ABOUT YOUNG CHEF YOUNG WAITER WALES

Croeso i Gymru – welcome to Wales!

A country shaped on three-sides by pristine ocean, where mountains, moorlands, rivers and pastures are peppered with livestock and bursting with life, it’s hardly surprising that Wales is home to world-class produce, as well as people who can cook and serve it expertly, including the World Young Chef Young Waiter Champions 2022.

These facts have not escaped University of Wales Trinity Saint David, the happy host of World Young Chef Young Waiter Wales. The University is delighted to open up this opportunity once more to the country’s young people, provide a platform for the best-of-the-best, and to show the world what this green land has to offer.

Established in 1979, the Young Chef Young Waiter competition aims to promote careers in hospitality, and is open to all professional chefs and waiters under the age of 28 who live and work in Wales.

Entrants will encounter some of Wales’ leading hospitality figures on our expert judging panel, build key skills and make links with other competitors in a fun, challenging and rewarding environment.

The 2023 Young Chef Young Waiter Wales competition took place at the iconic Swansea.com Stadium for a one-day final on Monday 11th September.

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s long history of Higher Education in Wales includes a well-established school of Hospitality and Tourism, bringing enhanced opportunities to the people of Wales.

Forging strong links with businesses and industry partners to build networks that elevate students and communities, the University is delighted to host the Young Chef Young Waiter competition and expand this network to incorporate the wider Welsh Hospitality sector.

Enter today to be part of this exciting development in Wales’ burgeoning food scene.

World Young Chef Young Waiter Wales was relaunched in 2023 to extend the competition around the globe. The Chef and Waiter winning duo from each country joined for a World Final that was held in Monaco on 23rd-24th November and the World Champions won a cash prize of $10,000.

2024 COMPETITION

Chefs and Waiters will battle it out for the title of YCYW Wales Winners 2024.

The winning Chef & Waiter duo from each country will join for a World Final competition that will take place in November in Singapore.

World Young Chef Young Waiter Wales Competition 2024:

  • Entries are now open online for YCYW Wales on our online awards platform https://youngchefyoungwaiter.awardsplatform.com/
  • Online entries will close 1 month before the competition date, which is where a short-list will be selected for YCYW Wales.
  • Entry is free for Young Chefs and Young Waiters who are 28 years old or under and working in the hospitality industry in Wales.
  • The winners will be announced after taking part in a one-day live final.
  • After the YCYW Wales competition an awards ceremony will take place, to announce the 2024 YCYW Wales winners.
  • YCYW Wales Competition date and venue to be confirmed.
  • The World Young Chef Young Waiter Final 2024 will be held in November in Singapore.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER WORLD YOUNG CHEF YOUNG WAITER WALES 2024 – NOW OPEN

WHY ENTER WORLD YOUNG CHEF YOUNG WAITER

Our 2023 entrants will have the opportunity to meet high profile industry professionals, learn new skills and make new friends at a competition like no other. 

Being part of World Young Chef Young Waiter is a once in a lifetime experience. It’s a chance for competitors to test their proficiency and progress their careers while learning, building new relationships and developing their potential. And most of all, Young Chef Young Waiter is fantastic fun! 

The aim of World Young Chef Young Waiter is simple: to uncover the very best young talent in our industry and help equip them with relevant skills, current knowledge and the network needed to succeed in the world of hospitality. Devised by respected professionals, the competition has a fresh modern approach that focuses on tasks and criteria that are challenging, educational and fun. 

World Young Chef Young Waiter showcases all aspects of hospitality. Inspiring, empowering and inclusive, most of all we celebrate the capabilities and diversity of our amazing industry. 

Many past winners have gone on to achieve huge success in hospitality and YCYW proudly supports the future stars of Britain’s kitchens and restaurants. Previous winners and judges have included some the industry’s great recognisable names – Mark Sargeant, Marcus Wareing, Simon King, John Torode, Annie and Germain Schwab, Jeremy King, Raymond Blanc OBE, Heston Blumenthal OBE, The Earl of Bradford, Lord Forte, Angela Hartnett MBE, Simon Girling and Fred Sirieix.

WORLD YOUNG CHEF YOUNG WAITER WALES JUDGES

Made up of top figures from Wales’ Hospitality sector and industry professionals with world-class skills, our judges will help competitors advance their careers and achieve their goals.

Judges - Wales

Chef Judges

JUDGES - WALES

Chair of Judges - Dr Jayne Griffith-Parry

Programme Manager for BA Hons International Gastronomy Management & MBA International Hotel Management – University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Jayne has over 30 years of senior management experience within private enterprise, corporate, third sector and Government organisations, and her current role is Programme Manager for several courses at University of Wales Trinity Saint David. read more Possessing a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Jayne has worked successfully as a Chef patron and restaurateur. She continues off-campus activity within the wine and champagne industry, including consultation, project management and support to Food & Beverage operators, as well as working with interesting and biodiverse producers to offer tailor-made tasting experiences.

As an experienced Chartered Marketer, she assists producers in gaining excellent exposure for their products, and holds qualifications in wine tourism that help achieve the best experiences at the cave or cuverie.

As chair of judges and organiser of World Young Chef Young Waiter Wales on behalf of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Jayne is instrumental in the competition’s organisation and support. She does this whilst working with industry colleagues to help young people develop and progress in their careers and share their talent with the help of industry leaders.

Hywel Griffith

Head Chef and Director – Beach House Oxwich

Acclaimed Chef and native Welshman Hywel Griffith is a fluent Welsh speaker, grew up in Bethesda in Gwynedd and honed his craft at Coleg Menai in Bangor, before graduating to the Lanesborough in London. read more His next role was as Sous Chef with Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor, before returning to Wales as Sous Chef at Ynyshir Hall, near Machynlleth. During his time at Ynyshir Hall the restaurant achieved three Rosettes and a Michelin star.

His first Head Chef position was at Paul Heathcote’s Longridge Restaurant where he earned three AA Rosettes. In 2011, he moved into the Head Chef role at Freemasons at Wiswell which became the first and only pub restaurant in the UK to be awarded a cooking score of 7/10 in The Good Food Guide.

Hywel opened Beach House in June 2016 and has been met with nothing but praise ever since, winning a number of awards including Swansea Bay Best Restaurant 2017 and AA Restaurant of the Year for Wales 2018, 3AA Rosettes and a Michelin Star.

Tom Simmons

Head Chef and Owner – Thomas

Born and bred in Wales, Tom's respect and passion for nature, produce and cooking has been a major part of his life from a young age, and his earliest memories are of roaming farmers' markets in Pembrokeshire and harvesting his mother's vegetable garden. read more Beginning his hospitality career prepping vegetables on weekends at a local pub, Tom quickly realised he loved the industry and wanted to push himself. By 18 he’d moved to London to work at the Michelin-starred Gordon Ramsey at Claridge’s.

Tom became the youngest ever contestant to reach the quarter finals of MasterChef: The Professionals in 2011, before moving back to Pembrokeshire to become Head Chef at Wolfscastle Country Hotel and gain 2AA rosettes.

In 2017, Tom opened and ran an eponymous restaurant in London at Tower Bridge for a number of years before moving back to Wales to open his current venture, Thomas, with his partner Lois in the spring of 2020, in Cardiff’s leafy suburb of Pontcanna.

Influenced by British and French cuisine and inspired by his love and respect for homegrown Welsh ingredients, Thomas is flourishing, and Tom has also opened two new bakeries, Ground, nearby with the view to open more in coming years.

Gareth Ward

Head Chef and Co-Owner – Ynyshir Restaurant & Rooms

Gareth was born and raised in County Durham. He started his cooking career at age 16, working in kitchens in the North East before moving to Rutland to work under Aaron Patterson at Hambelton Hall. After 5 years spent in the Michelin-starred kitchen, Gareth rose from the position of commis chef up to junior sous. read more Shortly after leaving Hambleton, Gareth moved back North to work at Seaham Hall and eventually took his first head chef role at Hart’s Restaurant in Nottingham. Gareth’s next move was to Restaurant Sat Bains; while working there, Sat Bains was awarded a second Michelin star in 2011. 
In 2013, striving for more and wanting to create a unique concept, Gareth was named head chef at Ynyshir, then called Ynyshir Hall. In his first year, the restaurant was awarded a Michelin star, then gained 4 AA Rosettes shortly afterwards, making it the only restaurant in Wales to hold the accolade at the time. 
Now co-owner, Ynyshir has since been awarded 5 AA Rosettes, 2 Michelin stars, and Best Restaurant in the UK 2022 by the National Restaurant Awards. Using only the finest ingredients and working closely with innovative craftsman, Gareth strives to create a unique experience that you cannot get anywhere else. His philosophy is “Ingredient Led, Flavour Driven, Fat Fuelled, Meat Obsessed”, and the restaurant is all about punchy flavours, funky music and incredible drinks.

MARTYN GUEST

Head Chef

Martyn’s experience, commitment and passion for his culinary work spans more than two decades.

Hailing from Shropshire, Martyn’s passion for food started at the young age of just 16 years old when he joined his first kitchen team. He quickly progressed and competed in his first competition at Hotelympia.
read more Since then, he has worked in numerous Rosette restaurants, and at the age of 22 he had his first Head Chef experience at the Raven Hotel, Much Wenlock where under his leadership they achieved 2 AA Rosettes.

In 2012, Martyn moved into high volume event catering where he worked alongside the Roux Brothers. Martyn has a wealth of experience in catering at large scale prestigious venues such as Royal Ascot, Wimbledon and Cheltenham Racecourse.

Combining his love for catering and football, Martyn became Executive Head Chef at Wolverhampton Football Club. This was followed by a move to South Wales joining Swansea City Football Club as Head Chef, where he continues to excel and delight guests on a daily basis.

Stephen Terry

Chef-proprietor – The Hardwick, Abergavenny

Stephen grew up in Dunstable and trained at Barnfield College, Luton. His career took off in the 1990s when he moved to London and worked at Harvey’s under Marco Pierre White, Le Gavroche under Michel Roux Jr, befriending fellow chef and contemporary Gordon Ramsey along the way. read more After a stint as a Sous Chef in Scotland, Stephen became Head Chef of The Canteen in Chelsea for Marco Pierre White, earning the restaurant a Michelin Star at age 25 before moving to France to work at Alain Passard’s Arpege.

Back in the UK in the mid-90s he was Head Chef at Coast in Mayfair, but decided to leave London a few years later and move to Wales, purchasing the Walnut Tree in Abergavenny which quickly gained a Michellin Star, and was where he met his wife, Joanna.

A few years later, Stephen started his own venture in 2005 and purchased an old pub in Abergavenny, which became The Hardwick where he still works today. Stephen is passionate about good produce and a champion for Wales’ food scene.

WAITER JUDGES

JUDGES - WALES

Huw Morgan

Catering and Hospitality Lecturer – Coleg Ceredigion

Experienced in cheffing and food service from Event catering and residential centres, Huw worked as Head Chef and Events Coordinator at Urdd Gobaith Cymru, planning, delivering and maintaining numerous Eisteddfods, as well as for Compass Catering covering major racing events in the UK. read more Huw has been a Lecturer for the past 8 years at Coleg Ceredigion, where he has developed a skills-based ethos for their Hospitality and Catering Courses, with competitions being an integral part of delivery. Over the past 6 years he has successfully trained learners to achieve 4 gold medals at national level for Skills Competition Wales, and to achieve UK Squad places to represent the United Kingdom in the World Skills Competition globally at Shanghai and Lyon respectively.

Huw runs the training College at Coleg Ceredigion where fine dining is an integral part of his Training Restaurant, which hosts guests three days per week and specialises in Silver Service, Gueridon work, Flambé and Cocktails.

Mourad Ben Tefka

Director of Restaurants – Seren Collection

Hailing from sunny Cannes in the Côte D’Azur, Mourad got his first taste for hospitality at age 12, helping in a family-owned coastal restaurant where he worked as a chef on weekends and school holidays for over 10 years. read more While studying a Masters in Applied Foreign Languages at Nice University, Mourad worked Front of House roles at luxury hotels in Monaco during events like the Formula 1 Grand Prix. His first full-time role was as a commis waiter, working for the prestigious Société des Bains de Mer hotel group in Monaco. He then moved to the UK, spending several years at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons before expanding his experience at other iconic British venues such as l’Ortolan and Hambleton Hall.

He returned to Le Manoir as Restaurant Manager, spending the next 18 years helping Raymond Blanc perfect his astonishing vision for the hotel and restaurant, latterly in the role of Restaurant Director. During his time at Le Manoir, Mourad became a Master of Culinary Arts in 2013.

Mourad joined the Seren Collection as Director of Restaurants in 2020, trading Oxfordshire for the beautiful coast of Pembrokeshire. Mourad is a proud family man and when not at work, he enjoys gardening, keeping fit, cooking for the family, and exploring this beautiful part of the world.

Alessandro Calzavacca

Assistant Manager – The Barn Restaurant at Coworth Park

Alessandro fell in love with the Hospitality industry working alongside his parents in their family restaurant at 14 years old. After attending hospitality school and gaining a few years of experience in Italy, he moved to London. read more Here, he began working as a commis waiter at Michelin-starred Fera at Claridge’s, where he first learned about international hospitality and built the basis of his career.
For one year he worked at Jean-George at the Connaught, then decided to improve his knowledge and skillset with a degree in Hotel Management from University of Wales Trinity Saint David.
After winning the 2019 World Young Chef Young Waiter competition, Alessandro briefly worked as Headwaiter at the newly opened Grill at the Dorchester before becoming Assistant Manager at The Barn restaurant at Coworth Park.

James Hayward

Hotel Manager – Coldra Court Hotel, Celtic Manor Collection

Canadian-born James moved to Wales at the age of 11. At 15 he took his first job in hospitality, working his way up from Kitchen Porter to Hotel Manager within the prestigious Celtic Manor Collection. read more James has also worked stints with De-Vere Hotels, and was front of House Manager of the award-winning White Hart Village Inn in 2011, the year in which they were awarded AA Pub of the year for Wales and introduced into the Michelin pub Guide – one of only a handful of properties in Wales.

James was also part of the team that opened The Twenty Ten Clubhouse, the first purpose build clubhouse to stage the Ryder Cup Matches. James currently sits on the committee as secretary of the Institute of Hospitality Cymru and is committed to giving back and developing the future talent in hospitality.

Chris Rogers

UK Ambassador for Champagne Cattier

Chris Rogers was born in the market town of Shrewsbury on the Welsh Borders and has spent the majority of his adult life living and working in Wales. After graduating from University of Wales Lampeter, Chris discovered his passion for the Wine trade and has found a home there for the past 24 years. read more Earning his WSET Diploma and winning one of the top prizes for that year, Chris moved from Off- to On-Trade and has spent the last two decades working with some of the biggest names in the business, developing the wine trade across the whole of Wales and celebrating as the food and wine scene expanded and developed.

In 2015 Chris was the 59th person in history to win the coveted Champagne Academy in Reims and was also accepted as a Chevalier in L’Order des Coteaux de Champagne. Since then, Champagne has dominated his life, making frequent trips to the Region and giving talks and tastings across the UK and France.

Chris is now the UK Ambassador for Champagne Cattier, one of the most respected and historic Houses in Champagne, and hosts tastings and events across Wales and beyond as well as consulting with the wider wine business in the UK.

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