The new National Chef of Wales is 28-year-old Josh Morris, senior sous chef Palé Hall Hotel, Llandderfel, Bala.
The former Junior Chef of Wales finalists, who is originally from Porthcawl, edged out eight rivals from across Wales in a high quality final to win the coveted dragon trophy, presented by Minister for Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths.
The presentation at the Welsh International Culinary Championships awards dinner last night (Wednesday) after three days of hospitality and butchery skills competitions at the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales), Newport, organised by the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW).
“I didn’t expect that at all because the competition was so strong,” said an elated Josh, whose commis chef was Robin Evans, pastry chef at Palé Hall. “It means a lot to me because it puts my name out there a bit more.
“To be honest, I didn’t have the time for a lot of practice which meant that I just went into it blind. Having said that, I was very happy with my dishes.
“I was going to enter the competition for the last two years but I wasn’t ready in 2022 after being out of the kitchen for so long due to the pandemic and then the final clashed with my girlfriend’s birthday last year.”
Josh’s starter was confit of Pembrokeshire potatoes, hay, truffle and baked potato dash. Main course was roasted Gower salt marsh lamb, lamb shoulder and Welsh leek hot pot, cavolo nero and black garlic tapenade. Dessert was white chocolate and meadowsweet parfait, cinnamon and Denbigh plums.
For winning the competition, Josh has earned an invitation to attend the Worldchefs Congress and Expo, which will be held at ICC Wales in May, 2026.He also received a set of engraved Friedr Dick competition knives and £250 of Churchill products.
Runner-up was Harry Paynter-Roberts, sous chef at Carden Park Hotel and Spa, Chester, who won a silver medal.
Other silver medallists were 2014 winner Ryan Jones, head chef at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff who also won the award for best starter and Wayne Barnard, junior sous chef at Benito Luis, Caerleon, who won the award for best dessert.
Bronze medallists were Jamie Tully, executive chef Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen, Llanidloes; Will Richards, training officer with Cambrian Training Company from Pontyclun; Rebekah Wright, sous chefs at The Celtic Manor/The Celtic Collection, Newport; Matthew Owen, head chef at The Celtic Manor, Newport and Angharad Rockall, head chef at Heronston Hotel and Spa, Bridgend.
“All the chefs did amazingly well in a high standard final,” said Colin Gray, CAW vice president and judging panel chairman. “We should also not forget the commis chefs because they competed as teams of two.”
The chefs were challenged to cook a three-course menu for 12 people featuring six Welsh GI products. Their menus had to include a vegan starter followed by a main course using two different cuts of GI Welsh Lamb and a dessert featuring Denbigh plums, ice cream, chocolate and biscuit or tuille.
The WICC’s headline sponsors 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, Ecolab, City & Guilds and Compass Cymru.