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Dragan supports Wales with Worldchefs Congress bid

February 21, 2018 

Wales’ bid to host the Worldchefs Congress in 2024 is being supported by the organisation’s continental director for Northern Europe.

Dragan Unic, from Sweden, said he hoped Wales’ bid would be successful and praised the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) for hosting a very successful European chefs’ conference at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport last May. 

The CAW is keen to bring the global event to the new International Convention Centre at the Celtic Manor Resort. They are both working with the Welsh Government on the ‘Team Wales’ bid.

“I think Wales is on the right track to become a culinary destination,” said Mr Unic. “After years of not being on the world culinary map, people are starting to talk about Wales.

“We had our European chefs’ conference here last year and I do my best to push for Wales in any way I can. It will be great if Wales can hold the Worldchefs Congress because it will be in my region.

“Member countries like to attend a well organised congress and we know that Wales can deliver. There was a real buzz following the European conference in Wales, especially from countries that were unable to attend.

“I love Wales and hope to return with my wife to see more of the country.”

Mr Unic was in Wales as a guest of the CAW to judge at the Welsh International Culinary Championships at Gr?p Llandrillo Menai’s, Rhos-on-Sea campus last week.

He presented CAW and president Arwyn Watkins with the Worldchefs Continental Director’s Culinary Friendship Award. 

It was his third visit to the event and he was impressed by the progress made by competitors.

“I have seen the amazing progress made by students over the past three years,” he said. “The thing I enjoy the most is seeing the progression of young people.

“I am particularly impressed by the progress made by the Junior Culinary Team Wales. They have moved to a totally different level since last year and I think the team has great potential.” 

At last year’s WICC, he picked out a young chef, Sarah Davies, for special mention and invited her to travel to Sweden to gain experience working in his business.

Although she had been unable to take up the invitation, Mr Unic was pleased to see that she was now a member of Junior Culinary Team Wales. “The development that she has made in one year is totally amazing,” he added. “She’s a fantastic young chef.” 

Two years ago, he selected Faye Norris as the stand out competitor and she has just returned to England to work at the Moat House, Stafford after spending eight months working in his business. 

This year’s WICC attracted 370 competitors over four days and brought together all of Wales culinary competitions in the same venue for the first time.

In addition to the National and Junior Chef of Wales finals, the Battle for the Dragon contest and Cake Cymru, the culinary finals of Skills Competition Wales and the Major International Regional Competition were held.

“It totally makes sense that all the competitions are held at the WICC because it exposes the competitors to networking opportunities and enables them to engage with employers,” said CAW president Arwyn Watkins. “They are showcasing their skills like they would in a real-life situation.”

The main WICC awards were presented at a dinner held at the Llandudno Bay Hotel, Llandudno, which was attended by Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs. 

The winners were: The results were: Junior Chef of Wales, Arron Tye, Carden Park, Chester. National Chef of Wales, Tom Westerland, Lucknam Park, Colerne, Chippenham. Battle fort the Dragon, England national junior team. Best static display, Hefin Roberts, executive chef at Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, near Conwy. Best in show live classes, Chloe Lloyd Hughes, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College. Best team live, Loughborough College. Ecolab award for best overall hygiene excellence, Sophie Atter, Coventry College. Eric Bruce Award for best junior, Ellie Butler, Shrewsbury College. Best college, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College. 

The WICC is organised by the CAW and main sponsor is Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government’s department representing the food and drink industry. 

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.Judges-2018.gif

Dragan Unic (left) with fellow judges of the Junior Chef of Wales final Nick Davies, Michael Evans, Danny Burke and Colin Gray.

 Arron-with-Dragan.jpg

Junior Chef of Wales winner Arron Tye with Dragan Unic.

 Arwyn-and-Dragan.jpg

Dragan Unic (right) presents the Worldchefs Continental Director’s Culinary Friendship Award to Arwyn Watkins, Culinary Association of Wales president.

 North-Warks-and-Hinckley.jpg

North Warwickshire and Hinckley College receive the award for best college from Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs.

 Ellie-Butler.jpg

Ellie Butler from Shrewsbury College with the Eric Bruce Award for best junior.

 Loughborough-College.jpg

Loughborough College, winners of the best team live award.

 Chloe-Lloyd-Hughes.jpg

Chloe Lloyd Hughes from North Warwickshire and Hinckley College with the award for best in show in the live classes.

 Hefin-Roberts.jpg

Hefin Roberts, executive chef at Bodnant Welsh Food Centre, with the award for best static display.

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.

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