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Ben and Callum reach National Seafood Chef of the Year final

The Coleg Llandrillo students will compete for the UK crown in Grimsby after winning their regional heat at the Orme View restaurant

Coleg Llandrillo students Ben Nield and Callum Hagan have reached the UK final of the National Seafood Chef of the Year competition.

Ben and Callum were among the winning teams in the western regional heat, held in the Orme View restaurant at the college’s Rhos-on-Sea campus.

They were competing against colleges from Birmingham, Bury, Cheshire, Warrington and Grimsby.

Both learners, who are studying Level 3 Professional Cookery (Kitchen and Larder) at Rhos, will now compete in the national final at Grimsby Institute on June 7.

For the heats, teams of two were tasked with creating a three-course menu using specially selected seafood species. They had to create their dishes for six people, with a budget of up to £17.50 per person, which were then scrutinised by the judges.

Ben and Callum made a starter of trout tartare with quail egg, lemon dressing and sourdough. Their intermediate course was scallops with a mushroom and white wine sauce, a curried mushroom tuile and textures of wild garlic, while for the main they made sea bass with a pesto-flavoured white wine sauce.

The judges particularly liked their starter and main as they awarded them a place in the final.

Callum said: “We’re pleased to have won. It’s good experience and it looks good on your CV, it gets your name out there. We’ll see what happens in the final!”

Coleg Llandrillo hospitality lecturer Mike Evans said: “Callum and Ben have done very well, they’ve both been very cool-headed. We’ve practised these dishes for probably the last eight weeks, and we’ve tweaked them until we’ve got what we’ve got today.

“To reach the final alongside Birmingham, which is probably one of the best catering colleges in the UK, is a great achievement.”

To prepare for the final, Ben and Callum will spend two days training with award-winning chef Bryn Williams at Porth Eirias in Colwyn Bay.

In the final, they will have the opportunity to make connections with top chefs, with past judges including the likes of Rick Stein.

Mike said: “It’s a chance to meet with leading chefs, make contacts with them - some people have got jobs on the back of speaking with them. Even if they don’t win, they can put it on their CV that they got through to the final of a national competition, so it’s a win-win situation.”

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