Josh beats stiff competition to become the new National Chef of Wales

The new National Chef of Wales is 28-year-old Josh Morris, senior sous chef Palé Hall Hotel, Llandderfel, Bala.

The former Junior Chef of Wales finalists, who is originally from Porthcawl, edged out eight rivals from across Wales in a high quality final to win the coveted dragon trophy, presented by Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths.

The presentation at the Welsh International Culinary Championships awards dinner last night (Wednesday) after three days of hospitality and butchery skills competitions at the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales), Newport, organised by the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW).

“I didn’t expect that at all because the competition was so strong,” said an elated Josh, whose commis chef was Robin Evans, pastry chef at Palé Hall. “It means a lot to me because it puts my name out there a bit more.

“To be honest, I didn’t have the time for a lot of practice which meant that I just went into it blind. Having said that, I was very happy with my dishes.

“I was going to enter the competition for the last two years but I wasn’t ready in 2022 after being out of the kitchen for so long due to the pandemic and then the final clashed with my girlfriend’s birthday last year.”

Josh’s starter was confit of Pembrokeshire potatoes, hay, truffle and baked potato dash. Main course was roasted Gower salt marsh lamb, lamb shoulder and Welsh leek hot pot, cavolo nero and black garlic tapenade. Dessert was white chocolate and meadowsweet parfait, cinnamon and Denbigh plums.

For winning the competition, Josh has earned an invitation to attend the Worldchefs Congress and Expo, which will be held at ICC Wales in May, 2026. He also received a set of engraved Friedr Dick competition knives and £250 of Churchill products.

Runner-up was Harry Paynter-Roberts, sous chef at Carden Park Hotel and Spa, Chester, who won a silver medal.

Other silver medallists were 2014 winner Ryan Jones, head chef at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff who also won the award for best starter and Wayne Barnard, junior sous chef at Benito Luis, Caerleon, who won the award for best dessert.

Bronze medallists were Jamie Tully, executive chef Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen, Llanidloes; Will Richards, training officer with Cambrian Training Company from Pontyclun; Rebekah Wright, sous chefs at The Celtic Manor/The Celtic Collection, Newport; Matthew Owen, head chef at The Celtic Manor, Newport and Angharad Rockall, head chef at Heronston Hotel and Spa, Bridgend.

“All the chefs did amazingly well in a high standard final,” said Colin Gray, CAW vice president and judging panel chairman. “We should also not forget the commis chefs because they competed as teams of two.”

The chefs were challenged to cook a three-course menu for 12 people featuring six Welsh GI products. Their menus had to include a vegan starter followed by a main course using two different cuts of GI Welsh Lamb and a dessert featuring Denbigh plums, ice cream, chocolate and biscuit or tuille.

The WICC’s headline sponsors are the Welsh Government, Castell Howell, Hybu Cig Cymru / Meat Promotion Wales, ICC Wales, Cambrian Training Company, Kentaur, Churchill, MCS Technical Products, Roller Grill, Radnor Hills, Dick Knifes, Cygnet Gin, Capital Cuisine, Ecolab, City & Guilds and Compass Cymru.

Picture caption:

National Chef of Wales winner Josh Morris celebrates with the dragon trophy.

National Chef of Wales winner Josh Morris receives the dragon trophy from Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths and Culinary Association of Wales president Arwyn Watkins, OBE.


Notes for Editor:

National Chef of Wales Final menus:

Wayne Barnard’s starter was Welsh filo pastry, leek and saffron potato canelloni. Main course of Rhug Estate Denbigh salt marsh lamb cannon. Dessert: dark chocolate parfait and chocolate Denbigh plum sponge.

Rebekah Wright: Starter of mushroom, muso, burnt onion puree, laverbread beurre blanc. Main course celebration of Welsh produce: Duo of lamb Pembrokeshire potato, leek, pea and ham bon bon and black garlic. Dessert was dark chocolate terrine, spiced Denbigh plums, yoghurt ice cream, biscotti, cocoa tuille and honeycomb.

Angharad Rockall’s starter was smoked braised leek, sorrel and hazelnut pesto, vegan cheese fritter and hazelnut butter. Main course was salt aged rack of lamb, braised lamb faggot, Wye Valley asparagus, wild asparagus chervil emulsion, potato fondant and summer savoury puree. Dessert was Denbigh plum tart, shortbread biscuit base, plum jam, frangipane, creme patisserie, fresh plums and chocolate curls.

Ryan Jones’s starter was Coronation chicken terrine of banana blossom, plant based bacon and apricot. Main: Sirloin of Welsh Lamb with laverbread and cockle, braised neck, Caerphilly cheese gratin, sticky red cabbage and red wine jus. Dessert was confit of Denbigh plum, sable Breton, chocolate ganache and hazelnut ice cream.

Matt Owen’s starter was Jerusalem artichoke and wild mushroom tartlet, chanterelles, mushroom powder, caramelised onion, cashew nut and nutritional yeast, parmesan and black truffle. Main course was herb crusted Welsh rack of lamb, lamb sweetbread, caper raisin, butternut squash, Welsh leek, caper and laverbread, sea fennel and lamb jus. Dessert was Denbigh plums, citrus zest and aromatics, caramelised white chocolate, fennel sable and cinnamon ice cream.

Jamie Tully’s starter was PGI Welsh leek and laverbread mosaic, cashew cream, sweet and sour onions, Welsh cider, leek Nham Jim dressing. Main course was loin of PGI Welsh Lamb, glazed lamb's heart and kidney faggot, lamb's fat duchess potatoes with PGI Caerphilly cheese, Provencal vegetables and lamb bone jus. Dessert was Chartists broken vanilla cheesecake with PGI malt whiskey, Denbigh plums and caramac ice cream.

William Richards’ starter was miso roasted celeriac, pressed apple, pickled cucumber, borage, girole mushroom, Welsh autumn truffle and celeriac cream, hazelnut, chive oil, nasturtium, aged sweet sherry vinegar gel and mushroom tuille.
Main course was roasted lamb loin, leek mousse, morrell farce, braised lamb neck, savoury granola, fresh pea, sour cream, horseradish and lovage gel tartlet, lovage emulsion, lamb fat cooked salsify, carrot puree, pickled heritage carrot and lamb sauce. Dessert was Denbigh plums and chocolate.

Harry Paynter Roberts’ starter was sunflower seed porridge with wild mushrooms, Jerusalem artichoke, savoury granola and spring onion. Main course was roast saddle of lamb and sticky neck tartlet with sheep's curd, turnip and preserved wild garlic sala verde. Dessert was Denbigh plum delice topped with a chocolate cremeux, roasted plums, plum gin, chocolate sauce and cardamom and salt ice cream.

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