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Junior Chef of Wales is Ben Mitchell of the Grove

16 February 2016 by
Junior Chef of Wales is Ben Mitchell of the Grove

Ben Mitchell, demi chef de partie at the Grove in Narbeth, Pembrokeshire, has won the Junior Chef of Wales title.

He triumphed in the final of the competition, in which he prepared a three-course meal for four people, within three hours.

His winning menu opened with a starter of scallops with textures of leek, fennel salad and a hazelnut beurre noisette; continued with Parmesan crusted lamb with a rocket and broccoli purée, tenderstem broccoli and a balsamic jus; and finished with a dessert of warm apple compote with candied almonds, arlette and a cinnamon mousse.

"I'm overwhelmed and shocked because I wasn't expecting it," said Mitchell, 19. "It's amazing to have won and I would like to thank the whole team at the Grove, especially head chef Peter Whaley, who was my commis chef for the final."

Mitchell's three fellow finalists included James Corbett, commis chef at Llangoed hotel, Llyswen, near Brecon; Josh Hughes, chef de partie at Deganwy Quay hotel, Deganwy; and Aaron Griffith, chef de partie at St George's Hotel, Llandudno.

Organised by the Culinary Association of Wales, the final was held during the Welsh International Culinary Championships at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea.

Judges for the events included Hywel Jones of Lucknam Park hotel and spa, near Bath; Will Holland, Coast restaurant, Saundersfoot; Shaun Hill, the Walnut Tree, near Abergavenny; Mike Evans, Junior Culinary Team Wales coach; and John Retallick, Culinary Association of Wales secretary.

Mitchell, who now qualifies for the UK semi-finals of the National Junior Chef of the Year contest, will spend a week with head chef Gareth Ward at Ynyshir Hall, near Machynlleth, and has received a set of knives from Dick Knives.

The National Chef of Wales final will take place on Thursday, when the competitors will include Benjamin Taylor, head chef, Lucknam Park hotel and spa; Thomas Westerland, chef de partie, Lucknam Park hotel and spa; Jack Davison, sous chef, Deganwy Quay hotel and spa, Deganwy; and Nathan Davies, head chef, Belle Vue Royal hotel, Aberystwyth.

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