Gold medallist chef Nick Davies had a special reason to celebrate his 50th birthday, having been appointed the new manager of Culinary Team Wales.
Davies, who lives in Llanidloes and works as a culinary craft trainer with Cambrian Training, steps up to manage the globe-trotting team of chefs, having previously been a team member and captain.
He takes over from Toby Beevers, who works for PSL Purchasing Systems and lives near Chester, following the team’s silver and bronze medals at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg last November.
After taking six years out of the team to run an award-winning restaurant at the Lion Hotel, Llandinam, Davies returns with great enthusiasm and feels honoured to have been appointed manager.
Having won gold medals at the Culinary World Cup and Hotel Olympia with Wales and an individual gold in the Worldchefs Global Chef regional competition, he knows what it takes to achieve the highest standards on the international stage.
As manager, his goal is to guide Wales to gold success in the future and he’s keen to build a squad of between 12 and 15 talented, committed chefs.
He stresses that the team is open to all chefs who have the skills and commitment to compete at the highest level. To qualify, chefs must either work or live in Wales or be Welsh by birth.
“I am looking for chefs who are committed, have a really good skill level, who want to progress in their career and will be proud to represent Wales,” said Davies. “I would like a commitment of at least four years because it’s vitally important that we go to two or three international competitions together to gain knowledge and progress.
“The aim is to build on what the team achieved at the Culinary World Cup last year and to re-energise by working together to create a positive and exciting environment.
“Ideally, I want a squad with different skills and talents and I want selection to be open and transparent. My phone is always on if a chef wants to join the squad. I shall be travelling around Wales to meet chefs and businesses and shall be scouting at the Welsh International Culinary Championships in February.
“We are going to continue to have practice days but also regional cluster meetings to reduce the amount of travelling. We have quality Welsh food and drink products, the infrastructure through the Culinary Association of Wales and all we need now is he individuals to put their names forward.”
Davies’ first task will be to appoint a new team captain in succession to Danny Burke, of Olive Tree Catering, Runcorn, who stood down after the World Cup to focus on mentoring the Junior Culinary Team Wales. An announcement about the now captain will be made later this month.
The focus will then be on building a team ready for the Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart in February next year. Davies is looking forward to the challenge, as welcomed competition changes will see a much greater focus on cooking rather than culinary art.
He believes taking time out to run his own business has given him a new perspective of the culinary scene.
“It has been a good learning curve for me and I believe the time is right for me to give something back to the industry,” added Mr Davies.
“It’s a big honour to be manager of Culinary Team Wales. I think I have proved that I have the discipline, determination and knowledge to do the job. It’s all about engaging chefs’ skills to deliver for Wales.”
Culinary Team Wales is sponsored by the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Wales, Cambrian Training Company, Grwp Llandrillo Menai, Castell Howell Foods, Hybu Cig Cymru, Harlech Foods and Goodfellows.