Talented Mid Wales chef Sam Everton has chalked off a bucket list wish by becoming the new Junior Chef of Wales.
Sam, 25, a lecturer at Coleg Ceredigion in Cardigan and part-time junior sous chef at Y Seler, Aberaeron, said he felt “honoured” to receive the dragon trophy after competing against seven other young Welsh chefs in the final.
The final was held at the successful Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC), organised by the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) over three days at the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales), Newport.
After receiving the trophy and a gold medal from Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths at the awards dinner last night (Wednesday), Sam said: “I knew I did well in the final but I never imagined I was going to win.
“What an honour to represent Wales again to show that I am the best in my field. All the hard work and training has paid off. Winning this competition was in my bucket list and it’s a huge achievement.”
Sam, whose commis chef was one of his students, Tyler Richardson from Y Seler, has previously competed for Wales and the UK in WorldSkills competitions around the world.
He plans to compete for the National Chef of Wales next year, as he bids to become the first chef to win the two titles in consecutive years since Danny Burke.
In the final, Sam cooked a starter of potato salad comprising laverbread gnocchi, infused root vegetables, Caerphilly cheese, toasted turnip top and watercress veloute.
His main course was a celebration of Welsh Beef with locally sourced sirloin, braised beef cheek, textures of mushroom and onion and truffled beef reduction.
Sam will now compete in the semi-final of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ 2024 UK Young National Chef of the Year competition. He will also be invited to attend the Worldchefs Congress and Expo to be held at ICC Wales in May, 2026. He also won a set of engraved Friedr Dick competition knives and £100 of Churchill products.
Runner-up and silver medallist was Ged Jones, chef de partie at Carden Park Hotel, near Chester who lives in Connahs Quay, in his first competition.
Other silver medallists were Katie Duffy, chef at The Halfway, Llanelli; Rhys Yorath, chef de partie at Llanerch Vineyard, Hensol; Dylan Evans, commis chef at Henrock, Windermere and Rosie Koffer, chef de partie at Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen, Llanidloes.
Bronze medallists were Aizel Reyes, commis chef at The Celtic Collection, Newport and Abbie Williams, a learner at Coleg y Cymoedd’s Nantgarw Campus.
The junior chefs had three hours to cook a creative, two course dinner for six people, with a starter suitable for a vegetarian diet and a main course using two different cuts of GI Welsh Beef. A minimum of four Welsh GI products had to be used in the dishes.
CAW vice president and judging panel chairman Colin Gray congratulated all the finalists. “They are the future of our industry and are all winners in our eyes for having the courage to compete,” he said.
Headline sponsors of the WICC are the Welsh Government, Castell Howell, Hybu Cig Cymru/ Meat Promotion Wales, ICC Wales, Cambrian Training Company, Kentaur, Churchill, MCS Technical Products, Roller Grill, Radnor Hills, Dick Knifes, Cygnet Gin, Capital Cuisine, City & Guilds, Compass Cymru and Ecolab.
Sam Everton holds the dragon trophy aloft to celebrate winning the Junior Chef of Wales final.
Junior Chef of Wales winner Sam Everton receives the dragon trophy from Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths and CAW president Arwyn Watkins, OBE.