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Record entries as Wales’ biggest ever hospitality skills event opens

Welsh Culinary Association National Chef Of Wales 2023. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography.

Record entries have been attracted for the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC) which opened this morning at the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales), Newport.

Hundreds of chefs, butchers and front of house workers will be competing over three days at the biggest hospitality skills event Wales has ever seen as ICC Wales becomes Wales’ Hospitality Hub from January 22-24.

The WICC, which was previously held in North Wales, is open free of charge to the public and hospitality trade. Organised by the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW), the 2024 WICC is also hosting the Skills Competition Wales hospitality finals for the first time.

Showpiece competitions are the National and Junior Chef of Wales Finals, the Welsh Craft Butcher of the Year and Green Chef Challenge. Other competitions include the Cygnet Gin Cocktail Mixology class and the Wales heats of the Major Chefs Challenge and the 2024 Riso Gallo Young Risotto Chef Challenge.

The National Chef of Wales and Welsh Craft Butcher of the Year finals are being held tomorrow followed by the Junior Chef of Wales final on Tuesday and Green Chef Challenge on Wednesday.

In addition to individual class prizes, there will be coveted awards for the college awarded the highest number of points over the three days, the best junior learner and best chef in the open live classes..

Skills Competition Wales aims to raise the profile of skills in Wales and is part of the Welsh Government funded Inspiring Skills Excellence Programme. Students, trainees and apprentices are given a chance to challenge, benchmark and raise their skills by taking part in competitions across a range of sectors.

Climax of the WICC is an Industry Awards Dinner on the evening of Wednesday, January 24, which will showcase the best Welsh food and drink. Tickets are now on sale at [email protected] for the dinner costing £1,000 for tables of 12 or £100 for individuals.

There will also be the unique opportunity for WICC visitors to try the menus from the different competitions, on a first come first served basis, by booking tickets via [email protected] .

CAW president Arwyn Watkins, OBE, says the WICC will be the launchpad for the road to Wales hosting the Worldchefs Congress and Expo 2026 at ICC Wales.

“The WICC will become an annual hospitality hub open to the public and hospitality trade, showcasing Welsh food, drink, hospitality and skills over three days and providing a real opportunity to have a conversation with the industry,” he said.

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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