Three Shrewsbury chefs to cook for Wales at Sharjah culinary contest

Three Shrewsbury chefs, including brothers Calum and Connor Smith, have been selected to cook for Wales in a prestigious international culinary competition in the United Arab Emirates later this month.


Calum, 23, sous chefs at Shrewsbury School, Shrewsbury, will captain the team and Connor, 19, commis chef at the Lion and Pheasant, Shrewsbury, will make his international debut for Wales.


Jordan Howorth, 25, who works with Calum as a sous chef at Shrewsbury School and Dylan Evans, 21, commis chef at L’Enclume, Cartmel, will also be making their debut for Wales. Originally from Welshpool, Jordan now lives in Baschurch.


The Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) has been invited to compete against eight other countries in the Alen Thong Golden Coffee Pot Young Chef Challenge at The International Emirates Salon Culinaire, during Expoculinaire 2024 Sharjah from May 20-22.


Also flying the flag for Wales will be sous chef Harry Paynter-Roberts, 26, and head chef Sion Hughes, 26, from Carden Park Hotek and Spa, near Chester.


Calum captained the Junior Culinary Team Wales, which included Harry and Sion, to silver and bronze medals at the Culinary World Cup in 2022.


Sion will have Calum as his commis when they compete in the Global Chefs Challenge final in Singapore in October.


“To have the opportunity to represent Wales is a privilege and an honour,” said Calum. “This competition will be extra special with having by younger brother, Connor and one of my closest pals and work colleagues, Jordan, in the team.


“Making their international debut is going to be nerve-racking for them but they need to cherish and enjoy the competition because it’s a fantastic moment in their careers.


“Practices at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport have gone really well and we are all working in harmony, like we have worked together for years. Everyone is looking forward to a potential podium finish in Dubai, if we deliver what we have all worked incredibly hard on


“I can’t thank both Culinary Association of Wales president Arwyn Watkins, OBE and vice-president Colin Gray enough for all the support and guidance they have given the team and we hope we can repay their hard work with a positive result in Dubai.”


The Alen Thong Golden Coffee Pot Young Chef Challenge aims to become the most notable gastronomic contest anywhere in the Middle East for young chefs under the age of 28 years.


Three teams compete daily, creating an internationally themed edible cold salad, appetiser, dessert buffet and hot main course for 20 diners. Teams can cook a main course of their choice and Wales have chosen chicken.


Each team will make a gateau, three modern desserts and a hot dessert, which will be prepared with diners and judges watching.


Nine Worldchefs judges, including Colin Gray, managing director of Capital Cuisine, Caerphilly, will judge the competition.


The last time Welsh chefs competed in this competition as a senior team in 2013, they came away with a gold medal.


CAW sponsors are the Welsh Government, Castell Howell, Hybu Cig Cymru / Meat Promotion Wales, ICC Wales, Cambrian Training Company, Radnor Hills, Dick Knifes, Cygnet Gin, Capital Cuisine.