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Culinary Association of Wales

Gavin goes one better to land National Chef of Wales title

March 1, 2019

There was an early St. David’s Day celebration for Gavin Kellett after he was crowned the National Chef of Wales at the three-day Welsh International Culinary Championships held at Grwp Llandrillo Menai’s Rhos-on-Sea campus.

Kellett, from Crickhowell, who works at The Three Horseshoes Inn, Groesffordd, Brecon, emerged with the nation’s most prestigious culinary title following an exceptional final which saw him fend off a trio of chefs from the Chester Grosvenor.

A finalist last year, the 33-year-old went one better to pip 2018 Junior champion Arron Tye, from Penyffordd, to the crown, with Sam Griffiths, from Wrexham, in third and another 2018 finalist, Matt Ramsdale, from Weston Rhyn, near Oswestry, in fourth.

“I am very surprised to have won,” said Kellett. “It has been very hectic over the last three or four days preparing for this so to have won is up there with the best days of my career. I have done well in competitions before, but this is probably the biggest achievement for me.

“I try to do things a bit different with my own twist on classics. I wasn’t going to enter any more competitions after this, but I will have to change my mind now! I have to thank my wife who was with me today and also my work for allowing me the time off to enter. I am delighted.” 

The four chefs were tasked with creating a three-course meal for four people using mostly Welsh products. The starter had to be vegan with the main course consisting of two different cuts of Welsh beef and a dessert including chocolate as a main ingredient.

Kellett impressed the four judges by opening with a Waldolf Salad starter consisting of poached celeriac, burnt apple and walnut bread, followed by a main course of Butty Bach glazed fillet of Welsh beef, braised oxtail, Menai oyster, baked potato foam, beef dripping carrots and grain crust. His dazzling finale was a dessert of Coco Pzazz dark chocolate and Penderyn Whiskey cheesecake with peanuts, Welsh honeycomb, and Halen Mon salted caramel.

As well as the prestigious dragon trophy, Kellett will be invited to a study tour hosted by Koppert Cress in the Netherlands. He also received £250 worth of Churchill products and an engraved set of knives made by Friedr Dick.

For Tye, it was an impressive runners-up finish after landing the Junior Welsh Chef title in 2018.

The 23-year-old launched his final with a smoked quinoa starter with saffron, spiced textures of brassicas and pan fried king oyster mushroom. His main course of charcoal crusted beef fillet with a sticky beef cheek, creamy pomme mousseline and a rich jus was followed by a dessert of a crisp tart case, bruleed yuzu, infused dark chocolate, light and creamy sorbet, pistachio textures and orange.

His Chester Grosvenor colleague, Griffiths, 24, prepared a Halen Mon Pineapple with green ‘mole’, chili and coriander, followed by a main course of Welsh Black fillet, veal sweetbread bon bons, Purple Moose silver skins, and roasted bone marrow. He finished with Da Mhile Oren with salted chocolate cremeux, ice beetroot and pistachio.

Ramsdale, 26, another chef plying his trade at the Chester Grosvenor, prepared a red salad starter with beets, blackberry, rhubarb and wild herbs. His main course of Welsh Black beef with burnt onion, kidney and Pen-Lon ale and ‘HP sauce’ was followed by a 70% and Halon Mon dessert with salted dark chocolate delice, muscovado, banana and lime.

The final brought the curtain down on three successful days of competitions at the Welsh International Culinary Championships, which welcomed hundreds of chefs and front of house staff to compete under one roof. 

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

The awards were presented at a dinner held at the Llandudno Bay Hotel last night (Thursday). It was organised by the Culinary Association of Wales, and president, Arwyn Watkins, praised the level of competition over the three days.

The main sponsor for the event was Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government’s department representing the food and drink industry.  

Other sponsors included Meat Promotion Wales/Hybu Cig Cymru, Castell Howell, Major International, Harlech Foods, H. N. Nuttall, Churchill, MCS Tech, Rollergrill, Koppertcress and Dick Knives.

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Going one better: Gavin Kellett on his way to becoming the 2019 National Chef of Wales winner.

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All smiles: Gavin Kellett receives the trophy from Arwyn Watkins, OBE, president of the Culinary Association of Wales.

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2019 National Chef of Wales, Gavin Kellett.

For more information, please contact Arwyn Watkins, Culinary Association of Wales president, on Tel: 01938 555893 or David Williams, publicity officer, on Tel: 079 54 106604.

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