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A period of significant progress was reported at the bi-general meeting of the Culinary Association of Wales when key lead roles were secured for the next two years.

Hosting of the WorldChefs’ European conference in Wales for the first time, a new structure for the Culinary Team Wales, closer links with the Welsh food and drink industry and a new three-year partnership with Grwp Llandrillo Menai, which sees the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC) and the Junior Culinary Team Wales remain based at the Rhos-on-Sea campus, were highlights.

President Arwyn Watkins and national treasurer Toby Beevers were both re-elected for an additional two-year term at the meeting, held at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport. However, a vacancy remains on the board for a national secretary, with the association hopeful the post can be filled from the membership.

Also re-elected were vice president and chair of Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC) judges, Colin Gray, Culinary Team Wales captain, Danny Burke, junior team coach, Michael Evans, external activities lead, Michael Bates, education and skills lead, Christopher Bason and Chefs without Borders ambassador, Gareth Johns.

Mr Watkins reported that Culinary Team Wales manager Peter Fuchs had resigned from the post due to work commitments at the Celtic Manor Resort and he thanked him for establishing a new team structure.

The role of team manager will be replaced by a team logistics manager and Mr Beevers volunteered for the post but said he first needed to find a successor to co-ordinate the WICC at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea as culinary committee chairman.

Regional committees for South, Mid and North Wales were replaced by a national committee and Mr Watkins stressed that it was important that members took on specific roles and responsibilities.

“When I finish my term as president, I want to ensure that there is a legacy across the whole of the association,” he said. “It’s important that we have succession planning.”

He revealed that the CAW had signed a new three-year partnership with Grwp Llandrillo Menai, which will see the WICC and the Junior Culinary Team Wales remain based at the Rhos-on-Sea campus.

He stressed that the CAW was the official voice of chefs and the catering industry within Wales and had grown organically to 260. Fees were frozen for another two years and the association is to investigate ways to further enhance membership benefits.

Mr Watkins said the CAW had developed significant links with the Welsh food and drink industry in the past two years and 

now played a significant role as ambassadors within the Wales Food and Drink Tourism Strategy. In future, the Culinary Team Wales would be followed by a Welsh food and drink showcase when it competed.

With the support of the Welsh Government and Visit Wales, the CAW had secured the WorldChefs’ European conference at the Celtic Manor Resort, which was a major achievement, he added.

Next competition being considered by the senior Culinary Team Wales is La Parade des Chefs at Hotelympia, London in March, 2018. If the team enters, the Junior Culinary Team Wales will compete in the Battle for the Dragon at the WICC next February.

Mr Watkins also announced that there was a possibility of the CAW being asked to lead on two skills competitions in Wales next year, which could be combined with the WICC.

Anyone interested in the vacant positions at the CAW is asked to contact either Mr Watkins at president@welshculinaryassociation.com or Mr Beevers at treasurer@welshculinaryassociation.com

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Arwyn Watkins, Culinary Association of Wales president.

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