Ben Taylor wins National Chef of Wales 2016

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Taylor cooks in the final
Taylor cooks in the final

Related tags: National chef, Chef

Ben Taylor, head chef at the Michelin starred Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa, has been named National Chef of Wales 2016.

The Newcastle Emlyn-born chef will now automatically qualify for the UK semi-finals of the 2017 National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) contest.

Taylor said: “I’m absolutely blown away. It’s a hell of an honour and I will be very proud to represent Wales in the UK National Chef of the Year contest. It will be nice to promote Welsh cooking on a bigger scale.”

The chef saw off competition from his colleague Thomas Westerland, chef de partie at Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa, Jack Davison, sous chef at Deganwy Quay Hotel and Spa, and Nathan Davies, head chef at Aberystwyth’s Belle Vue Royal Hotel at a cook-off at the Welsh International Culinary Championships on 18 February.

The finalists were given three hours to cook a three course meal for four using shellfish in their starter, Welsh venison in the main course and rhubarb in the dessert.

This year’s contest was the first time Welsh-born chefs now working outside the country were permitted to enter.

“It comes down to the question of whether you want to find the best chef within Wales or the best Welsh chef," said Taylor.

"There are some really good chefs working outside of Wales and I think the decision extends the scope of the competition.”

The entries for this year's NCOTY competition are now open until 8 April.​ A shortlist of 40 chefs will compete in the semi-finals at Sheffield College on 14 June, and at Le Cordon Bleu in London on 22 June.

Ten chefs will go through to the NCOTY final, which takes place at the Restaurant Show on 4 October.


Ben’s winning menu:

Starter - Poached tail of Welsh lobster, claw tortellini, soy and ginger broth, darkon radish and salty fingers.

Main - Hickory smoked loin of Bwlch venison, faggot, mushroom puree, glazed onions and savoy cabbage.

Dessert - Caramelised banana soufflé, banana yoghurt ice cream, salted toffee popcorn and butter chocolate sauce.

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