A talented, young chef who completed his training at Coleg Llandrillo and now works at The Quay Hotel and Spa, Deganwy, Conwy, has been judged the best in Wales.
Harry Osborne, 22-year-old junior sous chef, received a surprise visit from Arwyn Watkins, Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) president, who announced live on the CAW's Facebook page that Harry was the new Junior Chef of Wales and presented him with the trophy.
Harry, who is originally from Llandudno Junction, spent three years of intensive training at the college's Rhos-on-Sea campus, beginning at the tender age of 15 on a day-release course whilst still in school.
The contest final, which was due to have been held at Cardiff and Vale College City Campus, Cardiff on March 30, had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the CAW resurrected the final in a different form. Instead of bringing all the finalists together at a venue, it was decided to send judges to the establishments where the chefs work to watch them cook three course menus in their own kitchens.
Only three of the original seven finalists were able to compete as some establishments were closed due to the pandemic. Competing against Harry were previous finalists Thomas Martin, Baileys Arms, Mountain Ash and Oliver Thompson, Gaerwen Arms, Gaerwen, Anglesey.
Harry's winning menu opened with a starter of stuffed roscoff onion, beetroot seatin with lentils, wild mushroom and Persian pistachio. Main course was herb crust Welsh Lamb saddle, lamb neck pithivier, broccoli, pickled red cabbage, pomme puree and lamb jus. Dessert was apple and cinnamon pressing, blackberry gel, honeycomb, crème pâtissier, oat crumble and yoghurt sorbet.
As part of his winning prize, Harry will be seeded through to the semi-finals of next year's Young National Chef of the Year contest organised by the Craft Guild of Chefs. He also received a set of engraved Friedr Dick Knives and Churchill tableware worth £100.
I was gobsmacked when told I had won,
said Harry, who was third in the competition three years ago.
It means the world to me because it's a really big competition and great to put on my CV.
I want to go as far I can in my career. After gaining more experience, I would like to work in London and eventually buy my own restaurant. I love trying different things with my dishes and like to shock people.
Lead judge Danny Burke, coach to the Junior Culinary Team Wales and director of Olive Tree Catering, Runcorn, praised Harry's excellent menu, good knowledge of the products he had used and the professional way he had worked.
The competition is not just about the food on the plate,
We watch the chefs from the moment they walk into the kitchen, how they set up and how they work under pressure.
Harry worked very hard but was always in control of what he was doing, and he has an excellent mentor in head chef Ian Watson at The Quay Hotel and Spa.
Organised by the CAW, the competition has Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government's department representing the food and drink industry, as its main sponsor. Other sponsors include Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales, Churchill and Friedr Dick Knives.
For more information about Hospitality and Catering courses at Coleg Llandrillo, go to www.gllm.ac.uk/hospitalityor call the college's Learner Services team on 01492 542 338.