Award winning Newport chef Sergio Cinotti has been promoted to captain the Senior Culinary Team Wales at the IKA Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart next month.
It will be Sergio’s second major international culinary competition with the Welsh team, having made his debut at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg two years ago.
The team is led by Nick Davies, culinary craft trainer with Cambrian Training, Welshpool, who combines the roles of team manager and member.
Co-owner of Gemelli and Gem42 restaurants in Newport with his twin brother Pasquale, Sergio, 47, said:
“It was nice to be asked to become captain but it’s a big responsibility and a great honour.
“We are taking a new team to the Culinary Olympics. All the chefs love what they do and are passionate about competing for Wales. Every team will dream of winning a gold medal and it would be fantastic if we achieved that.
“With Nick on board as manager and member, there is a completely new energy coming into the team. Each chef has new ideas and the dishes look and taste fantastic, so I have a good feeling about the competition.”
There are two elements to the IKA Culinary Olympics for senior teams – a Restaurant of Nations where teams prepare and serve 110 covers and a chef’s edible buffet, a newcomer to the competition.
The team presents its chef’s edible buffet on February 16 and its Restaurant of Nations on February 18.
Originally from Rome, Sergio has lived in Wales for 28 years and met his wife while studying English at Cardiff University. Having won awards for his cooking at school, he trained at Michelin star restaurants across Europe, including the famous El Bulli, Catalonia, Spain.
He then came to Wales to study and opened Gemelli patisserie in Newport with Pasquale to supply quality desserts to hotels and restaurants. In 2014, he decided to resume his career as a professional chef and converted the patisserie into a restaurant with great success.
Gemelli was voted Best Italian establishment in Wales at the Welsh Hospitality Awards in 2015, Best Restaurant in Wales at the Welsh Food Awards in 2016 and Best Italian restaurant in Wales in 2017 as well as being awarded two AA rosettes for culinary excellence.
In 2018, the restaurant won Healthy Dish of the Year and Best Italian Restaurant in Wales at the Welsh Hospitality Awards as well as Best Italian Chef in Wales.
The same year, Sergio and Pasquale opened Gem42 focusing on dishes using the very best seasonal Welsh ingredients and the restaurant quickly achieved two rosettes from the AA.
Last November, Gem42 was named European Restaurant of the Year at the Restaurant Awards 2019 – Welsh Edition.
Sergio’s fellow Wales squad members are Dylan Wyn Owens, Manchester City Football Club’s executive chef, Will Richards from Cambrian Training, Mark Robertson from Coleg Cambria, Wrexham, Matthew Smith, freelance chef from Newtown, Jay Humphris from Coleg y Cymoedd and Zak Pegg from The Harbourmaster Hotel, Aberaeron. Logistics manager is Peter Fuchs, culinary director of The Celtic Collection and ICC Wales, Newport.
Culinary Team Wales is sponsored by the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Wales, Cambrian Training Company, Grŵp Llandrillo Menai, Castell Howell Foods, Hybu Cig Cymru and Harlech Foods.