Serving up a Tasty Food Career in Wales

You’ve got to love the Tasty Careers Challenge. It’s a Welsh competition between schools to cook a starter, main and dessert for less than £7 using as many Welsh ingredients as possible.

9 schools took part on April 5th at Parc Y Scarlets rugby stadium in Llanelli. The winner was Queen Elizabeth High School from Carmarthen.

“I think this is a brilliant initiative,” said Chefs’ Forum Director, Catherine Farinha.

“I like the way that school students are invited to work with Welsh ingredients and learn early was amazing ingredients they have on their doorstep.”

Tasty Careers is a National Skills Academy for Food and Drink (Wales) initiative to help support young people understand the careers and job opportunities within the food and drink industry.

The challenge is a partnership between Careers Wales, Castell Howell Foods (Headline produce sponsor) , Seren and The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (Wales).

“We have three Chefs’ Forum Academies in Wales now, at Coleg Gwent, Gower College Swansea and Pembrokeshire College and we love it,” Farinha continued. “The people, the ingredients the suppliers are all lovely and an absolute pleasure to work with. As a competition this is just the sort of initiative that could spread to other parts of the UK.”

We are also in the middle of putting together a Welsh Game Guide to celebrate fine Welsh venison and game, and showcase all of the country’s best game chefs!

It would be great for The Chefs’ Forum to get involved in next year’s competition, as we’re already working with so many involved in this initiative.”

James Hicks, strategic development manager at The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink (Wales), said: “I am so impressed by the quality of the presentations each team delivered and the enthusiasm they all showed.

“This initiative helps to bring widespread awareness of all the different types of jobs within the sector, including engineers, marketers and food technologists.

“Today’s event has been so successful that we plan to deliver more of the same across Wales.”

The Queen Elizabeth High team have won a free meal at one of Seren Collection’s restaurants, and the chance for their winning dish to feature on one of its menus.

The nine teams had a maximum of 12 minutes to present their final dish to the panel of distinguished judges, including Michelin star head chef Hywel Griffith and representatives from the Seren Collection, Castell Howell Foods, Food Centre Wales, Cambrian Training and the UK Food and Drink Trade Programmes at Welsh Government.

Rebecca Flowers, a teacher at Queen Elizabeth High School, said: “This has been an amazing experience for both myself and the pupils. They have developed skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. This experience is invaluable to all.”

Aled Evans, a business engagement adviser at Careers Wales, said: “This competition provided everyone who took part a valuable insight into the opportunities available in food manufacturing and hospitality.

“We saw a lot of budding talent during the presentations, and I have no doubt, that for many of the pupils who took part, the challenge sparked a desire to enter the fast-paced industry.

“The insight and skills they’ve gained through this competition will certainly stay with them for years to come.”