Welsh red meat still the choice of champions in culinary contest

The Welsh International Culinary Championships saw 350 talented chefs descend on Rhos on Sea this month.

While many of the top chefs in the blue riband National Chef of Wales contest pushed the boundaries with innovative dishes – including for the first time an all-vegan menu – it was quality Welsh red meat that helped to crown the champions once again.

26-year-old Tom Westerland, Head Chef at Lucknam Park near Bath, walked away with the top prize for a menu including a main course of Welsh Wagyu Beef, beer braised onion, cavolo nero, black trumpette, crispy onion and lapsang souchong.

Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) has long supported the Culinary Association of Wales and its competitions, which invariably feature exquisite dishes of PGI Welsh Lamb, PGI Welsh Beef, and pork from Wales.

“We’re very proud to work with Welsh chefs who are committed to using our iconic national produce,” said HCC’s UK Market Development Executive Emily Davies, who joined Cabinet Secretary Lesley Griffiths and other guests at the champions’ prizegiving ceremony.

“People are eating out more and more,” added Emily, “so it’s important that HCC, as part of its drive to promote top quality lamb, beef and pork from Wales, engages with the huge foodservice sector and with innovative chefs who do so much to set trends which filter down to people’s everyday eating habits.”

Organic pork from north-east Wales was the choice of the victor of the Junior Chef of Wales contest, Arron Tye, as well as being the centrepiece of the Wales junior team’s menu in its ‘Battle for the Dragon’ contest against rivals England; while Welsh Lamb played a starring role in the dishes of Tye’s junior competition rival Thomas Martin, as well as senior competition finalist John Quill.

Culinary Championships finalists and Welsh Senior and Junior team chefs regularly help to promote Welsh meat to consumers at the Royal Welsh Show and other events, as part of HCC’s ongoing partnership with the Culinary Association of Wales.