Former Culinary Team Wales captain Danny Burke has won the Northern Europe heat to book his place at next year’s Global Chefs Challenge final in St Petersburg, Russia.
Burke, who lives in Connah’s Quay and co-owns Olive Tree Catering in Runcorn, came up against some of the continent’s best chefs at the regional heats held in Rimini, Italy.
Given just three hours and with the help of his commis chef, Harry Paynter-Roberts, from The Castle Hotel, Conwy, he cooked up a refined version of a three-course meal for six people, including a starter of scallops and seabass, a main course of veal rump and kidney and a chocolate dessert.
“I am delighted to have won and taken Wales through to the finals next year,” he said. “The level of competition was extremely high with some of the best chefs competing from across Europe. I knew it was going to be tough and had prepared well.”
Looking ahead, Burke said that next year’s finals represent another big step up in competition and he will begin his preparations as soon as he returns to home soil.
“I will go from competing against some of the best chefs in Europe to competing with some of the best chefs in the world in Russia,” he said, picking out Hong Kong, Singapore and the Nordic countries as among the favourites.
“I am not sure what the food will be but there will be no respite, my preparations begin now. I am not going there just to make up the numbers. I want to give a good account of myself and the Culinary Association of Wales.”
His Italian victory comes exactly 20 years to the day he won the Junior Chef of Wales title.
Burke stood down from the Culinary Team Wales captaincy after leading the chefs to silver and bronze medals at last year’s Culinary World Cup. He now plans to help Junior Culinary Team Wales coach Michael Evans, a lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos-on-Sea, by mentoring young chefs in readiness for the Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart in February next year.