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Apprentices strike gold to win new Green Chef Challenge contest

Welsh Culinary Association National Chef of Wales Competition at the ICC Wales. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography.

A team of two young Mid Wales apprentices has won a new competition launched by the Culinary Association of Wales to find the best green chef.

Commis chefs Gabbi Wilson and Rosie Koffer, workmates at Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen, Llanidloes, are the first winners of the Green Chef Challenge sponsored by Compass Cymru. 

“I have only been a commis chef for six months and winning this competition is very exciting,” said Gabbi, 18, from Rhayader.

The pair both won gold medals for Gabbi’s three-course vegetarian menu with judges scoring their dishes at 90 per cent or over. The dishes will be on the Chartists 1770 menu from January 30.

The menu opened with tempura seaweed tacos with pickled cabbage slaw, cashew cream and falafel. Main course was braised leeks, pomme dauphine, sauteed mushrooms and green leek mayo. Dessert was vanilla Cremieux with caramac, lemon curd, lemon and cider gel, poached pears and a brown butter crumb.

Chartists 1770 at the Trewythen is a boutique training restaurant with rooms owned by Cambrian Training Company, the leading hospitality apprenticeship provider in Wales.

The business, which has just retained two rosettes and has four stars, has a team of eight apprentices – four in the kitchen and four front-of- house.

The Green Chef Challenge final was held at the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC) hosted by the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales), Newport.

Both apprentices had a busy three days at the WICC. Rosie was commis chefs to Chartists 1770 executive chef Jamie Tully in the National Chef of Wales final, where he won a bronze medal. She then competed in the Junior Chef of Wales final with Gabbi as her commis, achieving silver medals.

Both Gabbi and Rosie are working towards an Apprenticeship in Professional Cookery under the expert tutelage of Jamie and the support of Cambrian Training Company’s training officer Will Richards, who also won a bronze medal in the National Chef of Wales final.

Faith O’ Brien, managing director of Cambrian Training Company, said: “I am bursting with pride. We firmly believe in backing up our words with action by actively encouraging our learners and staff to challenge themselves and compete against the top in their peer group to continually build their expertise, confidence and skills.”

Open to chefs under the age of 25, the Green Chef Challenge asked chefs to cook a three course, predominantly vegetable-based menu for six guests in three hours. 

Jane Byrd, managing director of Compass Cymru, said: “We were proud to sponsor the Green Chef Challenge competition at the Welsh International Culinary Championships. Huge congratulations to the winners, Gabbi Wilson and Rosie Koffer from Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen.

“Compass has ambitious Net Zero targets and we are committed to local, seasonal food with minimal food waste, which is supported by a focus on plant-forward menus. It’s wonderful to see organisations like the Culinary Association of Wales encourage this move toward incorporating plant-based food, and we hope it continues across ongoing events like the Worldchefs Congress & Expo 2026.”

CAW president Arwyn Watkins, OBE, said: “We introduced the Green Chef Challenge competition because of the growing demand for vegetable-based meals across the UK.

“The competition will also feature at the Worldchefs Congress and Expo when it comes to Wales in May 2026 and we will have a Welsh chef competing.”

Organised by the CAW, 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.

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