Major Series returns to the Welsh International Culinary Championships
After the success and popularity of the Major heats at last year’s Welsh International Culinary Championships, we returned for a second year to see another talented Welsh contestant go forward to the Major Series final in 2020.
Over February half term, teams from all over England and Wales once again gathered in the halls of Coleg Llandrillo for the 25th annual Welsh International Culinary Championships. Consisting of three intense days of competition, the WICC is a chance for students to compete against their peers and demonstrate their abilities in front of an international audience, including judges from the Culinary Association of Wales, World Association of Chefs and other high profile chef organisations. “Part of the reason we started this competition was to not only raise the profile of the industry but also to make connections between the industry and suppliers. We like to give the event a competitive edge with competitions like the inter-college challenge to encourage the students to improve on their entries when the come back next year and its so rewarding to see them do that year on year,” says Arwyn Watkins, President of the Culinary Association of Wales.
2019 was our second year supporting the competition and the students were able to compete in three classes from the Major Series, Major Restaurant Skills, the Major Street Food Challenge and the Major Chicken Challenge. Stuart Mcleod, Chairman of the British Culinary Federation, judged several heats of the Major Street Food Challenge and Chicken Challenge over the three days of the competition and was incredibly impressed by the standard and professionalism shown by the students. “The student’s use of the Major products, especially in the Street Food Challenge has been very good. We’ve seen lots of marinating and sticky sauces using the Korean Mari Base and they’ve also experimented with some of the new products, which really seems to have paid off.”
We spoke to several of the students over the course of the three days and they were all really positive about the Major products. Alice Yeoman, who competed in all three of our events, said, “I really look forward to this competition coming around each year because it gives me and the college the chance to try something new. We got loads of samples sent to us and it was nice to try different dishes with some of the products that I hadn’t considered using. It wasn’t until the last minute that I decided to use the Cherry and Clementine Fruit Base Compounds in my cocktail for the Restaurant Skills Challenge but adding the Clementine just gave it that something extra so I had to put them both in.”
However, at the end of the week, it was announced that Rebecca Williams from Coleg yn Cymoedd was the lucky winner of the Chicken Challenge meaning that she will progress to the final at Hotelympia in 2020 where she will compete against the other regional winners. “I’ve really enjoyed incorporating the Major products into my dishes and the Honey, Lemon and Mustard Mari Base was just what I was looking for when I was practicing my chicken dish. It really complimented the earthy flavours of my forestiere sauce and the Bombay Mari Base worked really well in my onion bhajis for the Street Food Challenge,” said Rebecca earlier in the day. Not only did she do so well in the Chicken Challenge it was also announced at the awards ceremony that she had won Best in Class for the Street Food Challenge, a fantastic achievement considering this is only her first time doing a competition.
The final result for us to announce is that Matthew Batho from North Warwickshire and Hinckley College was the lucky winner of the Restaurant Skills Challenge. We would like to say a massive congratulations to all of the students who competed at this years WICC and with the competition getting bigger every year, we can’t wait to see what they will bring to the table at the 2020 competition.