Thomas Herbert of Lucknam Park wins National Chef of Wales 2022

25 February 2022 by
Thomas Herbert of Lucknam Park wins National Chef of Wales 2022

Thomas Herbert, chef de partie at Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa in Chippenham, has been crowned National Chef of Wales.

The 24-year-old, who is from Bridgend, beat four rival chefs in a three-day cook-off at the Welsh International Culinary Championships.

He was presented with his trophy on Thursday (24 February) and his prize includes £1,000, a set of Friedr Dick knives, £250 worth of Churchill products and the chance to represent Wales at the next Worldchefs Global Chefs Challenge Northern European heat.

He is the third chef in six years from Lucknam Park to win the National Chef of Wales title, following on from Ben Taylor in 2016 and Thomas Westerland in 2018.

Silver medallist was Andrew Tabberner, 29, chef co-owner of Gaerwen Arms, Gaerwen, Anglesey, who won £500.

Robert Cave, 38, from Wrexham, senior sous chef at Rookery Hall, Worleston, Nantwich, took the bronze medal and received £300.

The other bronze medallists were Matthew Smith, 38, sous chef at Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen Hotel, Llanidloes, and Wayne Barnard, 39, sous chef at Manor Parc Country Hotel and Restaurant, Thornhill, Cardiff.

"I was very happy with my dishes but I honestly didn't expect to win," said Herbert. "It means a lot to me because I am a proud Welshman and my dream is to eventually come back to Wales and open my own restaurant.

"I am the third chef from Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa to win the National Chef of Wales title which shows the Hywel Jones is putting his time into us and producing a great calibre of chef. I owe this win to him and also my commis chef Jamaar Semper who helped me in the final."

The finalists had five hours to prepare and cook their own four course menu for 12 people, featuring mostly Welsh ingredients. A vegan starter was followed by a fish dish, a main course using two different cuts of Welsh Lamb and a dessert featuring seasonal fruits, ice cream, chocolate and biscuit or tuille.

Herbert cooked a vegan baked potato gnocchi with cep and Welsh truffle and a starter of Anglesey sea bass with lavabread and cucumber. Main course was a duo of Welsh Lamb with spiced carrot and yoghurt and his menu was completed by chocolate cremeux with pear.

Colin Gray, judging panel chairman and managing director of Capital Cuisine in Caerphilly, said: "Thomas' dishes were exceptional, full of flavour using modern cooking and presentation techniques which is what we are looking for. It's a good example of how fine cuisine has developed and come of age.

"For someone so young to be competing and winning against more experienced chefs is very impressive."

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