Steffan Davies, a chef at the Michelin-starred Gidleigh Park hotel in Chagford, Devon, has won the Junior Chef of Wales 2017 competition.
Davies, 22, from Llandybie, Ammanford, now goes through automatically to the Young National Chef of the Year semi-final organised by the Master Chefs of Great Britain.
He and three other chefs competed in the final at the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC) on Monday (20 February) at Coleg Llandrillo at Rhos-on-Sea. They had to wait until last night (23 February) to hear the result announced at an awards dinner held at the Llandudno Bay hotel.
Davies' winning menu included a starter of pan-fried scallop, soy and truffle, cauliflower and sorrel cream; a main of Welsh beef fillet, shallot, celeriac, bone marrow crumb and Madeira; and a toffee pudding cake, caramel-poached apple, walnut toffee, chutney and Halen Môn dessert.
Davies also wins a set of F. Dick knives and will spend a week with Michelin-starred head chef Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor hotel.
The other finalists were Harry Paynter-Roberts from the Castle hotel, Conwy; James Corbett from the Elephant and Castle hotel, Newtown; and Harry Osborne from Signatures restaurant, Conwy. Davies was awarded a gold medal, Paynter-Roberts and Osborne bronze medals and Corbett, who was runner up in last year's final, received a merit.
Both Davies and Paynter-Roberts were members of the junior Culinary Team Wales which won two silver medals at the Culinary Olympics last October. They also both competed for Wales at the Battle for the Dragon contest at the WICC on Tuesday (21 February).
Judges included Colin Gray of catering business Capital Cuisine; Shaun Hill, chef-patron of the Walnut Tree Inn in Abergavenny; Stuart McLeod, development director at Zuidam UK; Danny Burke, owner of Olive Tree Catering; and Nick Davies, owner of the Lion hotel Llandinam.
Davies said: "It was a long time to wait for the result and the more I thought about it, the more I thought I didn't win because the standard of the competition was really high. Most of the dishes went to plan and everything went out the way I wanted.
"To end a long year after competing with the Junior Culinary Team at the Olympics and the Battle for the Dragon is unbelievable. I'm so proud to be representing my country and going on the Young National Chef of the Year."
Judge Gray added: "The taste and flavour of the dishes was something that you can be proud of. These chefs are the future of our industry. This is the type of competition to challenge them to better themselves and helps us to spot talent for the Culinary Team Wales."
The WICC are organised by the Culinary Association of Wales and the main sponsor is Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government's department representing the food and drink industry. Other sponsors include Meat Promotion Wales/Hybu Cig Cymru, Castell Howell, Harlech Foodservice, Nuttalls, Churchill, MCS Technical Products, Roller Grill, Koppert Cress and F. Dick Knives.
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