Two new directors have been appointed to help drive forward the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW), the membership organisation that represents Welsh chefs and butchers.
Graham Tinsley, MBE, executive head chef at Carden Park Hotel and Spa, near Chester takes up the new position as culinary director and Kurt Fleming, head chef at Cardiff, is the new financial director in succession to Toby Beevers, who held the post for 10 years.
They join president Arwyn Watkins, OBE, managing director of Welshpool-based Cambrian Training Company, on the CAW board.
Vice president Colin Gray, managing director of Capital Cuisine, Caerphilly, takes over the role as Welsh International Culinary Championships co-ordinator.
Michael Bates, executive head chef at the Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, continues as outside events manager, Donna Heath continues as National Sustainability Champion and Chris Jones continues as Craft Butchery Team Wales co-ordinator.
Harri Williams, chef at Carden Park Hotel and Spa, take on a new role of social events co-ordinator.
The CAW has decided to make membership free to chefs who were either born in Wales or who work or live in Wales.
Mr Watkins said the CAW faced a busy year on the international stage. The Junior Culinary Team Wales will be competing at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg in November and Craft Butchery Team Wales will be making its debut at the World Butchery Challenge in Sacramento, California in September.
A CAW delegation recently attended the Worldchefs Congress 2022 in Abu Dhabi where Harry Paynter-Roberts, 24, sous chef at Carden Park Hotel and Spa was sixth in the Global Young Chefs Challenge Final and Sam Griffiths, senior sous chef at the Chester Grosvenor in Chester, was 16th in the Global Chefs Challenge Final.
A special event is being planned to celebrate the 30th birthday of the CAW in June 2023.
Mr Tinsley, a former captain and manager of Culinary Team Wales, says he is looking forward to the new challenge as culinary director. He was recently inducted as a Disciple of Escoffier, one of only 70 in the UK.
A distinguished career has taken him to North Wales via some of top hotels in the UK and Europe, including the Midland Hotel, Manchester and The Dorchester, London where he worked under Anton Mosimann.
He was awarded the Gilbert Lefevre Memorial Trophy by the Association Culinaire Francais North West Region in recognition of his contribution to the industry in 2007.
He has also mentored numerous young chefs in major competitions around the globe, including Dion Jones, who became the first Welsh chef to win the coveted International Escoffier Challenge Grand Final in the South of France in 2012.
Mr Tinsley said his immediate focus as the CAW’s culinary director is to reassemble and strengthen the Senior Culinary Team Wales for future international competitions.
The Junior Culinary Team Wales, managed by Michael Evans, a lecturer at Grwp Llandrillo Menai and coached by Danny Burke, a director of Olive Tree Catering, Runcorn, is preparing well for the Culinary World Cup.
“It’s nice to come back as culinary director and I am looking forward to the challenge,” he added. “My focus will be on the cooking and getting the senior team competing at the highest level again.
“Members of the junior teams have a couple more competitions before they can step up to the senior team, but I can see the potential progression there, which is the way it should be.”
Mr Fleming, head chef at The Angel Hotel, Cardiff, who was involved with the Senior Culinary Team Wales for around 10 years, thanked his predecessor Toby Beevers for his work as treasurer over the past 10 years.
“It’s fantastic to be back involved with the association having taken a break,” he said. “My motivation is to give something back to the young chefs coming through. The association was so good to me when I was competing, in terms of friendships made, people I met people and places I travelled to.
“If I can help somebody to experience the same things, it will be brilliant.”