Battle for the Dragon cook-off matches Wales against England

Duncan Foulkes Foulkes

Duncan Foulkes Foulkes

Other 13th February 2018

Battle for the Dragon cook-off matches Wales against England

Wales’ young chefs are looking to succeed where the nation’s rugby team failed against England at Twickenham in the Six Nations Championship on Saturday.

The two countries will be going head to head again this week but this time in the heat of the kitchen. The junior national culinary teams from Wales and England compete in the Battle of the Dragon contest at the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC) at Coleg Llandrillo Menai, Rhos-on-Sea tomorrow ( Wednesday) and Thursday, February 14 and 15.

At stake for the winner is national pride and the Dragon Trophy, which has been won in the past by national culinary teams from around the globe, including Sweden, Germany and New Zealand.

The challenge facing the young chefs from both Wales and England is to prepare and cook a three course meal for 90 people. A panel of international chef judges will be keeping a close watch on their work in the kitchen before tasting the dishes.

It’s a huge test for both teams, as they prepare to compete in the world’s top culinary competitions in the future. Since competing in the Culinary Olympics in 2016, where they won two silver medals, Wales have been rebuilding their junior team to replace three members who are now too old to compete as juniors.

Two last minute team changes have had to be made after pastry chef Alys Evans from the Vale Resort, Hensol, broke a leg in a skiing accident and Joe Jones was forced to withdraw due to work commitments.

Team manager Michael Evans, a lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo Menai, where the team is based, has called up Harry Paynter-Roberts, demi chef de parti at Manchester House, Manchester and Catrin Thomas, demi chef de partie at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport.

The new look team is captained by Aarron Tye, chef de partie at Carden Park, Chester and his other teammates are James Whalley, Commis chef at Tyddyn Llan, Corwen and Sarah Davies, chef de partie Hayloft Restaurant, Bodnant.

It promises to be a busy few days for both Tye and Paynter-Roberts as they are also competing in the Junior Chef of Wales final on Monday afternoon.

Wales have chosen a menu that opens with seared scallop, langoustine thermidor, granola, cucumber, piccalilli and seafood espuma. Main course is pork tenderloin wrapped prosciutto, pig’s head bon bon, honey roasted carrots, carrot puree, sprout leaves, apples and parsnip with pork jus. To round off the meal, the dessert is Bramley apple, vanilla ice cream and red wine.

“We are looking forward to showing what we can cook here in Wales and giving a good account of ourselves,” said Evans. “We have gone for flavour with the menu we have chosen and hope the judges like the dishes because taste accounts for 50 per cent of the marks.

“Two of the team competed at the Culinary Olympics, where Wales finished eighth in the world and we are looking to build on that result. I think the team members complement each other well.”

The England team, which is managed by Matthew Shropshall, is captained Edward Marsh and comprises Jack Gameson, Greg Evans, Nathan Lane and Angelina Adamo.

They will be serving up a starter of farmed pan-roasted halibut, langoustine croquette, radish and cucumber salad, Romanesco and langoustine veloute. Main course is venison loin, potato gateaux, fennel puree, cabbage, sweetbread boudin, sautéed wild mushrooms and port sauce.

Dessert is dark chocolate and orange mousse, citrus sponge and iced blood orange.

The Culinary Team Wales is sponsored by the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Wales, Cambrian Training Company, Grwp Llandrillo Menai, Castell Howell Foods, Hybi Cyg Cymru, Harlech Foods and Goodfellows.

The WICC is organised by the Culinary Association of Wales and main sponsor is Food and Drink Wales. Other sponsors include Meat Promotion Wales/Hybu Cig Cymru, Castell Howell, Major International, Harlech Foods, H. N. Nuttall, Churchill, MCS Tech, Rollergrill, Koppertcress and Dick Knives.


For more information, please contact Arwyn Watkins, Culinary Association of Wales president, on Tel: 01938 555893 or Duncan Foulkes, publicity officer, on Tel: 01686 650818