A valleys college has scooped a string of top awards at a national culinary competition after impressing judges with the quality and skills of its learners.
Coleg y Cymoedd has won 19 awards at this year’s Welsh International Culinary Championships – one of the most prestigious hospitality skills events in Wales – including being crowned the country’s ‘Best College’ in recognition of outstanding achievement from the panel of judges.
Organised by the Culinary Association Wales, a partnership of professional chefs and caterers, with the aim of raising the culinary profile of Wales, the Welsh International Culinary Championships provides aspiring chefs and hospitality professionals from across the country with the opportunity to showcase their skills to a board of experts in the industry. 11 Coleg y Cymoedd learners took home awards after the intense competition which took place over three days at the ICC, Newport.
Learners competed in a variety of individual classes such as butchery, Mixology, and knife skills as well as cooking challenges including categories for creating dishes with Welsh produce like beef and lamb. Competitors were awarded gold, silver, or bronze accolades after being assessed on areas including hygiene, taste, flavour, and technical skill shown.
Emily Sellars, a Level 2 Professional Cookery learner at Cymoedd, took home a gold and best in class award for the college for the Welsh Venison Class, alongside a Best in Class and silver award for the Welsh Beef caegory as well as a bronze in the Riso Gallo Risotto challenge.
She said: “I feel surprised, proud and very grateful. I love taking part in competitions like the Welsh International Culinary Championships because I love the adrenaline and the challenges they present. I love being able to bring back medals for myself and my college, as it rewards all of the support that they have given me.”
A mix of Coleg y Cymoedd learners, from those studying Level 1 professional cookery to those on Level 3 courses also scooped awards, with Keziah Elliot (Level 1) and Corey Evans (Level 3), both awarded silver medals for the risotto class, and Dylan Coleman (Level 3), Sahara Swattridge (Level 3), Kayla Thomas (Level 1) and Owen Hillier (Level 1) taking home a bronze in the same category.
Ellie McGuinness and Alysha Nash, both Level 1, were awarded silver in Mixology; Glody Joseph (Level 2), a silver in both the Omelette and Welsh Lamb classes; and Jess Ellis (Level 1), two bronze medals in Modern Cold Desserts and Knife Skills.
Kevin Hall, Catering Lecturer at Coleg y Cymoedd said: “It’s been great to see so many learners across a variety of different levels showcasing their talent and dedication to cookery at the 2024 competition. This year, we saw more Level 1 learners compete than we have before and seeing them perform so well so early in their studies, on par with some of our more experienced chefs, is wonderful to see. All who competed have done themselves and the college proud.”