North Wales Food Discovery Challenge winners announced

Wrexham-based Shippon Restaurant and Courtyard Café win North East Wales 2019 Food Discovery Challenge.

THE  eateries were amongst four to compete for the accolade of ‘best dessert’ and ‘small plates at a live cook-off at Y Celstryn Restaurant, at the Deeside Coleg Cambria campus in Wales.

Judges on this year’ panel were head judge Grant Williams from the West Arms, Llanarmon DC, Kerry Thatcher from Visit Wales, Jane Clough from Taste North East Wales, Jim Jones; CEO of Go North Wales, Angharad Jarvis from Coleg Cambria and Olivia Lumsden, head chef at the Chainbridge Hotel.

The Food Discovery Challenge is part of a quest to showcase North Wales as a foodie. 19 cafes and restaurants entered the challenge to create a brand new dish using the best local produce from the area.

The Shippon’s head chef Dominic Ash created winning tapas dishes using chickpea and apple fritters, Knolton Farm Welsh rarebit, and Pen-Y-Lan pork meatballs.

Last year’s winner (The Year of the Sea food discovery challenge) was won by Gales of Llangollen- the oldest wine bar and restaurant in North Wales. Head chef Jack Hatley brought together smoked trout and laverbread tortellini, Dee Valley Welsh lamb cutlet with Home farm Overton black pudding mash and a Maesmor Hall pheasant doughnut with wilted spinach, wild mushroom and red wine jus.

Competing for title of best dessert was Bellis Brothers, who served up four mini desserts using homegrown produce and recipes from their own recipe book. 

The ‘Plat o Bedwar Pwdin’ consisted of Welsh border tart, raspberry ripple cheesecake, strawberry pavlova and carrot cake. 

The Courtyard Cafe at Wrexham Museum served up ‘Heaven on Earth’; – rich chocolate cake, berries and Chilly Cow espresso ice cream. Karen Harris from the museum said the dish celebrated the amazing diversity of the food quality in the area and took inspiration from the Lloyd George, who once said Ceiriog Valley in Wrexham was ‘a little piece of heaven on earth’. 

The winners were presented with their awards by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM, the deputy minister for culture, sport and tourism. 

“The event was a real showcase of the wealth and quality of produce we have to offer in Wales. Knowing where the ingredients are sourced adds to the whole dining experience – it’s the story of the food and drink, something which is increasingly important to our visitors.  The process has enabled us all to discover more about what we have locally.” 

Speaking on behalf of the North East Wales Tourism Marketing team, Wrexham Destination Manager Joe Bickerton said: “All four finalist’s dishes were exceptional, but overall, the last month has provided the platform for all of the participating eateries to benefit from new customers and develop relationships with new, local independent food producers in the region which is the primary aim of the competition.”

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