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Welsh chefs face international banquet challenge

A group of 14 senior chefs from across Wales are preparing for a high-pressure final challenge that will see them complete a pioneering qualification. 

If they are successful, they will be the first chefs in the UK to complete the Higher Apprenticeship for Chefs, a higher-level qualification that demonstrates their craft skills and knowledge.

Before they receive their award they must face one last assessment where the chefs must plan, prepare and cook a banquet for 112 people at the International Festival of Business (IFB) 2014 in Liverpool under the watchful eye of expert judges.

The banquet, named the British Chefs Festival of Dinners, will have an international guest list and last two consecutive nights during Food and Drink week at St George’s Hall on July 8 and 9.

The dinners will be officially hosted and judged by the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW), The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, The Craft Guild of Chefs, The British Culinary Association, The Masterchefs of Great Britain and The Federation of Chefs Scotland.

Arwyn Watkins, managing director of Cambrian Training Company and a member of The Culinary Association of Wales, said: “This pioneering qualification is designed to raise skills to the highest level and create the best chefs for wales.

“That’s why it’s essential that we test the skills and knowledge gained by the 14 chefs during the Higher Apprenticeship programme with a final challenge and they don’t come much bigger than the British Chefs Festival of Dinners.”

The Higher Apprenticeship, which has been developed by People 1st  Cymru and supported by the European Social Fund and the Welsh Government, has been tested by the Cambrian Training Company  with chefs across Wales.

It is hoped that the Higher Apprenticeship, which has been developed in full partnerships with chefs and their employers will play a key role in raising the standard of tourism in Wales.

The learning programme has been specifically designed for senior chefs who want to develop their career whilst continuing to focus on food and cooking rather than venturing into management qualifications.

Veronica Burt, project manager at People 1st Cymru, said: “Our research has identified the need for a new career pathway for chefs at senior level. This exciting new qualification will play a key role in developing the recognising [of] high level craft skills of chefs across Wales and help enhance our tourism offer as a nation.”

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