (16 February) to take the title in the National Chef of Wales final, which is organised by the Welsh Culinary Association.
Held every two years and sponsored by the Welsh Assembly and Hybu Cig Cymru (the industry organisation for the promotion and marketing of meat in Wales), the final was held on the first day of the Welsh International Culinary Championships at Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, Rhos-on-Sea.
As the winner, Sampson collected a £2,000 cash prize, while runner up Chris Owen from the Castle hotel in Conwy received £1,000. The remaining two finalists, Luke Thomas, a 16-year-old student at Connah's Quay High School, and Jim Hamilton from Fairyhill hotel in Swansea were awarded bronze medals
Sampson, who began his cooking career at the Ritz in London, said he was "really chuffed" to have won the title.
He said: "It's a great hour to become National Chef of Wales. I have done a lot of competitions in the past but haven't competed for 10 years. It was almost the last chance for me at the age of 42."
The finalists were asked to cook a four-course dinner for four in three hours from a mystery box of ingredients.
Sampson's winning menu comprised a starter of galantine of guinea fowl with pancetta, artichoke and mushroom; followed by a fennel and saffron soup with red mullet. The main course was cutlet, shoulder and kidney of Welsh lamb with potato purée and confit of root vegetables; while dessert was dark chocolate fondant with banana and ginger ice cream and passion fruit syrup.
By Kerstin Kühn
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